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Mary Bottari
Mary Bottari is the investigations editor for The Progressive and the Center for Media and Democracy based in Madison, Wisconsin. Her favorite Wisconsin cheese is Pleasant Ridge Reserve.

Entries by Mary Bottari

Full Koch Press for ALEC Right-to-Work Bill in Wisconsin

(118) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 11:23 AM

As the Wisconsin legislature gets ready to ram through a union-busting bill that will significantly impact the economy of the entire state, the newest member of Wisconsin's Senate asked perhaps the most pertinent question of her Republican colleagues: "What beating hearts are for this bill?"

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Scott Walker Pushes ALEC 'Right to Work' Bill, Divide and Conquer Comes Full Circle

(220) Comments | Posted February 22, 2015 | 4:29 PM

Just weeks ago, the Washington Post described Scott Walker as the first "It" candidate of the 2016 presidential races, but after stumbling over "truth," evolution, and whether or not the President is a Christian or loves America, Walker is getting ready to change the topic.

On Friday, Wisconsin GOP...

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Governor Scott Walker Tripped Up by the Truth

(502) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 1:52 PM

By Mary Bottari and Jonas Persson

MADISON -- This week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker got tripped up by the truth.

First Walker announced he was going to slash $300 million from the University of Wisconsin budget, devastating cuts that will fall hardest on students;

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Money Trail Revealed: Did Eric O'Keefe Pay James O'Keefe for Hatchet Job on Wisconsin GOP Senate President?

(19) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 9:38 AM

2015-01-28-ericokeefe.jpgIn 2014, as March drew to an end but the cold Wisconsin winter refused to let go, State Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) stopped at his favorite after-work hangout to relax after a long session in the Capitol. After a few...

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Koch-Tied Group Pushes New Union-Busting Bill in Wisconsin

(234) Comments | Posted December 3, 2014 | 2:53 PM

Co-authored by Brendan Fischer

Just weeks after Wisconsin's controversial Governor Scott Walker was elected to a second term, a group with ties to the billionaire Koch brothers has launched a new effort to destroy unions.


In 2011, Wisconsin passed Act 10, a complex...

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President Walker? 5 Things You Should Know About Scott (Calvin) Walker

(26) Comments | Posted November 30, 2014 | 1:17 PM

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is walking and talking a lot like he is running for President of the United States. The Wisconsin governor who famously told his cabinet that he was inspired by Ronald Reagan in his effort to kill Wisconsin unions is throwing his hat into the ring, and...

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Richmond Voters Beat Chevron's Corporate Coup d' Etat

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 2:07 PM

Coauthored by Jonas Persson

In Richmond, California, three seats on the City Council were up for election; the city also stood to elect a new mayor. Nothing unusual in this, perhaps, was it not for Chevron's $3.1 million campaign to highjack the elections, which was first revealed by...

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Kids as Crash Test Dummies: Brownback Outsources Child Support Services to Donor

(111) Comments | Posted October 18, 2014 | 11:07 AM

Coauthored by Jonas Persson

When he was elected in 2010, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback began to slash core government services and privatize the rest. His austerity politics resulted in the state being downgraded by S&P in August 2014, and his privatization initiatives have also drawn criticism, causing one leading Republican...

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Inmates Dying After Governor Rick Scott Outsources Prison Health Care

(152) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 11:51 AM

Co-authored by Jonas Persson

Suffering from lung cancer? Here's a Tylenol and some warm compresses. Are your intestines escaping? Not to worry; here's some K-Y Jelly to shove them back in.

Between 2008 and 2013, Corizon Health -- the country's largest prison health care provider -- was sued 660...

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Who Is Behind the National Right to Work Committee and Its Anti-Union Crusade?

(64) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 11:18 AM

- by Jay Riestenberg and Mary Bottari

As the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 session comes to a close, one of the major cases left for a decision is Harris vs. Quinn, which could affect millions of public sector workers in the United States.

The case originates...

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The National Restaurant Association Spends Big to Keep Wages Low

(47) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 1:07 PM

-- Co-authored by Brendan Fischer

A majority of the Senate recently voted to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour recently, yet the bill failed to clear the 60-vote hurdle necessary for passage -- thanks in no small part to the political power of the National Restaurant Association, the...

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Five Things You Need to Know About Scott Walker and the John Doe Emails

(67) Comments | Posted February 23, 2014 | 8:04 PM

I spent the day reading Kelly Rindfleisch's emails. They were released as part of the final court proceedings regarding the first "John Doe," closed-door, criminal investigation of Scott Walker's staff during his time as Milwaukee County Executive and running for governor in 2010.

One of the first things I...

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NSA Spying Scandal Roils US-EU Trade Negotiations

(25) Comments | Posted November 10, 2013 | 5:26 PM

Another day, another outraged world leader. The NSA was caught listening in on Angela Merkel's cell phone much in the way the crooks at Murdoch's News of the World (now standing trial in a British courtroom) hacked into the phones of celebrities, politicians and teenage crime victims.

But there is...

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Dear Vets, Forget the Monuments, They're Gunning for Your Social Security

(35) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 6:00 PM

Apparently the only thing both Democrats and Republicans can agree on in Washington, D.C., is that they can't deal with bad press involving Honor Flight vets.

This led to absurd images of Republicans -- who had shut down the federal government, including all monuments and museums -- rushing to "aid"...

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From Junk Bonds to Junk Schools: Cyber Schools Fleece Taxpayers for Phantom Students and Failing Grades

(19) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 11:39 AM


The data is in and K12 Inc.'s brand of full-time public "cyber school" is garbage. Not surprising for an educational model kicked off with a $10 million investment from junk-bond king Michael Milken.

Milken was the Wall Street financier who...

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Outsourcing America: Sodexo Siphons Cash From Kids and Soldiers while Dishing Up Subprime Food

(13) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 4:51 PM

By Rebekah Wilce and Mary Bottari

Since the 2008 financial crisis, cash strapped states have accelerated the outsourcing of America in hopes of delivering the same services more cheaply. "Desperate government is our best customer," said one executive specializing in infrastructure purchases.

But in many instances,...

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Failing Up to the Fed, A Reporters' Guide to the Paper Trail Surrounding Larry Summers

(17) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 7:42 PM

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein reports that Larry Summers is the "overwhelming favorite" of the Obama team for the job as Federal Reserve chairman. To convince the American public that one of the chief architects of the 2008 financial crisis should be the chief regulator of the U.S. financial system,...

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Ghost in the Machine: Pete Peterson Haunts College Campuses

(39) Comments | Posted May 12, 2013 | 2:37 PM

An odd couple made an appearance on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus recently: Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson and Madison's progressive Congressman Mark Pocan. The two were invited to participate in a conversation about the national debt hosted by a local student organization and a bevy of national groups, including  the Comeback America Initiative, the Concord...

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Efforts to Deliver 'Kill Shot' to Paid Sick Leave Tied to ALEC

(26) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 2:23 PM

By Mary Bottari and Brendan Fischer

In a victory for working families, New York is poised to become the largest U.S. city to require businesses offer paid days to workers. Community activists and labor leaders struck a deal with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to allow a vote on a...

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'Won't Back Down' Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal

(207) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 7:29 PM

Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation's education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film Won't Back Down -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called "parent trigger" laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools....

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