Public Disclosure Laws And Free Speech, UW Solar Textile Project, Clinton Fundraising Venture

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

Should organizations be required to disclose their donations to political candidates or campaigns? Our guest believes these policies, known as public disclosure laws, are an attack on free speech. We also learn about a new project at UW that’s trying to combine solar cells with textiles, and we look at campaign fundraising in Wisconsin and beyond.

Featured in this Show

  • Clinton Campaign Enters Joint Finance Agreement With Democratic Party Of Wisconsin

    The Democratic National Committee and four of the organization’s state arms, including the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, have recently agreed to form a joint fundraising agreement with the party’s presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

    While these types of deals are common, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor says the timing of the announcement — months before the party actually nominates a candidate — is a bit unusual.

    “What had people scratching their heads is why the Democratic state party agreed to do this with the Clinton campaign even before the nomination process had even kicked off formally,” said Ken Mayer, a campaign finance expert at UW-Madison. “We’re still five months out from the first primaries and caucuses.”

    Joint fundraising deals, which essentially allow political parties and candidates to raise money together under a written agreement about how to allocate the funds, are common in U.S. politics since they became law in 1971 under the Federal Election Campaign Act. Mayer estimated that there were about 500 joint financing ventures in both the 2014 and 2012 elections.

    “The agreements are a routine part of the campaign finance landscape,” Mayer said.

    The agreement, according to Mayer, doesn’t appear to be an early anointing of Clinton as the party’s nominee. The money raised jointly by the Clinton campaign and the DNC will be available to whomever the nominee is.

    The Washington Post reports that a “DNC official said the national party hopes to sign similar joint fundraising agreements with other Democratic campaigns.” Clinton’s campaign manager said in a statement that the agreement will help put the DNC in a position to win the White House in 2016 by countering the unlimited sums of money being donated to Republican candidates.

    “At this point, it really is a fundraising mechanism that allows the candidates and the state parties and national parties to raise money together,” Mayer said. “It begins to look a little bit like what soft money looked like in the 1990s.”

    In addition to Wisconsin, Democratic parties in Mississippi, New Hampshire and Virginia also joined agreements with Clinton’s campaign.

  • Director of Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin Says Public Disclosure Laws Are Violation Of Free Speech

    In a editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin Director Eric Bott argued that public disclosure laws for non-governmental organizations are a violation of free speech. Public disclosure laws require NGOs to make public who their donors are. Bott lays out his argument on Central Time.

  • UW Profs Weave Together Plan For Solar Power Textiles

    Solar power could be woven into the fabric of our lives–literally. A UW textile expert and a chemist are working together to make textiles with solar fuel cells, to provide convenient and flexible ways to harness energy from the sun.

  • Fundraising Venture Between Wisconsin Democrats, Hillary Clinton Reached

    Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has reached a joint fundraising deal with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. A political scientist explains this kind of fundraising, and looks at the election money picture going forward.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Rob Ferrett Producer
  • Ken Mayer Guest
  • Eric Bott Guest
  • Marianne Fairbanks Guest
  • Trisha Andrew Guest

Related Stories