With campaign finance reform legislation looming on the horizon on the state level, gubernatorial candidates have different views as to its necessity and effect on their campaigns.
U.S. Rep. Tom Barrett, D-Milwaukee, whose campaign coffers for his run on the governor's seat sits at $1.2 million, is an outright supporter of the campaign finance reform bill, SB 104, currently before the state Senate.
\It's a bill that would have public financing for the races and put a cap on it to reduce the amount,"" Barrett said.
Fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, said she believes that the issue of campaign accountability is an important component of any campaign finance reform legislation, according to Tom Russell, her campaign manager.
According to a statement released Wednesday, Falk has raised $440,00 since announcing her candidacy.
""She strongly supports campaign finance reform and would really like to see something significant pass and would obviously be a champion for that as governor,"" said Russell. ""I think everybody wants to see accountability with the system. If there is a finger to point, they want to know where to be able to point it.""
On the other side of the issue, Libertarian candidate Ed Thompson, whose campaign does not accept money from political action committees, does not support the campaign finance reform legislation in its current form.
""I really am not for the campaign finance reform bill that they have, although it would probably benefit me more that anybody,"" Thompson said. ""I believe its the wrong thing for the taxpayer to have to fund anybody's campaign.""
Candidates expressed little concern over adapting to any requirements set forth be the statute if it is passed into law in time to effect fund-raising for the upcoming gubernatorial race.
Barrett said that should a law be enacted, his campaign will, ""comply with it 100 percent.""
Gov. Scott McCallum's said in a statement that of all the contributions made to his campaign between 1995 and 2001, only 5.9 percent came from political action committees and 79 percent of the donations were less than $100. PAC contributions would be strongly restricted under SB 104.
""Team McCallum is the only true grassroots campaign,"" said Brian Christianson, a consultant to the McCallum campaign, in the statement.
Between July 1 and Dec. 31, McCallum raised $906,534 for the upcoming race, to bring his total up to $2.95 million.
Calls to McCallum, state Sen. Gary George, D-Milwaukee, and state Attorney General James Doyle were not returned as of press time.