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Abele Plans Veto of County Board's Citizens United Referendum

County Executive Chris Abele said the cost of adding the question to the ballot — at least $20,000 — is not worth an advisory referendum with no action behind it.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele plans to veto the county board's request for an advisory referendum regarding a well-known U.S. Supreme Court decision, citing the cost of adding it to the ballot.

The referendum refers to an oft-criticized 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, in which the court ruled that the First Amendment protected political spending by corporations and unions in elections. On Thursday, the board voted 14-4 in favor of an advisory referendum that would ask Milwaukee County residents whether they support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would essentially override the Supreme Court decision.

Abele spokesman Brendan Conway said the county executive agrees with the board's position on Citizens United, but the issue is that it would cost between $20,000 and $25,000 to add the question to the ballot.

"He is as against the Citizens United ruling as anybody," Conway said. But he doesn't support spending taxpayer money on an advisory referendum that would have zero impact, Conway said.

Whether the board will override the veto remains to be seen. The measure passed on a 14-4 vote; it takes two-thirds of the board (12 votes) to override.

A group of county supervisors released a statement Friday encouraging Abele to sign the resolution. They said it mirrors a referendum approved by West Allis voters earlier this year, and comes after six states have called on Congress to advance a Constitutional amendment.

"Thursday's 14-4 vote on the County Board puts us on record against allowing anonymous, unlimited monies to be spent in state and local elections," according to a news release.

"We have to do what’s right to protect our rights, because if money is speech, then there is no free speech."

Bob McBride July 30, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Eugene, I honestly don't care. I don't, like you, assume my fellow countrymen are idiots who are swayed by attack ads. I know some of your ilk do believe that. That's fine. I'm not going to waste my time discussing something that I don't care about. Nor am I going to bemoan a practical decision to not spend money on something that's pointless. As I said, there are better threads than this one to discuss the more grandiose aspects of the Citizen United ruling and any of the myriad of other things you folks seem to equate with the corporatization of America, or whatever you want to call it. I'd suggest you look to the articles authored by Lyle Ruble (although he may be a bit too practical for your liking). A perfect fit for you would be anything by Nick Poulus. I'm sure he'd love nothing better than the wile away the hours with you fretting over Paul Ryan and plutocratic oligarchs and Ayn Rand and all sorts of other belly button lint that gets us nowhere. Have at it. I have no interest.
Keith Schmitz July 30, 2012 at 05:19 PM
To it might seem that I am off topic, but you don't seem to recognize the topic, that being protecting American democracy by going after this perversion. Did you ever occur to you that by supporting my position, I am going against Chris' stance on this issue? So what exactly do you want me to do Bob? Smack him in the mouth? For someone who is dictating who we should like or dislike, for a towering intellectual cynic like you, I have never read you criticizing a Republican once, ever. I thought cynics were supposed to be against everybody against everybody ala HL Mencken. Maybe we should call you a semi-cynic. And for those with unsubtle minds, our county executive is not a liberal, just because he is to the left his flaming hack right winger hack predecessor. Of course your mind set makes everyone a liberal. The other big difference is Chris will not have to worry about what matches with orange.
David Tatarowicz July 30, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I think Abele got it right. Waste of money. It does remind me however that in 2008 there was a county referendum that a majority of Milwaukee County voters approved --- which was for a 1% sales tax increase to be used for transportation, parks, etc .......... Walker ignored the will of the people and killed it. At least that referendum referred to something the county has authority over --- this one that Abele killed would mean less than nothing, no matter which way it went.
Bob McBride July 30, 2012 at 05:49 PM
That's not the topic, Keith. The topic is Abele vetoing a pointless referendum. If you could get your head out of the partisan fog you live in long enough to look at something for what it is, not what you think it is, you'd see that. As for me not criticizing Republicans here, again, just because you haven't seen it, doesn't mean it hasn't happened. Hovde, Sensenbrenner and Cain come to mind as ones I recall criticizing here. May have been others, maybe not. Abele is a liberal. Just because he isn't the hate-filled, fire-breathing variety you favor, doesn't make him any less of one. Not all liberals are as insanely preoccupied with partisan politics as you are. Not all conservatives are as common-sense-focused as I am. I understand balance, you don't. That's not cynicism, intellectual or otherwise. That's just a fact.
Michael Wallace July 31, 2012 at 01:42 PM
It is not just about whether or not the American people can distinguish between truthful and false ads. It is about Politicians reliance on a small group of corporations and individuals to get into office. If you paid for me to get a job, and in that job I would have influence over something that you wanted, more than likely I am going to help you get what you want. So lets say a bill comes up for vote, it isn't something popular in the media so most people don't hear about it but its probably something my constituents would be against, however it would really help your profit for me to vote yes on this bill, which was am I going to vote? Am I going to vote for what is in the best interests of my constituents? Or am I going to vote for the best interests of the you, the person who got me to where I am, and if I vote against you, I will lose my funding and without funding I cannot get elected so I lose my job. Now, does that show at all to you an appearance of corruption? The Government is no long voting for the people, they are voting for their funders. The ones who really put them there. We have one vote, but we don't get to choose who is going to be in the election, the ones with money do by backing a candidate early and getting name recognition.

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