Heck -- Right to Take WI Legislature to Task

In his Capital Times op-ed, Jay Heck takes shots at Wisconsin's legislature for failing to act on a campaign finance reform bill, and accuses the group of quietly, "smothering it with a pillow"....

June 4, 2008

"Brace
yourselves for the most ugly and expensive state Supreme Court election in
Wisconsin's history in 2009," warns Jay Heck, director of Common Cause
Wisconsin. In his Capital
Times
op-ed
, Heck takes shots at Wisconsin's legislature for failing to act
on a campaign finance reform bill, and accuses the group of quietly, "smothering
it with a pillow" during its special legislative session.

Heck's
brashness is understandable. Forget about the fact that Governor Jim Doyle
called the special session specifically
in the interests of campaign finance reform. Recent candidate special interest spending
in Wisconsin's last two judicial election cycles, makes clear that, now, more
than ever, comprehensive campaign finance reform is needed in the state.  

The
bill that Heck so
eloquently argues was "murdered," would provide public financing to all of
Wisconsin's state races and full public financing for its state Supreme Court
elections. Moreover, the bill would require interest groups to disclose the
names of their donors when running television advertisements—hopefully discouraging the brand of "Willie Horton-style hit" ads deployed during the April election involving Justice Louis Butler and Judge Mike Gableman.

Heck effectively makes his point. Public confidence
(and a little thing called democracy) are muddled when special interest money is
allowed to dominate and ultimately, hold hostage the issues important to voters
and candidates alike—particularly when the candidates in question are judges.