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Wisconsin election reform

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Wisconsin election reform

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:43 pm

Bill Lueders writes about the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's proposed reforms.

1) Require disclosure of all spending sources in state elections.

2) Close the loophole that lets officials targeted for recall raise unlimited amounts.

3) Insist that corporations get shareholder permission before spending on political campaigns.

4) Make broadcast outlets and newspapers post online records of campaign ad buys.

5) Create an independent, nonpartisan body to oversee the redrawing of voter boundaries.


These proposals are probably dead in the water, since the GOP controlled Wisconsin Assembly won't consider them (according to Rep. Robin Vos, R-Burlington).
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby MadDad » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:07 pm

I'd be on board for 1,2 and 5.

If they also added a provision that restricted recall elections to cases beyond policy disagrements they might get a clear majority to back them.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:13 pm

MadDad wrote:If they also added a provision that restricted recall elections to cases beyond policy disagrements they might get a clear majority to back them.

That's what Vos said. But Wisconsin's constitution already has an impeachment provision for that.

What's your objections to #3 and #4?
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby MadDad » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:19 pm

Yea, I read the link after I posted.

My concern with the WDC list is that they are so obviously coming from the left that their proposal has little chance of going anywhere (not that they care).

My strong preference is in trying to find middle ground that can be agreed to and move the state forward. It is too bad there are not any well-funded groups that adopt this approach.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby MadDad » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:23 pm

Sorry to have not responded on #3 and #4.

My objection on corporations needing to ask permission from shareholders before giving to campaigns is that it is silly and cumbersome. Corporations make all kinds of expenditures everyday that they judge to be appropriate. The shareholders are not consulted to approve spending (except in rare cases like major acquisitions).

Records of ad buys seems too much like inside baseball to me. The ads themselves already state who is paying for them. Requiring disclosure of ad buys seems like a way for a campaign to get inside info on the tactics of the other side.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:24 pm

You perceive that the proposals come from a lefty organization, so you object to them. Your objections aren't objective.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:37 pm

I would have to agree with MadDad. I don't see what #3 is trying to accomplish. Corporations are going to fund campaigns regardless. He is right about #4. We already know who purchased the add. The problem goes deeper into who is funding the super pac. I do think #5 is the biggest issue on this list. I'd like to see some bi-partisan support for changing how it's done.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby HawkHead » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:39 pm

Sounds like a good list to me. #4 I am on the fence about but can see the reasons for it.

Personally, I think the "safe" Republican and Democratic districts that are drawn by the party "in charge" leads to extremism and ugly politics. Have a nonpartisan group draw all the districts as close to 50/50 and see what happens.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby MadDad » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:42 pm

FYI, I am a lefty (just a realistic one).

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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:47 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:You perceive that the proposals come from a lefty organization, so you object to them. Your objections aren't objective.


It would be a less biased appearing proposal if #3 read

3) Insist that organizations get permission from all financial stakeholders before spending on political campaigns.
(i.e. PACS, Unions, Corporations, Lobbying groups would all need permission from Donors, members or stockholders to involve themselves in any specific campaign).
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:06 pm

When I was a member of MTI, our union polled its members about political contributions.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby Detritus » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:23 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:When I was a member of MTI, our union polled its members about political contributions.

Yes, as Henry points out, unions already have to separate political activities from bargaining/grievance activities. Hence the difference between fair share and dues. Some unions listen to their members, while others do not, although union leaders, being elected positions, run the risk of losing their seats if they flout their members too long. Corporations, however, do not even have to justify their political activities to their shareholders, much less get their permission. Ownership is so diluted in major corporations (aside from a few large shareholders) that there are basically no consequences within the corporation to doing something even a significant percentage of the shareholders are unaware or do not approve of.

I don't think it makes sense to include PACs and lobbying groups in the membership approval requirement, though. These are inherently political organizations. People who don't agree with what they do don't join, and there are consequences when their actions go against the desires of the membership--see ALEC's climbdown on several fronts in the last year.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby snoqueen » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:08 pm

I think #3 is a good idea but should be federal legislation not state.

First of all, most large corporations have an interest in federal elections, since they do business nationwide and globally. Trying to limit what is done within one state is pretty pointless.

Second, shareholders have a clear interest in this kind of spending (regardless of their political persuasion) because it could affect their investment. An individual shareholder's preferences could run either way, but the information is of value to shareholders and they deserve to have it and to be able to vote to allow/disallow such expenditures. Proxy wars have been waged over less.

Last, the amount of election spending and where it goes (both parties? just one?) would be publicly available by this mechanism, since any holder of a single share of stock in a corporation would know about the proxy vote and its result, and this information would be easily compiled. Far from being silly and cumbersome, this mechanism would be elegant and manageable by any clever private party with a good web page design. We wouldn't need one single new bureaucrat or agency to make it happen, so the conservatives ought to be jumping with joy.

Robin Vos says (in the original link):
Noting that stockholders already elect boards to make decisions, Vos doesn’t see the need for additional stockholder input.


If Vos finds out the boards of the corporations in which he holds stock are making a bunch of donations with which he disagrees, I bet he'd change his tune on this one. Family planning services for all? Full civil rights and protections for gay people? Come on, Robin.
Last edited by snoqueen on Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby Cornbread » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:18 pm

And nary a peep about someone being the actual person that is constitutionally allowed that one voting slot...to be that very person. :shock:

Same day voter registration/vote, absentee voting, no ID needed....yup,nothing to see there. Let's just focus on the information people could or couldn't get...... :lol:

Thanks leftists as ya'll never cease to provide me with a good laugh.
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Re: Wisconsin election reform

Postby Meade » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:02 pm

MadDad wrote:FYI, I am a lefty (just a realistic one).

Kevin

Welcome to reality, Kevin. It gets better.
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