Thursday, February 28, 2008

WMC Political Session Scheduled Friday In Milwaukee: Picketing, Too

Former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin's effort to illuminate political and fundraising efforts by the powerful statewide business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce - - as the State Supreme Court race heats up - - makes a stop in Milwaukee Friday morning.

In the form of an informational picket from 8 AM to 10:30 AM in front of the M&I Bank, 770 Water Street.

Details of the WMC effort are here.

Text of Soglin's news release, below:

Soglin Consulting, 121 Standish Court , Madison , Wisconsin 53705

Contact: Paul Soglin For release 7:00 am Monday February 25, 2008
Tel. 608.238.4042 Cell phone 608.770.0947 Email: paul@psoglin. com

Picketing at the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) Meeting at 770 Water Street , Milwaukee

There will be an informational picket at a WMC meeting in Milwaukee , Friday February 29, 2008 from 8:00 am until 10:30 am to coincide with their hosting a meeting designed to raise money to influence the Supreme Court race.

WMC is certainly the most influential lobbying organization in our state. It claims over 4,000 member businesses—and they make the biggest contributions, indirectly, to politicians’ campaigns through their issue ads they purchase at election time.

WMC, through its Issues Committee has played a prominent role in a number of state wide elections including the last campaigns for Governor, Attorney General, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

It does this by soliciting funds and then purchasing issues ads which do not support a specific candidate but which attack the candidate WMC opposes.

While WMC does not have to reveal its contributors, television stations are required to make public ad purchases.

Last July, the Democracy Campaign estimated that WMC spent $2.2 million on television and other advertising in an effort to defeat Annette Ziegler’s opponent in the Supreme Court race. (The Capital Times, July 24, 2007). Ziegler was subsequently found to have ruled in cases where she had a conflict of interest and now faces discipline from her colleagues on the Supreme Court

Today WMC is hosting a seminar designed to enlist opposition to the candidacy of Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler.

It is estimated that WMC will attempt to raise between $2.5 and $4 million in an effort to defeat the distinguished jurist, Justice Butler. Those picketing today are making it clear that the people’s Wisconsin Supreme Court is not for sale.

Members of labor and professional organizations are opposed to these efforts. We do not have the legal means to find out which WMC members fund these attack ads.

But we do have access to the WMC board of directors and can identify the people who are responsible for the decisions to raise the money and to buy the advertising. They can enjoy their right to raise money for issue ads and we have the right to note who is legally responsible for taking out the ads.

Again, we cannot name the individuals and corporations that contribute to the WMC Issues fund; that information is not available to the public. Only WMC can tell you who contributes to their political advertising.

We wish to make it clear that this is not a picket of M&I Bank, Marshall & Ilsey Corporation, or any of the occupants or tenants of 770 Water Street

The board members from these companies have the power to either stop the ads or at least reveal who pays for them.

For more information, contact Paul Soglin at Soglin Consulting, 608-238-4042. Or 608-770-0947 (cell)


Here is the link to WMC’s website for more information as to what they are doing: WMC Regional Meetings: Wisconsin Supreme Court Unbound (When you go to this site it says page canceled. Wait and about 30 seconds later an Adobe page will open up. See what the WMC is saying about the present Supreme Court - you'll be surprised. Buzz Davis )

Dave Zweifel: Shining the Spotlight on WMC

Below are some other articles and editorials. (We picketed WMC in Madison , Wausau and Green Bay in the past two weeks.)

Our Legal System Shouldn't Be For Sale –Wausau Daily Herald editorial
…By the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's calculations, almost $6 million was spent -- most of it by special interest groups, and $2.2 million of it by one group alone. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, which represents businesses and chambers of commerce, buried television stations with that much cash…

Group protests business lobby Wausau Daily Herald -news

Protesters target WMC The Capital Times - news

Associated Press: Protesters Picket WMC Over Funding Of Political Ads

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