History: 1973 c. 90
; Stats. 1973 s. 11.06; 1973 c. 334
; Stats. 1973 s. 19.46; 1975 c. 422
; 1977 c. 223
; 1983 a. 166
; 1985 a. 29
; 1989 a. 338
The office of the board shall be in Madison, but the board may, after proper public notice and in compliance with subch. V
, meet or exercise any or all of its powers at any other place in this state.
The board shall appoint an executive director outside the classified service to serve at the pleasure of the board. The executive director shall appoint such other personnel as he or she requires to carry out the duties of the board. The executive director shall perform such duties as the board assigns to him or her in the administration of this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
All members and employees of the board shall file statements of economic interests with the board.
Any action by the board, except an action relating to procedure of the board, requires the affirmative vote of 4 of its members.
No later than September 1 of each year, the board shall submit a report concerning its actions in the preceding fiscal year to the governor and the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for distribution to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2)
. Such report shall contain the names and duties of all individuals employed by the board and a summary of its determinations and advisory opinions. The board shall make sufficient alterations in the summaries to prevent disclosing the identities of individuals or organizations involved in the decisions or opinions. The board shall make such further reports on the matters within its jurisdiction and such recommendations for further legislation as it deems desirable.
The joint committee on legislative organization shall be advisory to the board on all matters relating to operation of the board.
History: 1973 c. 90
; Stats. 1973 s. 11.07; 1973 c. 334
; Stats. 1973 s. 19.47; 1975 c. 426
; 1977 c. 26
; 1983 a. 27
; 1987 a. 186
; 1989 a. 338
; 1991 a. 39
Duties of the board.
The board shall:
Promulgate rules necessary to carry out this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
. The board shall give prompt notice of the contents of its rules to state public officials who will be affected thereby.
Prescribe and make available forms for use under this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
, including the forms specified in s. 13.685 (1)
Accept and file any information related to the purposes of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
which is voluntarily supplied by any person in addition to the information required by this subchapter.
Preserve the statements of economic interests filed with it for a period of 6 years from the date of receipt in such form, including microfilming, optical imaging or electronic formatting, as will facilitate document retention, except that:
Upon the expiration of 3 years after an individual ceases to be a state public official the board shall, unless the former state public official otherwise requests, destroy any statement of economic interests filed by him or her and any copies thereof in its possession.
Upon the expiration of 3 years after any election at which a candidate for state public office was not elected, the board shall destroy any statements of economic interests filed by him or her as a candidate for state public office and any copies thereof in the board's possession, unless the individual continues to hold another position for which he or she is required to file a statement, or unless the individual otherwise requests.
Upon the expiration of 3 years from the action of the senate upon a nomination for state public office at which the senate refused to consent to the appointment of the nominee, the board shall destroy any statements of economic interests filed by him or her as a nominee and any copies thereof in the board's possession, unless the individual continues to hold another position for which he or she is required to file a statement, or unless the nominee otherwise requests. This paragraph does not apply to any individual who is appointed to state public office under s. 17.20 (2)
Except as provided in s. 19.55 (2) (c)
, make statements of economic interests filed with the board available for public inspection and copying during regular office hours and make copying facilities available at a charge not to exceed actual cost.
Compile and maintain an index to all the statements of economic interests currently on file with the board to facilitate public access to such statements of economic interests.
Prepare and publish special reports and technical studies to further the purposes of this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
Report the full name and address of any individual and the full name and address of any person represented by an individual seeking to copy or obtain information from a statement of economic interests in writing to the individual who filed it, as soon as possible.
Administer programs to explain and interpret this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
for state public officials, and for elective state officials, candidates for state public office, legislative officials, agency officials, lobbyists, as defined in s. 13.62
, local public officials, corporation counsels and attorneys for local governmental units. The programs shall provide advice regarding appropriate ethical and lobbying practices, with special emphasis on public interest lobbying. The board may delegate creation and implementation of any such program to a group representing the public interest. The board may charge a fee to participants in any such program.
Compile and make available information filed with the board in ways designed to facilitate access to the information. The board may charge a fee to a person requesting information for compiling, disseminating or making available such information, except that the board shall not charge a fee for inspection at the board's office of any record otherwise open to public inspection under s. 19.35 (1)
The board shall accept from any individual, either personally or on behalf of an organization or governmental body, a verified complaint in writing which states the name of any person alleged to have committed a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
and which sets forth the particulars thereof. The board shall forward to the accused within 10 days a copy of the complaint and a general statement of the applicable statutes with respect to such verified complaint. If the board determines that the verified complaint does not allege facts sufficient to constitute a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
, it shall dismiss the complaint and notify the complainant and the accused. If the board determines that the verified complaint alleges facts sufficient to constitute a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
, it may make an investigation with respect to any alleged violation. If the board determines that the verified complaint was brought for harassment purposes, the board shall so state.
