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Monday, July 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 73.0° F  Mostly Cloudy


Scott Walker tops Mary Burke in major and out-of-state donations

Two weeks before the July 21 deadline for filing campaign finance reports, the campaigns of Mary Burke, the likely Democratic candidate for Wisconsin governor, and Scott Walker, the Republican incumbent, issued press releases projecting some key numbers. These figures were nearly the same as those in the actual reports, filed on the due date with the state Government Accountability Board. >More
 Perceptions vs. reality in Wisconsin's John Doe II probe

A recent column on the stalled John Doe probe into allegedly illegal campaign activities drew an impassioned email from a reader in Appleton. "I read yet another column of yours criticizing Republicans for 'coordinating' during campaign season," she wrote. "It seems this witch hunt by the Democratic Milwaukee DA has been one-sided. And media outlets such as yours feed into that one-sided witch hunt by encouraging it." >More
 More heat than light in flap over Brad Schimel's response to One Wisconsin Now

Brad Schimel, the lone Republican candidate for state attorney general, ignited a firestorm with his response to a letter alleging pay-to-play politics. "What law do you believe has been violated?" asked Schimel, the district attorney of Waukesha County, in an email response to One Wisconsin Now. The liberal advocacy group had urged him to investigate a state lawmaker who introduced a bill that would have helped a wealthy donor. >More
 Are subjects of the John Doe investigation still coordinating campaigns?

It's a simple question, one that probably can be answered "Yes" or "No." Given that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his supporters have so stridently affirmed their right to coordinate campaign activities with groups engaged solely in "issue advocacy," will they be doing so in the upcoming fall election? >More
 Wisconsin felony gun sentence bill died without shots being fired

Recently this column discussed various efforts to toughen state gun laws, including a bill proposed by state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) to impose a mandatory three-year minimum sentence for felony firearms offenses. Darling announced in August 2013 that she was having the bill drafted. But it was never introduced, despite public expressions of support from Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, also both Republican. >More
 Wisconsin Republican and Democratic parties' 2014 platforms highlight differences

The Republican Party of Wisconsin drew national attention recently for weighing whether to affirm the state's right to secede from the union. The proposal was rejected at the party's convention in early May, after the vast majority of Republicans in the state Assembly opposed it as "worthless" and "a distraction." >More
 Legislative Reference Bureau report tracks Wisconsin lawmaker election trends

It's the kind of report that probably ends up in more recycling bins than reading piles. Released in May, "Tenure, Turnover and Reelection in the Wisconsin Legislature, 1940-2012," a 32-page bulletin from the Legislative Reference Bureau, lives up to its non-scintillating title, and was received accordingly. >More
 Gun possession bills fail as shots still fly in Milwaukee

If Wisconsin had tougher penalties for habitual criminals caught with firearms, might Sierra Guyton, age 10, not have been shot? The most honest answer: We'll never know. The most intriguing: Possibly. >More
 Critics of Wisconsin wolf harvest decry lobbying clout of hunting groups

In February, the state's Wolf Advisory Committee took a surprising stand against a controversial state program that compensates the owners of dogs killed by wolves while hunting other animals. The committee, made up of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and representatives of stakeholder groups, voted 9-8 to recommend discontinuing these payments, which no other state provides. >More
 John Doe II ruling alters campaign donation and coordination terrain in Wisconsin

There seemed to be no doubt about it: The conduct that Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) was recently caught on tape discussing -- creating an outside group to attack his Democratic opponent -- is against the law. >More
 Wisconsin's voter ID bills get little lobby support

Some Republican state lawmakers upset by a federal judge's ruling against Wisconsin's voter ID law are vowing to introduce new legislation. "We refuse to wait on the sidelines for the courts to rule in a process that could take years, when we can pass a proven voter ID law," wrote state Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh). "Election integrity is too important." >More
 Mary Burke decries out-of-state campaign donations to Scott Walker

There were, into the month of May, no signs in the front windows of Mary Burke's campaign office across the street from the state Capitol in Madison, nothing to broadcast her name to the many people passing by. That's an odd missed opportunity for a candidate struggling to make herself known. >More
 Making sense of the John Doe II investigation in Wisconsin

The ongoing John Doe probe into alleged illegal activities concerning Gov. Scott Walker's recall election campaign is nothing if not complicated. Here's an attempt to make it understandable. >More
 Wisconsin GOP has edge in fall 2014 elections

Sometimes it seems as though the predictive tools used in elections have become so powerful that actual voting is superfluous: The pollsters and pundits can just look at the data and declare the winners in advance. >More
 Sen. Dale Schultz exits the Wisconsin Legislature, shaking his head

Republican Dale Schultz is stepping down after 32 years in the Legislature, most as a state senator. He has broken ranks with his fellow GOP senators on a host of issue, including Act 10 changes to collective bargaining and a mining bill that weakened environmental regulations. Moreover, Schultz has been openly critical of his party and the forces he believes are corrupting the political system. Chief among them: the vast infusions of campaign cash. >More
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