I have been a very vocal advocate for campaign finance reform. You can find several posts here on BB…but the basic tenets are: only eligible voters can contribute to campaigns…and only to campaigns that they are eligible to vote in. A few corollaries, but that’s about it.

But then there’s this…Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele! He has always supported a number of candidates over the years but lately he has gotten more brazen about it including starting up an independent fund: Leadership MKE.

Now this is neither a recommendation nor a criticism of the candidates he is supporting. This is simply a critique of campaign financing and Exec. Abele’s actions are a perfect example of what I’d like to see end. From Daniel Bice @ JSOnline.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is sticking his nose — and his wallet — into the race for an open seat on the Milwaukee Common Council. 


Records show that Abele’s independent expenditure fund, Leadership MKE, has spent more than $32,000 helping Patricia Torres Najera in the seven-way contest. 

That is more than twice the combined amount spent by all seven candidates in the race, which has its primary on Tuesday. The top two finishers square off in the Aug. 13 general election.

emphasis mine

to my first tenet: Leadership MKE should not be able to contribute to a candidate because it is not an eligible voter.

to my second tenet: Chris Abele is an eligible voter, but I don’t believe he lives in the 13th Aldermanic District where Ms. Najera is running…so here too he should not be contributing to the candidate.

Since creating Leadership MKE last year, Abele has spent more than $1.3 million in support of numerous candidates in local races for mayor, school board and sheriff. Earlier this year, he created Leadership WI and dropped nearly $50,000 to help Satya Rhodes-Conway in her successful bid for Madison mayor. 

Again, Leadership MKE lacks eligible voter status and shouldn’t be able to contribute to any campaign.

Chris Abele, as an eligible voter and a resident of the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, should be able to contribute for Milwaukee Mayor, the School Board Candidate for his district plus the city wide seat, and Milwaukee County Sheriff. He should have no standing contributing to candidates for Mayor of Madison or any other city outside of Milwaukee.

So there we have, basically some local current examples that illustrate my suggestions around campaign finance reform.

One Response to Abele Actions Scream Out For Campaign Finance Reform.

  1. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    In fairness, I think Abele’s org is doing “independent expenditures” that arent formal campaign contributions. But the larger point about Abele throwing his money around to manipulate Milwaukee politics is very sketchy.

    And it’s too bad, because Abele seems to be growing into the County exec job. But there are still oligarchical tendencies with the guy.

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