Government watchdog group loses half its funding

Chicago-based foundation cuts $232.5K from Wis. group

MADISON, Wis. - A high-profile government watchdog group that maintains a database of all political donations made in Wisconsin has lost half of its funding and faces an uncertain future.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign alerted its supporters on Tuesday that the Joyce Foundation decided to no longer give the group money. Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe said $232,500 of the group's $430,000 annual budget came from the Joyce Foundation.

"We just think that it's critically important to keep being able to follow the money, to allow the people of Wisconsin to see how these political transactions are being made. It's an utterly unique service," McCabe said.

McCabe said the Joyce Foundation gave no explanation for the decision to stop funding the group after it had for 16 years. A spokesman for the Chicago-based philanthropic group did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

McCabe said the Democracy Campaign does not have an immediate cash-flow problem, but it may have to look at making cuts in coming months.

McCabe said he's already trying to find alternative money sources and said the group has a few months to find new money or the service could go away.

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