But can Democrats vote and chew gum?

The Wisconsin Assembly votes tomorrow afternoon on the Senate’s changes to campaign finance and elections oversight laws. The highlights of the changes:

  • The Government Accountability Board will be spun into two organizations, one for ethics and one for election rules-following. The ethics board will include two judges.
  • Campaign finance laws will allow double the previous donation limits for individuals, but, unlike the bill the Assembly passed providing unlimited contributions, cap donations to political parties and campaign committees from corporations, unions, and Indian tribes at $12,000.

These updates are largely window dressing; the Higher House needed to leave its fingerprints on the bills for the sake of it. While appointing three Republicans and Democrats to the ethics board might naturally induce gridlock, the remedy is not to find balance with two retired judges. Judges, even when not running under a partisan banner, often have their own agendas. This isn’t news.

After the first assembly vote, Democrats fired off press releases seeming to indicate that, until that point, Wisconsin politics were free from corruption, and the only baddies were Governor Walker and his friends. “Wisconsin is open for corruption,” Rep. Peter Barca mourned in a public statement.

While Democrats decry more corporate money in politics tomorrow, it’s incumbent on any Republican to lob the grenade back and highlight the millions of dollars spent by Big Labor in Wisconsin over the last five years, first in response to Act 10 and most recently to prop up Democrat hairdo for governor Mary Burke. Unions, and any other of the many lefty special interests, will have just as much right to spend money on candidates, causes, and elections as any corporation.

“Both sides are guilty of blahblahblah” is a tired canard and not demonstrative of any intellectual analysis, and in this context it’s not the point. Democrats wave their white banner of beneficence without ever being called out for having their own overlords.

That was the case in October when Assembly Democrats recused themselves from voting on the first campaign finance reform bill because it would directly affect their committees. (Something that backfired when Speaker Vos was able to celebrate a unanimous vote in favor of the law.) The recusal was high-minded nothingness, a platitude that the non-thinking will celebrate while the rest of us roll our eyes. Brian Sikma at Media Trackers did a lovely job outlining why right after it happened.

Tomorrow Democrats might uniformly refuse to do their jobs. What’s worse is that the people who voted them into office will see it as a victory.

About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of MorningMartini.com and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.
  • JeffSimpson7

    The labor spends money too is such a lazy and intellectaully dishonest argument but seems to be the only one the righties use. Are the dems not supposed to play by the rules of the game set forth as is? they still get massively outspent would you think that as a matter of principles they should not spend any money? Or would the right thing to do is play the game as much as its tilted and try and change the rules?

    Also thanks for the laugh in sayng that the dems recusing themselves from voting on a bill that will effect their committees, its called ethics and seems to be foreign to the right. HOWEVER its funny that you think a unanimous vote of righties is something to be celebrated. He has 58 people that do exactly as he says and hasnt had an original thought since they were in office(well if they did and shared it they would be primaried by an even crazier extremist).

    The perpetual party line votes doesnt show quality or independence it shows how badly the system needs reforming.

    • niknelson

      Oh Jeff, you sweetheart. Did you miss the part where I wrote, “Both sides are guilty of ‘blahblahblah’ is a tired canard and not demonstrative of any intellectual analysis, and in this context it’s not the point. Democrats wave their white banner of beneficence without ever being called out for having their own overlords.”?

      • JeffSimpson7

        I saw it and ignored it because it was baseless. Sure you owe people who give you millions , but there is no equivalent Dem version of ALEC and we know that they fly legies in and tell them what to do and how to say.

        Closer to home, Michael Grebe and Scott Jensen (though both heavy into ALEC) tell the Repubs what to do and they listen. While the unions do give lots of money and support, you would not know it by Dem policies.

        • niknelson

          Don’t forget Chuck and Dave Koch! We do whatever they tell us to do, too.

          • JeffSimpson7

            They have enough power that Scotty will take their call at anytime and tell them his innermost thoughts.