WI Gov Supports Status Quo over Tightening, Loosening Campaign Finance Laws

Wisconsin News (1/7): “Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has called for changing state law to let businesses donate directly to political parties. Currently in Wisconsin, corporations cannot donate to candidates or parties, but some fund outside groups engaged in election-related advocacy. Vos, speaking to WisconsinEye, pitched direct giving as preferable because ‘it’s transparent, it has to be disclosed to the public, it’s all available online.’
[Governor Scott] Walker, however, is cool to this idea.

“’I have no interest in going down the path of other states” that allow corporate contributions, he said, citing Illinois as an example. ‘I don’t see a direct benefit in that.’

“The Legislature is also likely to make a fresh effort to raise contribution limits for candidates and parties. But Walker said ‘we were able to do just fine’ in the last election, in which individuals could give no more than $10,000 to his campaign.”

MO Gov Race May Feature Candidate from Opposing Party Calling for Reform

St. Louis Today: “Two likely candidates for governor that year, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, are shining the spotlight on the urgent need for ethics reform.

“This week, Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, announced changes to the ethical boundaries that will guide his own campaign finance decisions. Following damning allegations of a too-cozy relationship with lobbyists representing corporations Mr. Koster’s office was suing (or thinking about suing) in a New York Times story, Mr. Koster said he will no longer accept campaign donations from the corporations — or representatives of them — that are involved in litigation with his office. Further, he said he would no longer accept gifts from lobbyists.”

“Then there is state Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican considering a run for governor in 2016, who on election night unleashed a screed targeting the culture of corruption in Jefferson City. Because Republicans dominate the Legislature, they benefit heavily from this culture.

“’We have people in this state who brag about having political armies of lawyers, lobbyists, consultants and PACs, groups who manipulate politicians like pawns on a chess board,’ Mr. Schweich said. ‘If you do as they say, you are rewarded by an endless spigot of cash. But if you don’t, they find primary opponents for you, they file lawsuits against you, they threaten you and they try to intimidate you.'”

Top CT R Leader Is Leaving Office, Vows to Work on Public Financing, Ethics Reforms

Hartford Business: “State Sen. John McKinney (R-Fairfield) has plans for next year when he leaves the General Assembly.”

“McKinney wants to return the state’s Citizen Election Program to the higher ethical and respectable standard it had when it was first enacted by limiting campaign contributions from state political parties and state contractors.

“‘The Democrats and Republicans in Hartford are not going to just do this,’ he told me in a phone conversation last week, ‘they are going have to be shamed into undoing the changes in the law they enacted to allow this to happen.'”

“He’d also like to see the discriminatory provisions of the law removed that prevent third-party candidates from being treated fairly.”

“McKinney’s new-found advocacy is not limited to just the public financing law. He also wants to see the state’s elections watchdog agency, the State Elections Enforcement Commission, have its powers restored and given the ability to act independently.

“And finally, he’d like to see competition restored to General Assembly races by eliminating the gerrymandering tactics of redistricting every 10 years by turning that process over to a non-legislative independent group.

MA Editorial Joins Gov’s Call for Capping Contributions by Campaign, Calls for Further Limits on Money

Enterprise News: “There’s a reason Massachusetts campaigns begin 14 months before Election Day. Unlike federal laws, which limit donations by election cycle, state law goes by the calendar year. That encourages campaigns to get donors to give the maximum amount the year before the election, then go after them again the next year. It also means that, for incumbents especially, the pursuit of campaign contributions goes on year in and year out.

“Baker has proposed removing the incentive to squeeze campaign donors early and often. He has called for capping individual contributions at $1,000 for the primary campaign and $1,000 for the general election.”

Editorial also supports Baker’s proposal to change the primary calendar and calls for changing municipal election days to the general election.