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Campaign Cash Floods Into Wisconsin Recall

The recall is drawing millions from outside the state, but will it influence voters?
 
 
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Are WE THE PEOPLE of WI for sale? 

I do NOT think WE THE PEOPLE of WI can be “bought”/”bribed” to vote for Republican Governor Scott Walker in the Recall Election coming on June 5! Do YOU? This is an issue of WI values in terms of healthy public policy. So, let’s ASK the candidates for the GUBERNATORIAL RECALL to CONTRIBUTE THE MONEY to a JOBS IN WISCONSIN fund. Why NOT?

With the First Quarter 2012 FINANCIAL REPORTS having been filed, we NOW have the reports on campaign contributions to the candidates for GOVERNOR in the RECALL ELECTION. For data and information with perspective, I urge that you read the Wisconsin State Journal’s feature article, “Walker raises $13 million since January.”

Among the key information reported are the following points:

• “Gov. Scott Walker raised an unprecedented $13.2 million over three months to fight off the recall bid against him, outdistancing his Democratic challengers and driving home the challenge they will have in beating the Republican incumbent.

• “Crisscrossing the country on fundraising trips, Walker has raised more than $25 million since January 2011 and has $4.9 million in cash on hand - numbers unlike any that have been seen for a political candidate in Wisconsin. Two-thirds of Walker's money came from out of state.”

Just think, “Walker's fundraising is on par with that of second-tier presidential candidates. For instance, Rick Santorum raised $18.5 million between Jan. 1 and March 31, and Newt Gingrich raised a little less than $10 million during that period.”

The article asserts, “Walker has been able to raise so much because of the national appeal he developed with conservatives after his high-profile fight with labor unions and a quirk in Wisconsin law that allows unlimited fundraising while recalls are pending.”

For perspective, it is important to note Jay Heck’s (executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin) statement, "Wisconsin's never seen anything like this kind of money. This is all to persuade a relatively tiny universe of undecided voters. It'll be the highest cost per voter spent in the history of the nation in terms of the cost of persuading people." I am NOT FOR SALE! Are YOU?

I myself am concerned about the report of the MilwaukeeJournal Sentinel analysis which showed that $4.4 million of Walker's money, or a third of the total, came from Wisconsin donors. The rest came from out of state. EACH of the MAJOR CANDIDATES in the RECALL ELECTION CAMPAIGN have TOOOO MUCH MONEY from OUT-OF-STATE!

There is a quirk in WI law dealing with RECALL CAMPAIGN which is identified by the Journal Sentinel, “Normally, donors can give a maximum of $10,000 to a candidate for governor. But from the time recall petitions are taken out to the time a recall election is called, donors can give any amount.” I think this law needs to be repealed. What do YOU think?

I think it is VERY significant and accurate that Democrats are asserting that Walker has been playing to a national audience instead of taking care of business in Wisconsin. Consider the Journal Sentinel’s feature by highly respected and credible journalist, Craig Gilbert published one week ago today (April 24, 2012), “State posts largest percentage job loss in U.S. over past year.”

Note the following specific statistics reported in the article:

• “The state lost 23,900 jobs from March 2011 to March 2012.

• “The majority - 17,800 - were government jobs. But Wisconsin also lost more private-sector jobs - 6,100 - than any other state over those same 12 months, the government data shows.”

I am thinking there is a great deal of money being WASTED in the RECALL election noting the Journal Sentinel’s report, “The flurry of fundraising shows how much more costly the recall election will be than previous elections for governor. In the 2010 race, candidates and independent groups spent an estimated $37.4 million, according to estimates by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.”

Just think, “That spending included $11.3 million by Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The losing Democrat ticket of Barrett and former Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson spent $7.2 million.”

Another dimension of the MONEY being used trying to BUY WE THE PEOPLE of WI is that being spend by OUTSIDE GROUPS. The Journal Sentinel identified the following:

• “Outside groups such as the Republican Governors Association and the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee spent an estimated $12.1 million to run television ads and send mailings to voters, and former U.S. Rep. and home builder Mark Neumann doled out $6.6 million - largely his own money - in a losing bid against Walker in the GOP primary for governor.

• “Such independent groups are operating in the recall election as well. The Republican Governors Association and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce are running ads to help Walker.”

• “On the left, the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund is running an anti-Walker spot, and Wisconsin for Falk is running ads and sending mailers to boost Falk.

• “Wisconsin for Falk received $4.5 million in donations, spent $3.9 million and had $517,000 on hand, according to a report filed Monday. It received $3 million from the Wisconsin Education Association Council, $1.3 million from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and $100,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers union. The AFSCME and UFCW money came almost entirely from their Washington, D.C., offices.”

I find it WORRISOME that the Journal Sentineladds, “Some other groups are able to mask their spending and fundraising.” I support FULL TRANSPARENCY for ALL MONEY flowing into any election campaign. What do YOU support?

The research based on public opinion polls asserts that the political environment in WI is essentially IDEOLOGICAL with 95% of WE THE PEOPLE of WI having made their decision on their vote in the RECALL ELECTION coming on June 5, 2012.

This means that the cost for each undecided vote will be VERY HIGH! Worth the “investment”? I myself think the candidates – ALL OF THEM – ought to contribute CAMPAIGN MONEY after the PRIMARY ELECTION coming now on Tuesday, May 8 – to a special JOBS IN WISCONSIN FUND. WHY NOT? What do YOU think?

HAPPY MAY DAY!

John Eyster lives in the Edgerton area of Wisconsin. He is an adjunct professor of political science at University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and an advocate for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. He blogs for GazetteXtra.com, a publication of the Janesville Gazette.