Spending on legislative races hits record $36 million

March 7, 2019

MADISON A nonprofit group that tracks campaign finance says spending by candidates and groups in Wisconsin's fall legislative contests hit a record $36 million in 2018.

An analysis by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows spending in the Senate and Assembly races increased 27 percent from the $28 million spent in 2016 and was about double the $17 million spent in 2014.

Democracy Campaign executive director Matthew Rothschild tells the State Journal looser campaign finance regulations have allowed donors to spend lavishly on all types of races, relegating the average person in Wisconsin to the role of spectator.

The increased spending in last year's legislative races comes after the GOP overhauled the state's campaign finance law, including allowing increases in contribution limits.

Former Senate candidate Vukmir joining tax group

MADISON Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir is joining the National Taxpayers Union to travel the country advocating for changes in tax policy.

The conservative group announced Vukmir's hiring as its vice president of state affairs Wednesday.

Vukmir is from Brookfield and was a member of the Wisconsin Legislature from 2002 through 2018. She ran for U.S. Senate last year and lost to Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

National Taxpayers Union president Pete Sepp says they expect Vukmir will increase the group's influence in statehouses across the country advocating for "pro-taxpayer policy."

Before running for the state Legislature, Vukmir was a parent activist who lobbied the Legislature for education reform. While a state lawmaker, she served as a leader in the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.


Associated Press