Referendum on Campaign Finance Reform Vetoed

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Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has vetoed placing an advisory referendum on the ballot this November, which would have tried to reform campaign finance law.

The referendum aims to challenge the Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United case, which lifted the cap on the amount of money that corporations could spend on campaigns. Abele says that while he does not support the High Court’s decision, he believes that fighting it through a non-binding referendum at the cost of $37,000 is a waste of taxpayer resources.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Gerry Broderick disagrees. He says that public opinion clearly favors the referendum, and adds that the County Executive’s veto will deny constituents proper representation. “I don’t know who he is representing with his veto. Himself, the 1 percent, I have no idea. But, the people need to be heard on this issue, and a referendum of this sort allows us a clearer understanding of exactly what our constituents are thinking and how best to represent their interests.”

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Broderick says the County Board will most likely hold a special session to try to override the veto. If the override occurs, Milwaukee County would be the largest jurisdiction in the country to put the referendum to a popular vote.

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