ON-Lion Letter
In June, the Madison Common Council rejected, 11-9, a proposal by Mayor Paul R. Soglin to require city contractors to disclose some political donations.  The proposal would have required city contractors receiving contracts worth more than $25,000 to disclose all contributions -- not only by the contractor, but by any person having at least a 10% ownership interest in the contractor -- to all 501(c)(4) social-welfare organizations and 527 political action committees.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) in Milwaukee had previously warned the Council and Soglin that the proposal was unconstitutional.  WILL's opposition was widely reported, and it is happy that the Council got the message.

Disclosure requirements are subject to exacting scrutiny under the First Amendment and can only be upheld if they are substantially related to a sufficiently important government interest.  Because the proposal would not -- by its own terms -- be used for any purpose relating to contracting by the city, and was not related in any way to elections or campaigns, it would serve no legitimate government purpose.  The proposal's supporters even stated publicly that they hoped disclosure would stifle contributions to groups with which they disagree, a wholly inappropriate government purpose.

Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation substantially supports WILL.
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