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Lawmaker suggests raising voluntary check-off for campaign funding

The head of the state Assembly's Elections Committee says Wisconsin might want to raise its voluntary income tax check-off for public campaign financing.

Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, recently chaired a series of public hearings on how to clean up Wisconsin's elections.

And he said raising the check-off is one of the possible ideas. It's been at $1 for years - and Smith calls it totally inadequate.

He says Minnesota's check-off is $5, and the money is used on campaigns for the Gopher State's governor and Legislature.

Smith's panel held three public hearings on ways to reduce the influence of special interests in elections.

The committee heard lots of complaints about "issue ads," which attack a candidate's stands on issues without saying who put up the money for those ads. There's a bill pending in the Legislature to require that disclosure, but it's being held up because of a pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a related matter.