Unlawful political contributions. 11.1204(1)(1)
Subject to sub. (2)
, no person may, directly or indirectly, make any contribution other than from funds or property belonging to the person. No person may, directly or indirectly, give funds or property to another person for the purpose of making a contribution in other than the first person's name.
A conduit releasing a contribution of money in the manner prescribed in s. 11.0704
does not violate sub. (1)
No person may intentionally receive or accept any contribution made in violation of this chapter.
History: 2015 a. 117
The unit of prosecution under s. 11.24 (1), 1977 stats., is every transfer of funds to another person accompanied by the false listing of any single contributor. An individual illegally furnishing funds from a corporate account may be convicted under s. 11.24 (1), 1977 stats. State v. Dreske, 88 Wis. 2d 60
, 276 N.W.2d 324
(Ct. App. 1979).
Use of government materials by candidates. 11.1205(1)(a)
Except as provided in sub. (2)
, no person elected to state or local office who becomes a candidate for national, state, or local office may use public funds for the cost of materials or distribution for 50 or more pieces of substantially identical material distributed after:
In the case of a candidate who is nominated by nomination papers, the first day authorized by law for circulation of nomination papers as a candidate.
In the case of a candidate who is nominated at a primary election by write-in votes, the day the board of canvassers issues its determination that the person is nominated.
In the case of a candidate who is nominated at a caucus, the date of the caucus.
In the case of any other candidate who is nominated solely by filing a declaration of candidacy, the first day of the month preceding the month which includes the last day for filing the declaration.
This subsection applies until after the date of the election or after the date of the primary election if the person appears as a candidate on a primary election ballot and is not nominated at the primary election.
This section does not apply to use of public funds for the costs of the following:
Actions taken by a state or local government administrative officer pursuant to a specific law, ordinance or resolution which authorizes or directs the actions to be taken.
Communications between members of the legislature regarding the legislative or deliberative process while the legislature is in session.
Communications not exceeding 500 pieces by members of the legislature relating solely to the subject matter of a special session or extraordinary session, made during the period between the date that the session is called or scheduled and 14 days after adjournment of the session.
History: 2015 a. 117
Section 11.33, 1979 stats., applies to persons elected to state office who are seeking reelection or election to a different office and to the use of public funds for political purposes. 69 Atty. Gen. 259.
Travel by public officers. 11.1206(1)(1)
No person may use any vehicle or aircraft owned by the state or by any local governmental unit for any trip which is exclusively for the purposes of campaigning to support or oppose any candidate for national, state, or local office, unless use of the vehicle or aircraft is required for purposes of security protection provided by the state or local governmental unit.
No person may use any vehicle or aircraft owned by the state or by any local governmental unit for purposes that include campaigning to support or oppose any candidate for national, state, or local office, unless the person pays to the state or local governmental unit a fee which is comparable to the commercial market rate for the use of a similar vehicle or aircraft and for any services provided by the state or local governmental unit to operate the vehicle or aircraft. If a trip is made in part for a public purpose and in part for the purpose of campaigning, the person shall pay for the portion of the trip attributable to campaigning, but in no case less than 50 percent of the cost of the trip. The portion of the trip attributable to campaigning shall be determined by dividing the number of appearances made for campaign purposes by the total number of appearances. Fees payable to the state shall be prescribed by the secretary of administration and shall be deposited in the account under s. 20.855 (6) (h)
. Fees payable to a local governmental unit shall be prescribed by the governing body of the governmental unit.
History: 2015 a. 117
Political solicitation involving public officials and employees restricted. 11.1207(1)(a)
Except as provided in par. (b)
, no person may solicit or receive from any state officer or employee or from any officer or employee of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority any contribution during established hours of employment or while the officer or employee is engaged in his or her official duties.
does not apply to communications about a referendum.
No person may solicit or receive from any officer or employee of a political subdivision of this state any contribution during established hours of employment or while the officer or employee is engaged in his or her official duties.
Every person who has charge or control in a building, office, or room occupied for any purpose by this state, by any political subdivision thereof, or by the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority shall prohibit the entry of any person into that building, office, or room for the purpose of making or receiving a contribution.
