A recent New York Times editorial
highlighted the fact that Connecticut is the latest state to put in place sweeping campaign finance reforms featuring full public financing of state elections. This is the first year the state that became known as "Corrupticut" is operating under the new system and, as the Times
pointed out, early signs are very encouraging.
Connecticut's reform was modeled after the highly successful systems in Arizona and Maine. Maine has been publicly financing its state elections since 2000 and electoral competition has spiked. More people are running for public office, including significantly more women, and state legislative races are now five times less likely to be uncontested.
Connecticut took action after corruption scandals resulted in a former governor, a state senator and two mayors going to prison. In stark contrast, Wisconsin has so far failed to act even after six powerful former legislators were paraded into courtrooms and, in several of the cases, eventually were put behind bars for criminal misconduct in public office.
Wisconsin used to lead the nation. We were known far and wide for public policy innovation, not to mention open and honest government. Now when it comes to cleaning up growing political corruption, even the likes of lowly "Corrupticut" are beating us to the punch.
This is a telling measure of just how miserably our state leaders have failed as stewards of our democracy.