MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says fundraising in the state's recall elections proves campaign finance laws are out of date.
The group found that a little more than half the money raised by special interest groups in the recall races came from secret sources.
"Our disclosure laws are totally obsolete, leaving people in the dark when it comes to where all this money is coming from that's spent on this campaign advertising," says Mike McCabe, executive director at WDC.
He says special interest groups spent more than $75 million to influence voters in the 2011 and 2012 recall elections.
He says 55 percent came from undisclosed sources, 44 percent of the donors were very difficult to track down, leaving only one percent from "fully disclosed donors."
"By their own number about half are disclosed. They just have this extreme level of disclosure for one percent that I don't think aligns with what anyone thinks disclosure means," says Jeff Waksman, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Dane County.
He says "anonymous speech" is crucial when it comes to the average person donating to a third-party political group.
"Let's not have intimidation. If we knew nobody would ever be intimidated, I think you can make a better argument for disclosure laws. I think the most important thing is everybody be allowed to speak. After that, we can worry about the details," Waksman says.
But McCabe describes it as a bipartisan problem where both sides of the aisle have resisted reforming fundraising disclosure laws.
He says some political groups get around disclosure because their negative ads focus on issues without explicitly saying who to vote for.
"It is hard to evaluate what you think about those messages if you don't really know who's doing the talking," McCabe says.
Click here to view complete findings from Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
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