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Gov't watchdogs upset over end to fundraising ban during budget debate


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Government watchdogs cried foul Friday, after learning that GOP Assembly leaders quietly ended a four-year-old ban on campaign fundraising while the state budget is being debated.

The Wisconsin State Journal was the first to report that the Assembly Organization Committee used paper ballots – outside of a public meeting – to vote 5-3 on the rule change with all Democrats voting no.

Lawmakers will still not be able to raise campaign cash in Dane County while the budget is being considered, unless members represent constituents in the county that surrounds Madison.

But Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said it was like Republicans wanted to attract less attention by having the low key paper ballot vote. McCabe said it was a vote Republicans could not have been proud of because, “They’re backing out of a policy of no shakedowns during the budget process.”

The complete fundraising ban during the budget process was adopted by Democrats when they ran the lower house in 2009 – and Republicans under then-Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald continued the ban two years ago.