It looks as if opponents to a change in how the state’s Department of Natural Resources secretary is picked have deep pockets. Mike McCabe with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says Governor Jim Doyle has received over $4 million in campaign contributions, from opponents of a bill to return selection of the DNR secretary to the Natural Resources Board, while backers of the measure have donated a little over $17,000.
“The people who like things exactly the way they are have given $241 for every dollar that people who support this change have given,” notes McCabe. Of that total, McCabe says more than two million dollars is from the construction and real estate industries
The Assembly Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday. Governor Doyle, once a supporter of the idea, has recently reversed course and now favors keeping the DNR post as a cabinet level, gubernatorial appointee. “Now that the governor’s not running for reelection, that might embolden the legislature to actually attempt an override (of a Doyle veto), because they wouldn’t have to worry about embarrassing the governor,” says McCabe.