As Wisconsin is being rocked by a scandal over illegal gifts from lobbyists, Isthmus news editor Bill Lueders reports that organized special interests are legally pouring unprecedented amounts of cash into state political campaigns. The article, "The Real Scandal," notes that a growing number of state lawmakers are hosting fundraisers in Madison when bills of interest to lobbyists are being voted on. "It's a shakedown and everybody knows it," says Bill Hauda, head of Common Cause in Wisconsin. Because lobbyists are generally barred from direct giving, they use an array of loopholes, like checks from PACs, conduits and their spouses. "It's not the technical violations of the law that are going to influence policy," observes state Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison). "It's the tremendous legal flow of special-interest money into the political process." The Milwaukee Press Club honors the article as the state's best background, analytical or interpretive story in its 1989 Excellence in Journalism Awards.