Money in politics

Money in Politics_sm

Download our one-page flyer [PDF]

As advocates for good government, we say that money in politics is a big problem for small business. Our members want to compete in a free and fair market, yet they’ve seen how political spending distorts that market.

According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, “There were only 299 individuals who gave $10,000 or more to state candidates in 2010 and 2012 – about five one-thousandths of one percent of the state’s 2012 population. These are millionaires and billionaires, including 173 who don’t even live in Wisconsin, who contributed to elected policy makers to influence state policy and spending decisions on a wide array of issues including education, environmental regulations, taxes and the ability of local governments to make their own public health, land use, and other decisions.”

We are not billionaires — although some of us aspire to be. We are ordinary business owners who think pay-to-play politics is unethical and unfair.

We support a referendum that would allow Wisconsin voters to decide whether unlimited spending should continue to influence our elections.

Money in politics discourages innovation.
Large, successful businesses often want to enact or keep in place policies that ensure
their dominance in the marketplace. That’s understandable, but suppressing innovative
ideas is damaging to our economy and our society as a whole. As one of our members said, “I think public policy should encourage innovation, but my small business can’t compete with the millions of dollars that flow into our political system from people who want to keep things as they are.”

Money in politics distorts the market.
Business owners expect to compete in a market that’s free and fair. But new businesses and small businesses usually don’t have the financial resources to influence policy. Unfortunately, in our money-driven political system, that means policies are often enacted that benefit only larger, more established businesses and industries. Government policy certainly does create “winners” and “losers” — and all too often the little guy loses out to big money.

Money in politics creates the appearance of corruption.
News reports came to light in the summer of 2014 regarding the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC) million-dollar giveaways to companies that took taxpayer money and then turned around and outsourced jobs. It soon came to light that company officials had given campaign donations to Governor Scott Walker, who is the chairman of WEDC. While there is no direct evidence of wrongdoing, this unfortunate situation creates the appearance of corruption and tarnishes our state’s image.

Let the voters decide.
We support AJR50, which would call for a referendum on unlimited campaign spending. Learn more >

Sign up for updates!
Please fill out the form below to receive periodic updates and action alerts about this and other issues that we’re working on. Your name and email address will not be sold or shared.