Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's put up or shut up time

on campaign finance reform

Gov. Jim Doyle called his critics' bluff today, proposing a far-reaching, comprehensive reform of campaign finances and ethics.

Doyle, who has been under fire both for his own fund-raising operation and for not pushing hard for reform, proposed a package with bipartisan support.

Highlights of the package include:

Banning all fundraising during the budget process by state office incumbents and challengers alike, from the date of introduction of the budget until it is signed into law;

Placing a one-year ban on lobbying their respective branches of government by legislators, legislative staffers, former Governors, and all gubernatorial political appointees once they leave office;

Banning the use of campaign contributions or state tax dollars to pay for legal defense fees by someone who's been criminally charged with violating state ethics or campaign finance laws;

Offering 100 percent of public funding for Supreme Court candidates who agree to limit their campaign spending; and

Renewing the call for SB 1, which would merge the Wisconsin Elections and Ethics Boards. This bill passed the Senate November 1, 2005 with various amendments and if passed by the full legislature, would provide greater enforcement power over our elections and ethics laws.
Will those who have been posing for holy pictures adopt serious campaign reforms, or will they nitpick this one to death because it does not meet their definition of perfect?

Watch carefully, and take good notes. See where the do-gooders come down on this.

The sniping has already begun. The Journal Sentinel reports:

But critics were quickly circling. Doyle's release quoted Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) praising the package, but an aide from Ellis' office said Ellis was critical of the final package because it didn’t do enough to reform the way campaigns are financed.

UPDATE: WisPolitics reports that Jack Heck of Common Cause says
"The problem with the package now ... is that it apparently does not have the support of Senator Ellis and Representative Freese who both say they did not agree to the inclusion of the provision banning the use of state tax dollars or campaign contributions for the legal defense of legislators or staff criminally charged with violating state ethics or campaign finance laws. It's a good proposal which we support but its inclusion with the other reforms may make this package untenable and make it no longer bipartisan--which means it won't move an inch."
So Republicans are going to hold up or kill this bill because they want to be able to use taxpayer money or their campaign accounts to pay for lawyers when they break the ethics or campaign finance laws? Great! Let's have that debate. Can't wait for the fall campaign ads.


At 8:53 AM, Blogger Deedub420 said...

Old Norquist used his camapign $ to pay off a lawsuit. so now it's a bad idea?

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Shades said...

Not to mention that Sen Ellis - who the Gov used to support his package - wants nothing to do with Diamond Jim's PR ploy.


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