Full participatory democracy: it’s been a national goal since America’s founding. Today citizens recognize that money sometimes plays a warping role in electoral politics and hobbles progress towards full democracy. During the past decade, with Washington, D.C. mired in stalemate and in thrall to special interests, many states stepped forward and introduced innovative laws that enhance the power of ordinary citizens in the political process. States as different in political culture as Arizona and Connecticut have created bold systems to reform campaign finance laws, create voluntary public financing, and ensure that enforcement is fair and vigorous.
This report — the first of a five-part series — assesses Wisconsin’s campaign finance system; we are developing similar reports for Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio.