Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Donation Plea: "Donations are Unlimited and Undisclosed."
For those who aren't aware, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) is a lobbying group. They have funded millions of dollars worth of slimy political attack ads over the years, all of them directed at Democrats and others that WMC perceives as liberal.
It should come as no surprise that they are seeking donations to smear Joanne Kloppenburg, candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Their plea for dollars is a perfect example of the need for campaign finance reform. They boast in the letter that donations to WMC are "unlimited and undisclosed."
In a letter dated March 24th, the president of WMC, James Haney, repeats the usual distortions about Kloppenburg, and praises her opponent as being fair, despite the Prosser campaign's statement that Prosser would be a conservative complement to Governor Scott Walker and the Republican state legislature.
The money quote, however is the one I mention in the title:
Click here to make a generous corporate contribution to counter their efforts. Donations are unlimited and undisclosed.
The emphasis is not mine. it's in the letter.
It's even more disgusting when you read the fine print at the end. Even though the letter is obviously an outright request for money to support David Prosser and smear Joanne Kloppenburg, they "disclose" the following. This time the emphasis is mine:
Paid for by WMC Issues Mobilization Council, Inc.
WMC IMC is a special fund established by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce to deliver the business message and promote grassroots activity to support the business agenda. WMC IMC is organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Corporate contributions are accepted and kept confidential. There are no contribution limits under law. WMC IMC issue advocacy does not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (Buckly v. Valeo /Wisconsin State Elections Board v. WMC Issues Mobilization Council, Inc.) It is our understanding that your financial support for WMC-IMC is an unrestricted, general support grant and is not earmarked or targeted support for any specific WMC-IMC activity. While it is possible that a portion of your donation may be used for political purposes (such as supporting or opposing candidates) you are not donating specifically for the purpose of furthering any independent expenditure activity.
I know some will point out that the disclosure language is standard for all 501(c) organizations, including those that support liberal candidates. Perhaps, but it all stinks. This is not what democracy looks like, no matter who does it. Unlimited, anonymous donations are not free speech. They are bribes.
The election for Supreme Court is Tuesday, April 5th. Two Madison cab companies, including Union Cab, are offering free rides to the polls.
March 29, 2011--Madison, WI. Last week, Union Cab of Madison Co-operative’s Board of Directors has authorized free rides to and from Madison, WI polling places on April 5, 2011. Today, Badger Cab, Madison’s oldest cab company, has decided to join with Union Cab and also provide free rides. Tom Royston, of Badger Cab, noted that “Badger has been part of the Madison community for over 65 years and is happy to support our community by helping people get to the polls.”