October 23, 2015

Working for you!


John Doe, Campaign Finance and GAB Reforms Passed

This week, the Assembly passed much needed reforms to the John Doe process, campaign finance laws, and Government Accountability Board (GAB).

John Doe

SB 43, authored by Representative David Craig (R-Big Bend) and Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), was signed into law today by Governor Walker as 2015 Wisconsin Act 64. This legislation is a victory for the first amendment right to free speech, the families who had to endure terrifying experiences of law enforcement raiding their homes, and witnesses who had gag orders placed on them so they could not speak about the proceedings. These reforms come after the State Supreme Court halted a notable John Doe investigation by concluding that the “special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law” and Judge John Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a “gag order” on witnesses is “screamingly unconstitutional”.

I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution, and when this is the response from our judges, the legislature has a responsibility to act to protect the constitutional rights of all who are involved in the case, and to promote transparency. I was a co-sponsor of this legislation and I voted in favor of it. The vote was 61-36.

This bill allows John Doe investigations to continue with some reasonable changes:
• Specifies the types of crimes that may be investigated under a John Doe proceeding
• Judges must currently be serving instead of using reserve judges
• The bill specifies when proceedings may be conducted in secrecy and who the secrecy order may apply to
• Places a 6 month time limit on investigations, unless a majority of judicial administrative district chief judges find good cause to extend the time limit
• Limits the investigation to what was contained in the original request, unless a majority of judicial administrative district chief judges vote to expand the scope
• The judge conducting the proceeding must order notice to all persons who have an interest in property seized during the proceedings
• Records that reflect the cost of a John Doe proceeding are subject to Open Records

Campaign Finance

I also voted in favor of AB 387, authored by Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), to reform our campaign finance laws. This bill passed on a unanimous vote, 61-0, since the Democrats shirked their legislative duty and recused themselves from the vote. State statute 19.46(3) is clear that public officials are not prohibited from taking a vote on this type of bill. Yet, Democrats didn't recuse themselves in committee and they voted on similar legislation in the past session.

Chapter 11, which is the state law regulating campaign finance, has not had a major revision since 1973. Several court cases have addressed campaign finance laws, and we have not evolved with the courts. Even if you disagree with these court decisions, they are still the law of the land and the legislature must respond accordingly.

The goal of this legislation is twofold: make the laws regulating express advocacy and issue advocacy clear, and to bring money into the light of day where it is disclosed and transparent. For more information on the bill and definitions of express advocacy vs. issue advocacy, click here.

Highlights of the bill include:

• Maintains prohibition of corporate money going to candidates
• Brings Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws in line with recent court decisions
• Clearly indicates the difference between express advocacy and issue advocacy
• Doubles contribution limits that have not been updated since 1973 (if contribution limits were increased by the rate of inflation, then they would be 5x larger than the current limit)
• Increases the number of financial reports that Assembly candidates must file to 6 times during even years and quarterly during odd years


I voted in favor of AB 388, authored by Representative Knudson (R-Hudson) and Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), which reorganizes the GAB into two bipartisan commissions. This passed on a 58-39 vote.


It is important for Wisconsin to have an agency that is responsible for ensuring ethical practices among public officials and safe and transparent elections. That said, the last eight years of the GAB was a good experiment, but it has not worked. The GAB did not create a nonpartisan environment. Rather, it participated in investigations using an unlimited budget that turned into partisan witch hunts; contrary to what many contend, it has not served as a national model because no state has copied this model; and the GAB failed to complete some of their statutory responsibilities meant to protect our elections.


Please take the time to read a recent audit conducted by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau regarding the GAB.

Highlights of the bill include:
• There will be an elections commission and an ethics commission, instead of one entity like the GAB
• The elections commission will have citizen members appointed by legislative leaders of both parties, and two county/municipal clerks appointed by the Governor from a list submitted by both parties
• The ethics commission will have six citizen members appointed using a similar process to the elections commission
• Each party has equal representation on both boards
• County/Municipal Clerks live and breathe elections and are better suited than judges to oversee election ethics

The GAB has been in place for eight years. Wisconsin had consistent and transparent elections prior to the GAB, and I feel confident that we will have them with an ethics commission and an elections commission.

"Like" Representative Murphy's Facebook Page

In an effort to continually engage with you on important topics facing the state, I launched a new Facebook page. Please like it by clicking here!

I will use Facebook to update you more frequently on my work in Madison and the 56th Assembly District.  I look forward to using this as another way to connect with constituents and encourage you to follow it and watch for regular updates.

Tour of Alpha-Prime and Gulfstream with Ray Cross

I got to show off some of our local businesses and tour Gulfstream and Alpha-Prime with University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross. These visits are an opportunity for the UW and local businesses to build stronger connections and relationships, and I am happy to be a part of that.

Left to Right: UW President Ray Cross, Alpha-Prime Owner Rich Bartosic, Representative Dave Murphy

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Official Facebook Page



I live in Greenville, but have an office at the State Capitol in Madison. If you are in downtown Madison, please feel free to stop by and say hello! Just go to the information desk in the rotunda, and they can direct you on how to find my office, 318 North. At the bottom of each e-update, you'll see my office contact information.

If your school or group plans to tour the Capitol building, please let me know in advance. I'd love to visit with you for a few minutes and take a group photo.

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Rep.Murphy@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 318 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 537088 Toll Free: (888) 534-0056 or (608) 266-7500