Pocan/Risser Introduce Clean Elections Bill

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Here are the first few paragraphs that cover most of it:

Madison – State Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) introduced the most comprehensive campaign finance reform measure to date at a press conference this afternoon. The Clean Elections Fund would provide full public funding of state elections, patterned after laws in Maine and Arizona. Twenty-one organizations have already endorsed the legislation (attached).

“This is the most sweeping campaign finance reform Wisconsin has ever seen and I am grateful that so many grassroots groups have stepped forward to help clean up our government,” said Pocan. “Campaigns should be about the candidates and the voters, not the special interest groups buying elections with their expensive negative attack ads.”

The record amounts of money spent by independent groups in last Tuesday’s Supreme Court election came under fire from clean government groups and editorial boards across the state. The bill creates a Clean Elections Fund that provides 100 percent public financing for state political campaigns for the State Assembly, Senate, and other state elections including the governor’s office and the State Supreme Court. To run “clean,” a candidate must get a certain number of small $5.00 donations from district residents to qualify for funding. Once approved, they receive a spending limit and funds for their campaign.

As a disincentive for excessive campaign spending, if someone who runs “clean” has an opponent who is not running “clean” and who spends more, the “clean” candidate receives dollar for dollar up to 2.5 times the original grant. The incentive to keep spending down also applies to “independent” expenditures and “issue” ads on behalf of candidates similar to those seen during the recent Supreme Court race.

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