Midwest Democracy Network http://www.midwestdemocracynetwork.org/index.php We are an alliance of political reformers and policy researchers committed to improving democratic institutions in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. en blee@midwestdemocracynetwork.org Copyright 2013 2013-08-01T23:36:10+00:00 New Midwest Democracy Network report: Redistricting and Representation in the Great Lakes Region http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/redistricting_and_representation_in_the_great_lakes_region/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/redistricting_and_representation_in_the_great_lakes_region/#When:19:35:26Z Midwest Democracy Network is proud to announce its new report, Redistricting and Representation in the Great Lakes Region Redistricting, News, Reports, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin 2013-04-29T19:35:26+00:00 Is McCutcheon v. FEC the next Citizens United? http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/is_mccutcheon_v._fec_the_next_citizens_united/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/is_mccutcheon_v._fec_the_next_citizens_united/#When:23:36:10Z The Supreme Court has decided to hear arguments in a case challenging aggregate campaign contribution limits. McCutcheon v. FEC has a chance to be the “next Citizens United,” as the Court could open the floodgates by striking down the current aggregate contribution limit ($123,000 to all candidates, parties and PACs) while allowing donors to give more than $3.5 million to Democratic and Republican candidates and committees, per the American Prospect.  Demos has written an amicus brief on behalf of several organizations including the Communications Workers of America, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, NAACP, US PIRG, and others, which outlines the troubling impact that striking down this limit would have. Brennan Center for Justice has also filed their own amicus in the case.  Read more:  American Prospect: Is McCutcheon v. FEC the Next Citizens United? Demos: AMICUS BRIEF TO THE SUPREME COURT IN MCCUTCHEON V. FEC Brennan Center: Supreme Court Must Uphold Aggregate Campaign Contribution Limits  Liz Kennedy of Demos is optimistic about the chances of campaign contribution limits being upheld in McCutcheon, much moreso than Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker. Kennedy writes that campaign contribution limits have been one of the last money in politics issues upheld by the Court (along with disclosure), and that aggregate limits are necessary to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption. Toobin on the other hand is more pessimistic, citing McCutcheon’s brief which says that in a post-Citizens United world, all of the laws that came before it are out-of-date. “Citizens United was not an aberration for this Court. It emerged from a definite view about the intersection of campaigns and free speech. The Justices in the majority are engaging in a long-term project to deregulate campaigns. A blessing on unlimited aggregate contributions is the next logical step for them to take—and they have five votes,” said Toobin.  Liz Kennedy / Demos: Another Citizens United—But this time we’ll win Jeffrey Toobin / The New Yorker: Another Citizens United—But worse Campaign Finance Reform, Judicial Independence, News, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin 2013-08-01T23:36:10+00:00 Voting Rights Updates from Beyond the Midwest http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/voting_rights_updates_from_beyond_the_midwest/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/voting_rights_updates_from_beyond_the_midwest/#When:23:30:52Z In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to strike down key parts of the preclearance requirement in Shelby v. Holder, at least one state previously covered has moved to make extreme voting law changes, while the Department of Justice has started to seek out other ways to protect voting rights.  Election Law & Voting Rights, News, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin 2013-07-26T23:30:52+00:00 Supreme Court ruling a victory for voters http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/supreme_court_ruling_a_victory_for_voters/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/supreme_court_ruling_a_victory_for_voters/#When:21:43:50Z This morning, the Supreme Court upheld major provisions of the National Voter Registration Act (frequently called “Motor Voter” or the NVRA), in a 7-2 opinion authored by Justice Antonin Scalia. The ruling said that states cannot ask for proof of citizenship when registering to vote in federal elections using Motor Voter forms. The NVRA requires that forms do ask whether the registrant is a citizen, but it does not ask for burdenful documentation.  Election Law & Voting Rights, News, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin 2013-06-17T21:43:50+00:00 Midwest states and immigration reform http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/midwest_states_and_immigration_reform/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/midwest_states_and_immigration_reform/#When:23:12:31Z The conversation on immigration reform is gaining momentum heading into the summer. Indiana and Michigan might not always be on the front lines of the national immigration discussion, but local advocates are pushing their leaders to support reform. Ethics in Government, News, Indiana, Michigan 2013-06-04T23:12:31+00:00 Wisconsin court says voter ID is constitutional in one case, but other decisions still pending http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/wisconsin_court_says_voter_id_is_constitutional_in_one_case_but_other_decis/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/wisconsin_court_says_voter_id_is_constitutional_in_one_case_but_other_decis/#When:22:05:49Z A Wisconsin appeals court has overturned a challenge to the state’s voter ID law brought by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, and says that the law is constitutional. Another court case is still pending before a different appeals court, so the law will not yet go into effect. The League of Women Voters will decide in the coming weeks whether to take their appeal to the State Supreme Court, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Election Law & Voting Rights, News, Wisconsin 2013-05-30T22:05:49+00:00 IRS debate raises new questions http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/irs_debate_raises_new_questions/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/irs_debate_raises_new_questions/#When:20:43:30Z The IRS has come under fire for the actions of two “rogue” employees who placed heightened scrutiny on nonprofit applications for groups more likely to be “conservative.” The controversy led to the resignation of the acting head of the IRS, and prompted an investigation.  Ethics in Government, News, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin 2013-05-20T20:43:30+00:00 CHANGE Illinois launches redistricting campaign http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/change_illinois_launches_redistricting_campaign/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/change_illinois_launches_redistricting_campaign/#When:20:48:07Z CHANGE Illinois! has embarked on a new campaign to change the way Illinois draws its political boundaries. The nonpartisan campaign, Change the Districts, will make its way across the state to discuss the issue of redistricting with community organizations and Illinois residents.  Redistricting, News, Illinois 2013-05-17T20:48:07+00:00 Redistricting and Representation in the Midwest http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/projects/article/redistricting_and_representation_in_the_midwest/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/projects/article/redistricting_and_representation_in_the_midwest/#When:06:30:33Z Midwest Democracy Network is proud to present its latest report: Redistricting and Representation in the Great Lakes Region.  2013-04-27T06:30:33+00:00 Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, dies at 69 http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/bob_edgar_president_of_common_cause_dies_at_69/ http://midwestdemocracy.dreamhosters.com/index.php/reports/article/bob_edgar_president_of_common_cause_dies_at_69/#When:17:00:02Z We at Midwest Democracy Network have had the chance to work with Common Cause state chapters, as well as their D.C. based national group for our entire history. Bob Edgar, Common Cause’s President, passed away this morning at the age of 69. Mr. Edgar was a stellar leader in the reform community, and he will be greatly missed. We send condolences out to his family, friends, and to colleagues at Common Cause. The full press release from Common Cause on his death is below.      Campaign Finance Reform, Election Law & Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Judicial Independence, Open Government, News, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin 2013-04-23T17:00:02+00:00