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.
Promptly compile and release for public inspection a list of all reports received from candidates for national office and from committees supporting or opposing such candidates which are required to be filed with the state under the federal election campaign act, as soon as possible after each deadline for receipt of such reports as provided by federal law.
Make the reports and statements filed under this chapter, including those reports and statements filed under sub. (11)
, available on the commission's Internet site for public inspection and copying, commencing as soon as practicable but not later than the end of the 2nd day following the day during which they are received. No information copied from such reports and statements may be sold or utilized by any person for any commercial purpose.
Upon the request of any person, permit copying of any report or statement described under sub. (12)
by hand or by duplicating machine at cost.
Include in its annual report under s. 19.47 (5)
compilations of any of the following in its discretion:
Total reported contributions, disbursements, and incurred obligations for all committees registered and reporting under this chapter during the biennium.
Total amounts contributed during the biennium, reported by contribution amounts as determined by the commission, to each type of committee registered and reporting under this chapter.
Total amounts expended during the biennium, reported by disbursement amounts as determined by the commission, by each type of committee registered and reporting under this chapter.
Total amounts expended for influencing nominations and elections whenever separate information is reported.
Aggregate amounts contributed by any contributors shown to have contributed more than $100.
Prepare and publish from time to time special reports comparing the various totals and categories of contributions and disbursements made with respect to preceding elections.
Make available a list of delinquents for public inspection.
Promulgate rules to administer this chapter.
History: 2015 a. 117
, 74 (1m)
Any person who violates this chapter may be required to forfeit not more than $500 for each violation.
In addition to the penalty under sub. (1)
, any person who is delinquent in filing a report required by this chapter may be required to forfeit not more than $50 or one percent of the annual salary of the office for which the candidate is being supported or opposed, whichever is greater, for each day of delinquency.
Notwithstanding sub. (1)
, any person who makes any contribution in violation of this chapter may be required to forfeit treble the amount of the contribution or portion of that contribution which is illegally contributed.
Notwithstanding sub. (1)
, any person who is subject to a requirement to pay a filing fee under s. 11.0102
and who fails to pay that fee within the time prescribed in that section shall forfeit $500 plus treble the amount of the fee payable by that person.
Except as otherwise provided in ss. 19.49 (2) (b) 13.
, actions under this section may be brought by the commission or, upon the commission's determination of probable cause, by the district attorney for the county where the defendant resides or, if the defendant is a nonresident, by the district attorney for the county where the violation is alleged to have occurred. For purposes of this subsection, a person other than an individual resides within a county if the person's principal place of operation is located within that county.
Any elector may file a verified petition with the commission requesting that civil action under this chapter be brought against any person or committee. The petition shall allege such facts as are within the knowledge of the petitioner to show probable cause that a violation of this chapter has occurred.
When a candidate committee treasurer or candidate's agent incurs an obligation or makes a disbursement, that action by the treasurer or agent is imputed to the candidate for purposes of civil liability under this subchapter.
In civil actions under this chapter the acts of every member of a candidate committee are presumed to be with the candidate's knowledge or approval until clearly proven otherwise.
History: 2015 a. 117
, 74 (1m)
Section 11.60, 1977 stats., is a civil penalty section even though some violations of it involve intent. State v. Dreske, 88 Wis. 2d 60
, 276 N.W.2d 324
(Ct. App. 1979).
In a forfeiture action against a committee, assets of the committee, but not of its members, are reachable. Elections Board v. Ward, 105 Wis. 2d 543
, 314 N.W.2d 120
Criminal penalties; prosecution. 11.1401(1)(a)
Whoever intentionally violates s. 11.1204
or any registration or reporting requirement under this chapter is guilty of a Class I felony.
Whoever intentionally violates subch. XI
or s. 11.1201
, or 11.1303
is guilty of a Class I felony if the intentional violation does not involve a specific figure or if the intentional violation concerns a figure which exceeds $100 in amount or value.
Whoever intentionally violates any of the following may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both:
Any provision under par. (b)
if the violation concerns a specific amount or value not exceeding $100.