If their own rules are followed, one of the Assembly Democrats' biggest fundraisers of the year is going to be void of Assembly Democrats.
The June 15 event is at the Wild Rock Golf Club at Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Contributors who want to play will pay $1,000 each, or $3,350 per foursome. Duffers who want to pay but not play can still get involved by sponsoring a hole for $750 or the entire event for $1,000. In addition to the outrageous fees - a.k.a. required campaign contributions - it's offering outrageous hole-in-one prizes to the well-heeled special interests and lobbyists who attend - $50,000 and a new Chevy Tahoe.
A notice about the event says its special guest will be Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan along with "other reps and guests."
Here's the problem. Last February the Assembly passed a rule banning its 99 Republican and Democratic members from holding fundraisers or even accepting or soliciting campaign contributions "during the period beginning on the day the biennial budget bill is introduced and ending on the date the biennial budget bill is presented to the Governor."
Sheridan said this week the Assembly plans to take up the budget June 10 and send it to the Senate shortly thereafter. However, Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker said the Senate doesn't plan to take up the budget until the third week in June. On top of that if the Senate changes the Assembly's version of the budget in any way, a committee of legislators from both houses will meet to hammer out a compromise budget that must be approved without changes by both houses before it is sent to the governor.
The golf fundraiser is sponsored by the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee, which is one of four legislative campaign committees controlled by Democratic and Republican Assembly and Senate leaders to soak special interests for campaign cash. These committees, which were exempt from the fundraising ban, raise money to help their respective caucus members get elected.
But the rule commendably spearheaded by majority Democrats clearly prohibits Assembly members from raising money for their own campaigns as well as soliciting cash for other committees that could provide them with election year resources.