Monday, October 3, 2016

Wisconsin conservatives toast to unlimited, secretive corporate influence and pay-to-play in our elections

Supreme Court decides not to hear John Doe case

I predicted that the Supreme Court of the United States would hear arguments in favor of allowing the John Doe investigation in Wisconsin to continue. Today, it was revealed that the Court won’t hear those arguments after all.

I was wrong in my guess. But my reasons to hope for the outcome I wrongly predicted were as true as ever. The Court needed to hear the case to restore integrity to Wisconsin’s political process. As it stands today, the method of campaigning, of candidates diverting funds secretly to third party interest groups to allow both unlimited and secretive contributions, is legal.

Many citizens don’t support this type of electioneering. They don’t want corporations donating large sums of money to a candidate’s cause, and then “poof,” like magic, that corporation mysteriously benefits from laws passed by the very same candidates they supported.

In one such instance, legislation benefitting companies that dealt with lead paint were granted huge leeways in who could sue them. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature approved a measure aimed at retroactively shielding paint makers from liability after a billionaire owner of a lead producer contributed $750,000 to a political group that provided crucial support to Walker and Republicans in recall elections, according to a report released Wednesday.
That’s not proof of pay-to-play, but it certainly doesn’t pass any “sniff test” I know either. Three-quarters of a million dollars goes to supporting Republican candidates from a lead paint company, and then lead paint regulations are suddenly eased. Stop at any Kwik Trip in Wisconsin, start up a conversation with anyone inside, and that person will tell you they have doubts about the integrity of our leaders. They’d also want to know more about what’s going on in our elections process.

Except, now they CAN’T know more -- those types of donations are hidden from view, purposely kept in the dark. The only reason we know anything about them at all is all because of the John Doe investigation in the first place. Leaked documents, provided to the Guardian US from an unknown source in September, allowed us a tiny glimpse into how campaign fundraising works in the state now. But we won’t be able to see anything more from this point on.

Today Wisconsin conservatives are literally toasting the decision of the Supreme Court not to take on the John Doe case. I wonder to what they’re toasting to? Unlimited corporate influence? Secretive donations being the law of the land? Pay-to-play bribes that now won’t see the light of day? These are not Wisconsin values.

Yet this is the Wisconsin that Republicans and conservatives wanted. For now, they’ve gotten it -- corruption, bribes, and a clear path to corporate oligarchy. It’s up to us, the people, to restore integrity in our state. I remain hopeful that we can.

John Doe is dead. But democracy and openness in our elections still have a chance in Wisconsin.

1 comment:

  1. GOPs would be wise to heed this parable.

    When the checks and balances go
    The heads they start to roll

    The GOPs better lose next month, for everybody's sake. The cowardice at SCOTUS just made things worse for all....and a bigger mess that'll have to be cleaned up