Any person to whom this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
may have application may request the board to make an investigation of his or her own conduct or of allegations made by other persons as to his or her conduct. Such a request shall be made in writing and shall set forth in detail the reasons therefor.
Following the receipt of a verified complaint or upon the receipt of other information, whether or not under oath, that provides a reasonable basis for the belief that a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has been committed or that an investigation of a possible violation is warranted, the board may investigate the circumstances concerning the possible violation. Prior to invoking any power under s. 19.50
, the board shall authorize an investigation by resolution, which shall state the nature and purpose of the investigation and the actions or activities to be investigated. Upon adoption of a resolution, the board shall notify each person who is the subject of the investigation pursuant to sub. (4)
. If the board, during the course of an investigation, finds probable cause to believe that a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has occurred, it may:
If no verified complaint has been filed, make upon its own motion a verified complaint, which shall be in writing, shall state the name of the person who is alleged to have committed a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
and shall set forth the particulars thereof. The board shall forward to the accused within 10 days a copy of the complaint, a general statement of the applicable statutes with respect to such verified complaint and a specific statement enumerating the source or sources of information upon which the complaint is based.
If a verified complaint has been filed and the board finds probable cause to believe that a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
, other than one contained in the complaint, has occurred, it may amend the complaint, upon its own motion, to include such violations. If the complaint is so amended by the board, the board shall send a copy of the amendment to the person complained against within 48 hours.
Upon adoption of a resolution authorizing an investigation under sub. (3)
, the board shall mail a copy of the resolution to each alleged violator who is identified in the resolution, together with a notice informing the alleged violator that the person is the subject of the investigation authorized by the resolution and a general statement of the applicable statutes with respect to such investigation. Service of the notice is complete upon mailing.
No action may be taken on any complaint which is filed later than 3 years after a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
is alleged to have occurred.
Law Revision Committee Note, 1983: Under current sub. (4), stats., when the ethics board authorizes the investigation of a violation of the code of the ethics for state public officials, the executive director of the ethics board is required to "forward" a copy of the resolution of the board to the alleged violator. This bill makes it clear that the executive director is required to mail a copy of the resolution to the alleged violator, and that mailing the resolution to the violator constitutes service of the notice. The bill thereby makes it clear that personal delivery of the notice is not required.
Pursuant to any investigation authorized under s. 19.49 (3)
or any hearing conducted under this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
, the board has the power:
To require any person to submit in writing such reports and answers to questions relevant to the proceedings conducted under this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
as the board may prescribe, such submission to be made within such period and under oath or otherwise as the board may determine.
To administer oaths and to require by subpoena issued by it the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any documentary evidence relating to the investigation or hearing being conducted. Notwithstanding s. 885.01 (4)
, the issuance of a subpoena requires action by the board in accordance with s. 19.47 (4)
To order testimony to be taken by deposition before any individual who is designated by the board and has the power to administer oaths, and, in such instances, to compel testimony and the production of evidence in the same manner as authorized by sub. (2)
To pay witnesses the same fees and mileage as are paid in like circumstances by the courts of this state.
To request and obtain from the department of revenue copies of state income or franchise tax returns and access to other appropriate information under s. 71.78 (4)
regarding all persons who are the subject of such investigation.
Probable cause of violation. 19.51(1)
At the conclusion of its investigation, the board shall, in preliminary written findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, make a determination of whether or not probable cause exists to believe that a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has occurred. If the board determines that no probable cause exists, it shall immediately send written notice of such determination to the accused and to the party who made the complaint. If the board determines that there is probable cause for believing that a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has been committed, its preliminary findings of fact and conclusions may contain:
A recommendation for criminal prosecution which shall be referred to the district attorney in whose jurisdiction the alleged violation occurred or to the attorney general if the violation concerns the district attorney, and, if the district attorney fails to commence a prosecution within 30 days, to the attorney general, who may then commence a prosecution; or
An order setting a date for hearing to determine whether a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has occurred. The board shall serve the order upon the accused. A hearing ordered under this paragraph shall be commenced within 30 days after the date that it is ordered unless the accused petitions for and the board consents to a later date. Prior to any hearing ordered under this paragraph, the accused is entitled to full discovery rights, including adverse examination of witnesses who will testify at the hearing at a reasonable time before the date of the hearing.
