While misguided legislation to expand taxpayer financing schemes in Wisconsin awaits the governor’s signature or veto, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) released a study that details exactly how the state’s earlier experiment with taxpayer financing has actually played out in the state.
Wisconsin enacted a system of partial public financing in 1977 in order to “supplant campaign donations from political action committees, ensure those of modest means had money to run and prompt ‘more competitive races.'” It was signed into law by acting governor Marty Schreiber and was funded by $1 check-offs on state tax forms.
32 years later, amid a consistently declining number of people opting to check-off on their tax forms (from a high of 20% in 1979 to less than 5% in 2008) and a budgetary crisis, Wisconsin is somehow on the verge of enacting further taxpayer financing, with proponents of the program apparently impervious to the fact that the first program hasn’t met a single goal or changed campaigns in any way.
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Earlier this week the Center for Competitive Politics sent Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle a letter expressing our concerns about the so-called “Impartial Justice” bill, yet another ready-to-fail scheme to siphon taxpayer dollars into the campaign coffers of candidates for office. You can read our letter here: letter to Gov. Doyle on constitutionality of judicial campaign finance bill
Our letter makes the obvious points about the failure of similar schemes in other states, and notes that because the program provides additional funding to participating candidates if they are outspent by nonparticipating candidates or independent groups air ads opposing them or aiding their opponent, it is almost certainly unconstitutional under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Davis v. Federal Election Commission.
Today, Mike McCabe of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign sent his own letter to Governor Doyle in an attempt to rebut our letter. The letter is noteworthy in only one regard, an obvious false statement regarding court rulings on so-called “matching funds.”
McCabe states: The most recent case addressing the trigger matching provisions is the Fourth Circuit’s opinion in North Carolina Right to Life v. Leake which unanimously upheld a public funding program with triggered matching provisions for judicial races.
The only problems with McCabe’s statement, of course, are two little cases called McComish v. Bennett (formerly McComish v. Brewer) in Arizona and Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield in, you guessed it, Connecticut.
The Institute for Justice is in court today, representing six neighbors in Parker North, Colo. in their challenge of Colorado’s restrictive campaign finance laws. The case is before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. IJ Senior Attorney Steve Simpson is arguing the case.
The neighbors, who opposed annexation of their homes into a nearby town, were sued by a political opponent for violating Colorado’s campaign finance law sby not registering as an “issue committee.” The group was forced to register, and, to continue speaking, they had to file reports with the government detailing their activities and contributions to their efforts.
IJ’s release has more:
“Mandatory disclosure invites intimidation and harassment based on people’s political views and simply makes it harder for ordinary citizens to get involved in politics,” Simpson said. “Under the First Amendment, you shouldn’t need a lawyer and an accountant to speak out about politics.”
The Center for Competitive Politics sent a letter today to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and state legislative leaders explaining a significant constitutional problem with a recently-passed bill that would enact taxpayer financing for judicial campaigns.
“Similar taxpayer financing programs that provide rescue funds to participating candidates, penalizing those who opt out and exercise their First Amendment rights, have been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and federal courts in Arizona and Connecticut,” Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell says in the release.
Uh oh! The folks from Twitter are twittering on the brink of legal disaster.
It seems that when you sign up for Twitter, the provide you with a list of suggested users to follow, and these suggestions seem to be pretty effective at creating followers for those users. And now Twitter’s list of suggested users to follow in California has caught the eye of the ever vigilant California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) sent a letter today to Gov. Jim Doyle and legislative leaders explaining concerns that a recently-passed bill enacting taxpayer financed campaigns for judges is unconstitutional. Doyle’s office said he favors the legislation, Senate Bill 40.
“Similar taxpayer financing programs that provide rescue funds to participating candidates, penalizing those who opt out and exercise their First Amendment rights, have been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and federal courts in Arizona and Connecticut,” said Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell.
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