Yesterday, an Assembly committee shot down a proposed ban on campaign fundraising during the state budget process. Committee chair Sheryl Albers, a co-sponsor of the legislation, voted against her own bill.
Even stranger than that was the reason committee member Robin Vos, a Racine Republican, gave for opposing the bill. Vos urged his colleagues not to "give in" to the "perception" that state lawmakers are corrupt. One of his compatriots, Waukesha Republican Bill Kramer, eagerly seconded that notion.
We've passed through the looking glass here. Politicians engage in the smarmy business of shaking down special interests for campaign donations while they are making budget decisions that directly affect those interests, but are indignant when anyone suggests these transactions are crooked. And then when 2% of state residents tell a conservative pollster that they trust state legislators to do the right thing and 82% say lobbying groups determine what the state spends money on, they say it's imperative not to "give in" to these mere perceptions and they kill a decidedly modest reform plan that takes a baby step toward changing the unseemly game they are playing.
Is it something in the water at the Capitol?