The board shall inform the accused or his or her counsel of exculpatory evidence in its possession.
If the board makes a recommendation for criminal prosecution under sub. (1)
, the district attorney to whom the recommendation is made or the attorney general shall, within 30 days of receipt of such recommendation, make a decision whether to prosecute the party charged. The board shall give written notice of any referral under this subsection to the accused. The district attorney or attorney general shall give written notice of the decision to the accused, the complainant and the board.
Hearing procedure. 19.52(1)(1)
Every hearing or rehearing under this subchapter shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of ch. 227
, except as otherwise expressly provided. During any investigation and during any hearing which is conducted to determine whether a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has occurred, the person under investigation or the accused may be represented by counsel of his or her own choosing and the accused or his or her representative, if any, shall have an opportunity to challenge the sufficiency of any complaint which has been filed against him or her, to examine all documents and records obtained or prepared by the board in connection with the matter heard, to bring witnesses, to establish all pertinent facts and circumstances, to question or refute testimony or evidence, including the opportunity to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, and shall otherwise be able to exercise fully any pretrial discovery procedure usually available in civil actions. During any hearing conducted by the board to determine whether a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has occurred, all evidence including certified copies of records which the board considers shall be fully offered and made a part of the record in the proceedings. The accused or any other person under investigation shall be afforded adequate opportunity to rebut or offer countervailing evidence. Upon request of the accused, the board shall issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of necessary witnesses.
The board shall appoint a reserve judge to serve as hearing examiner. Any person whose name is mentioned or who is otherwise identified during a hearing being conducted by the board and who, in the opinion of the board, may be adversely affected thereby, may, upon request of the person or a representative of the person, or upon the request of any member of the board, appear at the hearing to testify on his or her own behalf or have a representative appear to so testify, and the board may permit any other person to appear and to testify at a hearing.
(3) Chapters 901
apply to the admission of evidence at the hearing. The board shall not find a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
except upon clear and convincing evidence admitted at the hearing.
After the conclusion of the hearing the board shall as soon as practicable begin deliberations on the evidence presented at such hearing and shall then proceed to determine whether the accused has violated this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
. The board shall not begin deliberations until after the proposed decision under s. 227.46 (2)
is served and opportunity is given for arguments.
Findings of fact and conclusions; orders and recommendations.
If the board determines that no violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has occurred, it shall immediately send written notice of such determination to the accused and to the party who made the complaint. If the board determines that a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has occurred, its findings of fact and conclusions may contain one or more of the following orders or recommendations:
In the case of a state public official outside the classified service, a recommendation that the state public official be censured, suspended, or removed from office or employment. Such recommendation shall be made to the appropriate appointing authority who may censure, suspend, or take action to remove the official from office or employment.
In the case of a state public official in the classified service, a recommendation that the state public official be disciplined or discharged under s. 230.34 (1)
. Such recommendation shall be made to the appropriate appointing authority.
In the case of a legislator, a recommendation that the legislator be censured, suspended, or removed from office. Such recommendation shall be made to the appropriate house.
In the case of a justice or judge, a recommendation that the justice or judge be reprimanded, censured, suspended or removed from office. Such recommendation shall be sent to the supreme court and to the presiding officer of each house of the legislature.
In the case of a state public official liable to impeachment, a recommendation that the official be removed from office. Such recommendation shall be referred to the assembly.
An order requiring the accused to conform his or her conduct to this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
An order requiring the accused to forfeit not more than $500 for each violation of s. 19.43
or 19.56 (2)
or not more than $5,000 for each violation of any other provision of this subchapter, or not more than the applicable amount specified in s. 13.69
for each violation of subch. III of ch. 13
; and, if the board determines that the accused has realized economic gain as a result of the violation, an order requiring the accused to forfeit the amount gained as a result of the violation. The attorney general, when so requested by the board, shall institute proceedings to recover any forfeiture incurred under this section or s. 19.545
which is not paid by the person against whom it is assessed.
An order revoking the license of any lobbyist who violates ss. 13.61
for a period not to exceed 3 years.
