For Immediate Release Contact: Rebekah SweeneySeptember 26, 2011 (608) 266-3790
Jorgensen on Republican Raid of Fair Elections Fund: Put It Back!
MADISON – State Representative Andy Jorgensen (D-Fort Atkinson) today unveiled a plan to restoremonies raided in the Republican budget from the Wisconsin Election Campaign Fund (WECF) andrenew the program before the next election cycle.“When Governor Walker and Republicans ran for office, they railed against raids of segregated funds.But, when they were faced with the task of balancing the state’s budget, they swiped $1.1 million inmonies set aside by Wisconsin taxpayers specifically for the public financing of elections,” saidJorgensen. “They weren’t true to their word or to the will of the people, and I won’t stand for it.”Jorgensen’s legislative proposal provides $1.1 million of general purpose revenue to the re-establishment of the Wisconsin Election Campaign Fund, setting parameters identical to what was inplace prior to the passage of the state budget. Under this plan, candidates for state offices who agree tolimit their campaign expenditures and contributions, fulfill all reporting requirements, win the primarywith at least 6% of the vote and have an opponent would be eligible for public financing dollars. StateSenate candidates could receive $15,525 and State Assembly candidates could receive $7,763. The planwould also allow taxpayers to continue to “check-off” $1 on their state income tax returns, money whichsponsors the WECF."When people checked that box on their tax forms, they were directing their money for one thing andone thing only, to help regular folks run for office,” said Jorgensen. “It was up to them to decide howtheir money would be spent, not the Governor. He should put the money back.""The majority party in the Legislature has -- either deliberately or unwittingly -- seriously underminedan almost 35-year-old tradition of honest, open and accountable state government with this change," saidJay Heck, Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. "Rep. Jorgensen's proposal restoresfunds that were designated by Wisconsin taxpayers for public financing of state elections which we allknow can and should be improved, not destroyed."“Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin taxpayers designated some of their taxes to go for publicfinancing of elections. Disregarding this clear expression on taxpayer intent and using this money foranother purpose was an act of profound disrespect to those taxpaying citizens,” said WisconsinDemocracy Campaign Executive Director Mike McCabe. “That disrespect was magnified when theynot only eliminated the income tax check-off and redirected the funds, but they used the money forsomething many if not most of these taxpayers find repugnant -- implementation of the new lawrequiring voters to have a photo ID in order to cast a ballot.”-OVER-