No person may enter or remain in any building, office, or room occupied for any purpose by the state, by any political subdivision thereof or by the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority or send or direct a letter or other notice thereto for the purpose of requesting or collecting a contribution.
This section does not apply to a response by a legal custodian or subordinate of the custodian to a request to locate, reproduce, or inspect a record under s. 19.35
if the request is processed in the same manner as the custodian or subordinate responds to other requests to locate, reproduce, or inspect a record under s. 19.35
History: 2015 a. 117
Unlawful political disbursements and obligations. 11.1208(1)(1)
No person may intentionally receive or accept anything of value, or any promise or pledge thereof, constituting a disbursement made or obligation incurred contrary to law.
Except as provided in pars. (b)
, a committee may not make a disbursement or incur an obligation for the committee's or an individual's strictly personal use.
A committee may accept contributions and make disbursements from a campaign depository account for any of the following:
For the purpose of making disbursements in connection with a campaign for national office.
For payment of civil penalties incurred by the committee under this chapter but not under any other chapter.
For the purpose of making a donation to a charitable organization or the common school fund.
For payment of the expenses of nonpartisan campaigns to increase voter registration or participation.
A candidate committee may accept contributions and make disbursements from a campaign depository account for payment of inaugural expenses of an individual who is elected to state or local office. Inaugural expenses paid from contributions made to the campaign depository account are reportable under s. 11.0204 (1)
as disbursements and are subject to the limits under s. 11.1101
No contributions to or disbursements from a committee's depository account may be invested for the purpose of producing income unless the investment is in direct obligations of the United States and of agencies and corporations wholly owned by the United States, commercial paper maturing within one year from the date of investment, preferred shares of a corporation, or securities of an investment company registered under the federal investment company act of 1940 (15 USC 80a
) and registered for public offer and sale in this state of the type commonly referred to as a “money market fund".
History: 2015 a. 117
Defense fund authorized. 11.1301(1)(1)
Any candidate or public official who is being investigated for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal violation of this chapter or ch. 12
, or whose agent is so investigated, charged, or convicted, may establish a defense fund for disbursements supporting or defending the candidate, official, or agent, or any dependent of the candidate, official, or agent, while that person is being investigated for, or while the person is charged with or convicted of a criminal violation of this chapter or ch. 12
No person may use a contribution received from a contributor to a candidate committee fund for a purpose for which a defense fund is authorized under sub. (1)
unless the person obtains the contributor's authorization. Notwithstanding s. 11.1202 (3)
, any contributor may authorize the transfer of all or part of a contribution from a campaign fund to a defense fund.
History: 2015 a. 117
Donations to charitable organizations or school fund.
Any committee may make a donation to a charitable organization or the common school fund from the committee's depository account. No later than 5 days after a committee makes a donation to a charitable organization or the common school fund from the committee's depository account, the committee shall notify the committee's filing officer in writing of the name of the donee and the date of the donation, and shall provide an explanation for not retaining the amount donated in the committee's depository account.
History: 2015 a. 117
; 2021 a. 265
Attribution of political contributions, disbursements and communications. 11.1303(1)(1)
No disbursement may be made anonymously and no contribution or disbursement may be made in a fictitious name or by one person or organization in the name of another.
Every printed advertisement, billboard, handbill, sample ballot, television or radio advertisement, or other communication containing express advocacy or supporting or opposing a referendum which is paid for by any contribution or disbursement shall clearly identify its source.
Effective date note
Par. (a) is shown as amended eff. 1-3-23 by 2021 Wis. Act 265
. Prior to 1-3-23 it reads:
Effective date text
(a) Every printed advertisement, billboard, handbill, sample ballot, television or radio advertisement, or other communication containing express advocacy which is paid for by any contribution or disbursement shall clearly identify its source.
Every communication described under par. (a)
the cost of which is paid for or reimbursed by a committee, or for which a committee assumes responsibility, whether by accepting a contribution or making a disbursement, shall identify its source by the words “Paid for by" followed by the name of the committee making the payment or reimbursement or assuming responsibility for the communication and may include the name of the treasurer or other authorized agent of the committee.
