Michels Blueprint to Drain the Madison Swamp

Our government is designed to be by the people, for the people. But for too long, insiders in Madison have put the demands of the special interests over the needs of the people. Critical issues are left unaddressed and Wisconsinites feel that their voice is not heard. The insider-built system encourages politicians to spend more time making deals instead of crafting sensible public policy solutions. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. It’s a Wisconsin issue.

As governor, I will reform our system so that the people – not the lobbyists – are in charge. The Michels Blueprint to Drain the Madison Swamp calls for:

Prohibiting fundraising event sponsorship by PACs controlled by lobbying principals:

  • There are no restrictions in state law on the ability of a PAC controlled by a lobbying principal to sponsor a fundraising event for a state official, candidate, or their respective campaign committees. That must change.

Closing the lobbyist spousal loophole:

  • Currently, Lobbyists can only make contributions between April 15 and the date of the general election. However, lobbyists may make personal contributions at any time to the campaign of the lobbyist’s spouse, certain relatives, or individuals who reside in the same household as the lobbyist. Spouses of lobbyists should not have the special secret carve out they currently have under current law.

Closing the lobbying revolving door:

  • People get elected, stay in office for years, and turn around and lobby their colleagues on behalf of the very industries they had regulated just days prior. The same is often the case for senior Administration officials. For all state legislators and cabinet officials, establish a 2-year lobbying ban from the time they leave their position. By preventing former lawmakers from immediately lobbying their colleagues, we put the people of Wisconsin first – not the special interests.

Extending the ban on Lobbyist Political contributions to June 1 of every election year, or the end of the legislative calendar, whichever is later

  • If the Legislature decides to quit meeting nine months before the general election, they should not be rewarded with four months more time to raise money from lobbyists. By extending the ban until June 1, the Legislature can spend more time legislating and less time making promises to the special interests who fund their campaigns.

Imposing greater transparency and reporting requirements for political campaigns:

  • Candidates can run for office from January-July without voters knowing who donates to their campaign. Candidates should be required to file monthly online campaign finance reports so that voters know who funds their campaign efforts in a more timely, transparent fashion. Similarly, campaigns should be required to list the occupation for any contribution from any registered as ‘Lobbyist” and include a link to the Ethics Commission list of the lobbyists’ clients.

Imposing greater transparency and reporting requirements for Lobbyists:

  • Currently registered lobbying principals must report to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission on each bill, budget bill subject, proposed rule, and topic on which the organization makes a lobbying communication within 15 days of the first lobbying. This window should be changed to five business days so that the people of Wisconsin are able to track the special interests in real-time – not weeks after a bill has already been passed.