WI: Donations During Session

This editorial discusses a proposal in Wisconsin to ban political donations while the legislature works on the state budget.

The business of raising campaign cash needs to be separate from the business of drafting a state budget. Otherwise the public rightfully suspects special-interest groups are buying votes, as if Wisconsin government is little more than Illinois Lite.

This situation requires a law with serious consequences for violators. Even Doyle says he prefers a law that applies to the entire Legislature, not a rule that affects just one house and not the other.

“It’s completely unfair to have one side play by one set of rules and the other side play by another,” Doyle said. But not so unfair that the governor has exerted any obvious pressure to get such a law passed.

The 2007-2009 legislative session started out with a bang, with bipartisan passage of a strong campaign and ethics reform law. The 2009-2011 session is starting out with a desolate whimper.

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