UPDATE: Assembly to vote on allowing earlier donations

UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 ---- 5:05 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Lobbyists could start making campaign donations to candidates for office seven weeks earlier than current law allows under a bill before the state Assembly.

The bill up for a vote Thursday would allow lobbyists to start making personal donations the day candidates can circulate petitions for office, which is April 15. Under current law they can't make any donations until June 1.

State law would continue to bar lobbyists from giving campaign donations to members of the Legislature while it is still in session.

The Senate narrowly passed the bill 17-16 earlier this month. If it clears the Assembly, it would then head to Gov. Scott Walker for his consideration.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


UPDATED Wednesday, March 5, 2014 --- 2:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he is not pushing a pair of Republican-sponsored bills affecting campaign donations and spending regulations.

The proposals were introduced Monday and quickly scheduled for a hearing Wednesday before the Senate's Elections Committee.

One would allow liberalize rules covering when lobbyists can donate to candidates for office. The other would put into law a rule that exempts political groups behind issue ads from disclosing their donors.

Walker says he has not been engaged on the bills and instead has been focused on issues related to tax relief, economic development and worker training.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also had no comment on the bills, saying he was still reviewing them.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2014 --- 10:02 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Government watchdog groups are opposing a pair of Republican-sponsored bills that would allow lobbyists to donate during the legislative session and exempt political groups behind issue ads from disclosing donors.

Both bills are moving quickly in the waning days of the legislative session. They were introduced on Monday and scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Elections Committee on Wednesday.

Jay Heck, director of Common Cause of Wisconsin, calls the bills a "sudden surprise attack" on election disclosure laws. But attorney Mike Wittenwyler, an attorney who works extensively on campaign finance law, says the bills are "necessary updates to state law to keep up with modern campaign practices and developments with campaign finance case law."

The bills are co-sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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