Spring 2014 Election

Money-in-politics measure passes in Edgerton, Delavan, Elkhorn

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Advisory referendums that might eventually have a national impact passed by strong margins Tuesday in Delavan, Edgerton and Elkhorn.

The referendums were part of a national movement called Move to Amend, which hopes to overturn the United States Supreme Court's decision in a case referred to as Citizens United.

In Citizens United, the court ruled that First Amendment rights extend to corporations, labor unions and nonprofit organizations.

The ruling made it easier for those groups to engage in unlimited “independent expenditures” during election season, opening a flood of money into campaigns.

An independent expenditure is spending on behalf of a candidate without his or her knowledge.

Elkhorn Move to Amend activist Ellen Holly said people had warned her that the referendum could not pass in strongly Republican Walworth County.

But people grasped that the question was nonpartisan, Holly said.

Holly said the movement is trying to change the rules so people know who is spending money to air all those election campaign ads.

“Oh, we hate those commercials,” people told Holly when she explained the issue to them, she said.

The movement will continue to target various municipalities because Wisconsin does not allow a statewide referendum of this sort, Holly said.

Holly said plans are being made to target more Walworth County municipalities, and she hopes that a strong showing in the 1st Congressional District eventually will send a strong message to Rep. Paul Ryan.

The question passed by 69 percent in Elkhorn, 87 percent in Edgerton and 75 percent in Delavan.

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