In this update:
1. Smear groups spent record sums in state legislative elections
2. The biggest scandal of all
3. The principles of corruption
4. Journalism's uncertain future
5. New ideas for revitalizing democracy

Special interest groups did most of the talking in a substantial number of key state legislative contests and outside spending even reached seven figures in one state Assembly race, a report issued today by the Democracy Campaign shows.

The figures represent a conservative estimate of the cost of special interest campaigning in Senate and Assembly elections. The Democracy Campaign accounted for known television, radio and direct mail advertising, and did not attempt to estimate the groups' personnel or overhead expenses. Still, the interest group spending that could be accounted for surpasses anything seen before in elections for the Wisconsin Legislature.

The corruption scandal in Illinois that resulted in the arrest of Governor Rod Blagojevich and the start of impeachment proceedings is a tough act to top. But there is an even bigger political scandal, and it touches Wisconsin. That's the subject of our latest Big Money Blog.

The underlying principles of political corruption is the topic covered by a recent posting on University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato's web site, Crystal Ball. It's worth a look.

The stock market's not the only thing that's been crashing. The journalism profession is in crisis too, for many of the same reasons the economy as a whole is tanking. Check out the Free Press Blog for more.

A special section of the latest issue of The American Prospect focuses on new ways to reinvigorate our democracy. Among the articles is one authored by Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe and Illinois Campaign for Political Reform director Cynthia Canary about an interstate initiative that spawned the Midwest Democracy Network.

Spread the word by sending this message to people you know. To support the Democracy Campaign's work, go here.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
210 North Bassett Street, Suite 215
Madison, WI 53703