Sen. Lassa Statement on Campaign Finance, GAB bills


MADISON -- State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to today’s immanent passage by the Senate of Assembly Bill 387, which dramatically expands unregulated political contributions, and Assembly Bill 388,which abolishes the non-partisan agency that regulates ethics and elections in Wisconsin:

“Since the Senate is in Extraordinary Session today, we should have focused our efforts on work the people of Wisconsin really need us to do, such as helping our struggling public schools, fixing our crumbling roads, or reviving our lackluster economy.  Instead, Senate Republicans chose to take up two bills that will help no one but a handful of politicians who want to maintain their own grip on power.  In one day, the majority party changed the rules to make it easier for wealthy out-of-state individuals and corporations to influence elections in our state, and at the same time eliminated the watchdog that enforces our elections and ethics laws.  While these laws may help politicians protect their jobs, they don’t do anything to help the people of Wisconsin address the problems they face every day.

“AB 387 will allow wealthy donors to give unlimited amounts of money to legislative campaign committees, and make Wisconsin the first state in the nation to allow candidates to collude with secretive ‘dark money’ groups that don’t have to report their donors to the public.  While the Senate amendment made some minor changes to the Assembly bill, the proposal will still make it much easier for big money donors to have extraordinary influence over Wisconsin politics while hiding their involvement from voters.

“AB 388 eliminates the Government Accountability Board and replaces it with a body made mostly of partisan hacks who will have little motivation or ability to enforce state elections laws.  Again, the minor changes the Senate made to this bill do nothing to change the fact that this is a blatant partisan attack on a nationally respected institution that is simply being punished for doing its job – upholding the state’s clean campaign and ethics laws.

“That Republicans are so focused on protecting their own power, to the exclusion of issues that the people of Wisconsin really care about, shows that they are completely out of touch with the real needs and interests of the citizens who elected them.  The people of our state want political leaders who will help them build a better future for all Wisconsin – and not one that only benefits politicians.”