Such other recommendation or order as may be necessary and appropriate and is consistent with the intent and purposes of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
After the service upon the accused by the board of any decision under s. 19.53
containing an order or recommendation, the accused may apply to the board for a rehearing with respect to any matter determined in such decision as provided in s. 227.49
An application for rehearing is governed by such general rules as the board may establish. Only one rehearing may be granted by the board. No order of the board becomes effective until 20 days after it is issued, or while an application for rehearing or a rehearing is pending, or until 10 days after such application for rehearing is either denied, expressly or by implication, or the board has announced its final determination on rehearing.
History: 1977 c. 277
; 1985 a. 182
The board may compromise and settle any action or potential action for a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
which the board is authorized to take under s. 19.53
. Notwithstanding s. 778.06
, an action may be settled for such sum as may be agreed upon between the board and the alleged violator.
Whenever the board enters into a settlement agreement with an individual who is accused of a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
or who is investigated by the board for a possible violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
, the board shall reduce the agreement to writing, together with a statement of the board's findings and reasons for entering into the agreement and shall retain the agreement and statement in its office for inspection under s. 19.55 (1)
History: 1987 a. 365
; 1989 a. 338
Public inspection of records. 19.55(1)
Except as provided in sub. (2)
, all records in the possession of the board are open to public inspection at all reasonable times. The board shall require an individual wishing to examine a statement of economic interests or the list of persons who inspect any statements which are in the board's possession to provide his or her full name and address, and if the individual is representing another person, the full name and address of the person which he or she represents. Such identification may be provided in writing or in person. The board shall record and retain for at least 3 years information obtained by it pursuant to this subsection. No individual may use a fictitious name or address or fail to identify a principal in making any request for inspection.
The following records in the board's possession are not open for public inspection:
Records obtained in connection with a request for an advisory opinion other than summaries of advisory opinions that do not disclose the identity of individuals requesting such opinions or organizations on whose behalf they are requested. The board may, however, make such records public with the consent of the individual requesting the advisory opinion or the organization or governmental body on whose behalf it is requested. A person who makes or purports to make public the substance of or any portion of an advisory opinion requested by or on behalf of the person is deemed to have waived the confidentiality of the request for an advisory opinion and of any records obtained or prepared by the board in connection with the request for an advisory opinion.
Records obtained or prepared by the board in connection with an investigation, except that the board shall permit inspection of records that are made public in the course of a hearing by the board to determine if a violation of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
has occurred. Whenever the board refers such investigation and hearing records to a district attorney or to the attorney general, they may be made public in the course of a prosecution initiated under this subchapter. The board shall also provide information from investigation and hearing records that pertains to the location of individuals and assets of individuals as requested under s. 49.22 (2m)
by the department of workforce development or by a county child support agency under s. 59.53 (5)
Statements of economic interests and reports of economic transactions which are filed with the ethics board by members or employees of the investment board, except that the ethics board shall refer statements and reports filed by such individuals to the legislative audit bureau for its review, and except that a statement of economic interests filed by a member or employee of the investment board who is also an official required to file shall be open to public inspection.
Records of the social security number of any individual who files an application for licensure as a lobbyist under s. 13.63
or who registers as a principal under s. 13.64
, except to the department of workforce development for purposes of administration of s. 49.22
or to the department of revenue for purposes of administration of s. 73.0301
The extent of confidentiality of investment board nominees' statements of economic interests rests in the sound discretion of the senate committee to which the nomination is referred under sub. (3). 68 Atty. Gen. 378.
Honorariums, fees and expenses. 19.56(1)
Every state public official is encouraged to meet with clubs, conventions, special interest groups, political groups, school groups and other gatherings to discuss and to interpret legislative, administrative, executive or judicial processes and proposals and issues initiated by or affecting a department or the judicial branch.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, every official required to file who receives for a published work or for the presentation of a talk or participation in a meeting, any lodging, transportation, money or other thing with a combined pecuniary value exceeding $50 excluding the value of food or beverage offered coincidentally with a talk or meeting shall, on his or her statement of economic interests, report the identity of every person from whom the official receives such lodging, transportation, money or other thing during his or her preceding taxable year, the circumstances under which it was received and the approximate value thereof.
An official need not report on his or her statement of economic interests under par. (a)
information pertaining to any lodging, transportation, money or other thing of pecuniary value which:
The official returns to the payor within 30 days of receipt;
Is paid to the official by a person identified on the official's statement of economic interests under s. 19.44 (1) (e)
as a source of income;