Wisconsin activists rally against big money in campaigns


Representatives of a coalition of 35 citizen groups, including the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, called on the Wisconsin Legislature to approve Assembly Joint Resolution 50 authorizing a statewide referendum in November 2014 on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to effectively overturn the notorious Citizens United ruling and related decisions that intensified the influence of money in politics and diminished the voices of ordinary citizens.

The call was made on Oct. 8, the day the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC, a case challenging a federal law limiting campaign contributions.

The Money Out, Voters In coalition rallied against big money in political campaigns at the Wisconsin state Capitol at about noon. Their focus was on Citizens United, the case that has allowed special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections and also McCutcheon, which has been characterized as the “next Citizens United.”

“What’s at stake is whether we have free speech or fee speech, and whether we have a system of elected representation dependent on and responsive to the people or a system where money dominates,” said Wisconsin Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe.

The coalition delivered a letter calling for a hearing on AJR 50 to Assembly Government Relations and State Licensing Committee chair Tyler August, a Republican from Lake Geneva.

And after the rally, activists lobbied lawmakers in both chambers.

The coalition involves: WISPIRG, People For the American Way, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, United Wisconsin, Center for Media and Democracy, South Central Wisconsin Move To Amend, Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, Wisconsin Farmers Union, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Citizen Action Wisconsin, AFT- Wisconsin, National Association of Social Workers – Wisconsin Chapter, United Council of UW Students, Midwest Environmental Advocates, 9 to 5, Madison Teachers Inc., Move to Amend of Southeast Wisconsin, Chippewa Valley Move to Amend, Move to Amend Rock River, Lake Mills Move to Amend, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Reedsburg Area Concerned Citizens, Wisconsin Grassroots Network, Madison Area Urban Ministry, Madison MoveOn, Peace Action Wisconsin, Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter, Door County Environmental Council, SouthWest Wisconsin Area Progressives, One Wisconsin Now, Progressive Dane, South Central Federation of Labor, Teaching Assistants’ Association, and Wisconsin Wave.