Start ‘draining the swamp’ here in Wisconsin with limits on dark money

New bill looks to limit coordination between candidates, issue advocacy groups

· Nov 30, 2016 Tweet

Marissa Haegele/The Badger Herald

A new bill is set to hit the Wisconsin Assembly this upcoming legislative session dealing with everyone’s favorite phenomenon: dark money.

Democrats seek to curb corruption in campaign coordination with new billA Democratic bill that would regulate campaign coordination between candidates and independent groups aims to decrease corruption, but experts say Read…

This bill, which state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and other Democratic legislators will introduce next year, would limit the coordination political candidates can have with outside, independent groups.

Basically, it looks like it’s trying to specifically make the activities Gov. Scott Walker engaged in with the Wisconsin Club for Growth illegal.

Earlier this year, The Guardian published over 1,000 pages of leaked documents from the John Doe investigation into Walker’s 2011 recall campaign, where it showed emails between Walker’s top campaign officials and Wisconsin Club for Growth leaders in an attempt to prove unfair collusion between the two groups. This wasn’t proved, however.

U.S. Supreme Court rejection of John Doe appeal is embarrassing, unjustifiable1,500 pages — the length of the leaked John Doe documents. Having read the entirety of these documents, I don’t see how the Read…

Even though these actions are not currently illegal, they make one feel that the democratic principles of this country are being undermined.

Just look to the documents. One email from Kate Doner of Doner Fundraising who helped raise funds for the Walker recall campaign and Wisconsin Club for Growth head, R.J. Johnson stated, “As the Governor discussed with Mr. Pickens, he wants all the issue advocacy efforts run through one group to ensure correct messaging.”

Of course the argument can be made, and has been verified by the U.S. Supreme Court, that monetary donations and running issue advocacy advertisements fall under the domain of free speech.

While I am not opposed to stating one’s opinions through the use of advertisements, there needs to be a strict barrier between the groups advocating for certain issues and candidates running for political office.

If not, and we allow for coordination and collusion between issue advocacy groups and campaigns, we run the risk of compromising the integrity of elected officials. They may become more beholden to the people writing them big checks than to the populace who elected them.

Furthermore, the people of Wisconsin elected a man who has promised to clean up government corruption, saying he will “drain the swamp,” as president. If Wisconsinites really want to drain the swamp, we should address the unnatural relationship between issue advocacy groups and the candidates they subtly endorse.

Aaron Reilly ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in social work and economics.


This article was published Nov 30, 2016 at 5:49 pm and last updated Nov 30, 2016 at 6:10 pm


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