A bill making sweeping changes to Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws is on its way to Governor Scott Walker’s desk, after the state Assembly on Monday approved amendments made in the state Senate earlier this month.
Changes made by the bill include doubling contribution limits to candidates, clarifying limits on corporate contributions to political parties and committees, and codifying in state law the ability for candidates and third-party issue advocacy groups to coordinate their efforts.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Republicans have said they are needed to address a series of court rulings, which have highlighted problems with the state’s current laws. “Ultimately, the bill really clarifies the constitutional issues that have been raised over time,” Vos said.
Democrats and opponents have argued though that the changes simply open the door to out of control spending by special interest groups, and will prevent the public from knowing who is funding election campaigns in the state. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign executive director Matt Rothschild predicted last week that the bill will “let corruption and criminality breed like maggots in the Capitol.”
The Assembly approved the Senate’s changes to the bill on a 59-0 vote. Democrats were blocked from voting because they recused themselves the first time the measure came through the chamber last month.