Every communication for express advocacy the cost of which exceeds $2,500 and is paid for or reimbursed by any person, other than a committee, shall identify its source by the words “Paid for by" followed by the name of the person.
Communications described in pars. (a)
and made by a candidate committee may identify the name of the candidate committee except that no abbreviation may be used to identify the committee.
Each printed advertisement, billboard, handbill, paid television or radio advertisement, or other communication made for the purpose of influencing the recall from or retention in office of an individual holding a state or local office shall clearly identify its source in the manner prescribed in pars. (b)
This subsection does not apply to communications containing express advocacy printed on small items on which the information required by this subsection cannot be conveniently printed, including text messages, social media communications, and certain small advertisements on mobile phones. The commission may, by rule, specify small items or other communications to which this subsection shall not apply.
The attributions required by this subsection in written communications shall be readable, legible, and readily accessible.
Whenever any person receives payment from another person, in cash or in-kind, for the direct or indirect cost of conducting a poll concerning support or opposition to a candidate, political party, or referendum, the person conducting the poll shall, upon request of any person who is polled, disclose the name and address of the person making payment for the poll and, in the case of a committee, the name of the treasurer of the committee making payment.
Duties of the ethics commission.
The commission shall:
Prescribe forms for making the reports, statements, and notices required by this chapter. The commission shall make the forms available free of charge on the commission's Internet site and shall distribute or arrange for the distribution of all forms for use by other filing officers.
Upon request, transmit a form described under sub. (1)
, free of charge, by facsimile or by 1st class mail.
Prepare and publish for the use of persons required to file reports and statements under this chapter a manual setting forth simply and concisely recommended uniform methods of bookkeeping and reporting.
Prepare, publish, and revise as necessary a manual simply and concisely describing the filing and registration requirements established in this chapter in detail, as well as other major provisions of this chapter and ch. 12
Develop a filing, coding, and cross-indexing system consonant with the purposes of this chapter.
Assign an identification number to each committee for whom the commission acts as a filing officer under s. 11.0102 (1)
and to each conduit.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, require each committee for whom the commission serves as filing officer under s. 11.0102 (1)
to file each campaign finance report that is required to be filed under this chapter in an electronic format. The commission shall permit an authorized individual to provide at the time of filing an electronic signature, as defined in s. 137.11 (8)
, that is subject to a security procedure, as defined in s. 137.11 (13)
. A committee that files a report under this subsection in an electronic format may file with the commission that portion of the report signed by an authorized individual rather than submit the electronic signature of that individual. The commission shall provide complete instructions to any committee that files a report under this subsection.
Permit a committee that accepts contributions in a total amount or value of $1,000 or less during a campaign period to opt out of the requirement to file a campaign finance report in an electronic format as specified in par. (a)
. In this paragraph, the campaign period of a candidate committee begins and ends as provided under s. 11.1103
, and the campaign period of any other committee begins on January 1 of each odd-numbered year and ends on December 31 of the following year.
Compile and maintain on an electronic system a current list of all reports and statements received by or required of and pertaining to each committee registered under this chapter.
Maintain a duplicate record of any statement submitted by a political action committee under s. 11.0505
or by an independent expenditure committee under s. 11.0605
or by a person under subch. X
together with the record of each candidate to whom it relates.
Determine whether each report or statement required to be filed under this chapter has been filed in the form and by the time prescribed by law, and whether it conforms on its face to the requirements of this chapter.
Immediately send to any committee or conduit which is delinquent in filing, or which has filed otherwise than in the proper form, a notice that the committee or conduit has failed to comply with this chapter. Whenever a candidate committee has appointed an individual other than the candidate as campaign treasurer, the commission shall send the notice to both the candidate and the treasurer of the candidate committee.
Receive and maintain in an orderly manner all reports and statements required to be filed with the state under the federal election campaign act. The commission shall:
Preserve such reports and statements for a period of 6 years from date of receipt.
Compile and maintain a current list of all reports and statements pertaining to each candidate who is required to file a report or statement under the federal election campaign act.