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;
The official can show by clear and convincing evidence was unrelated to and did not arise from the recipient's holding or having held a public office and was made for a purpose unrelated to the purposes specified in sub. (1)
The official has previously reported to the board as a matter of public record;
Is paid by the department or municipality of which the official's state public office is a part, or, in the case of a district attorney, is paid by that department or a county which the district attorney serves, or, in the case of a justice or judge of a court of record, is paid from the appropriations for operation of the state court system; or
Is made available to the official by the department of commerce or the department of tourism in accordance with sub. (3) (e)
A state public official may receive and retain reimbursement or payment of actual and reasonable expenses and an elected official may retain reasonable compensation, for a published work or for the presentation of a talk or participation in a meeting related to a topic specified in sub. (1)
if the payment or reimbursement is paid or arranged by the organizer of the event or the publisher of the work.
A state public official may receive and retain anything of value if the activity or occasion for which it is given is unrelated to the official's use of the state's time, facilities, services or supplies not generally available to all citizens of this state and the official can show by clear and convincing evidence that the payment or reimbursement was unrelated to and did not arise from the recipient's holding or having held a public office and was paid for a purpose unrelated to the purposes specified in sub. (1)
A state public official may receive and retain from the state or on behalf of the state transportation, lodging, meals, food or beverage, or reimbursement therefor or payment or reimbursement of actual and reasonable costs that the official can show by clear and convincing evidence were incurred or received on behalf of the state of Wisconsin and primarily for the benefit of the state and not primarily for the private benefit of the official or any other person.
A state public official may receive and retain from a political committee under ch. 11
transportation, lodging, meals, food or beverage, or reimbursement therefor or payment or reimbursement of costs permitted and reported in accordance with ch. 11
A state public official who is an officer or employee of the department of commerce may solicit, receive and retain on behalf of the state anything of value for the purpose of any of the following:
The sponsorship by the department of commerce of a trip to a foreign country primarily to promote trade between that country and this state that the department of commerce can demonstrate through clear and convincing evidence is primarily for the benefit of this state.
Hosting individuals in order to promote business, economic development, tourism or conferences sponsored by multistate, national or international associations of governments or governmental officials.
A state public official who is an officer or employee of the department of tourism may solicit, receive and retain on behalf of the state anything of value for the purpose of hosting individuals in order to promote tourism.
A state public official may receive and retain from the department of commerce anything of value which the department of commerce is authorized to provide under par. (e)
and may receive and retain from the department of tourism anything of value which the department of tourism is authorized to provide under par. (em)
If a state public official receives a payment not authorized by this subchapter, in cash or otherwise, for a published work or a talk or meeting, the official may not retain it. If practicable, the official shall deposit it with the department or municipality with which he or she is associated or, in the case of a justice or judge of a court of record, with the director of state courts. If that is not practicable, the official shall return it or its equivalent to the payor or convey it to the state or to a charitable organization other than one with which he or she is associated.
The interaction of s. 19.56 with the prohibition against furnishing anything of pecuniary value to state officials under s. 13.625 is discussed. 80 Atty. Gen. 205
Conferences, visits and economic development activities.
The department of commerce shall file a report with the board no later than April 30 annually, specifying the source and amount of anything of value received by the department of commerce during the preceding calendar year for a purpose specified in s. 19.56 (3) (e)
, and the program or activity in connection with which the thing is received, together with the location and date of that program or activity.
History: 1991 a. 39
; 1995 a. 27
s. 9116 (5)
The department of tourism shall file a report with the board no later than April 30 annually, specifying the source and amount of anything of value received by the department of tourism during the preceding calendar year for a purpose specified in s. 19.56 (3) (em)
and the program or activity in connection with which the thing is received, together with the location and date of that program or activity.
History: 1995 a. 27
Criminal penalties. 19.58(1)(1)
Any person who intentionally violates this subchapter or a code of ethics adopted or established under s. 19.45 (11) (a)
shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year in the county jail or both.
The penalty under sub. (1)
does not limit the power of either house of the legislature to discipline its own members or to impeach a public official, or limit the power of a department to discipline its state public officials or employees.
In this section "intentionally" has the meaning given under s. 939.23
History: 1973 c. 90
; Stats. 1973 s. 11.10; 1973 c. 334
; Stats. 1973 s. 19.50; 1975 c. 200
; 1977 c. 277
; Stats. 1977 s. 19.58.
Codes of ethics for local government officials, employees and candidates. 19.59(1)(a)(a)
No local public official may use his or her public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of himself or herself or his or her immediate family, or for an organization with which he or she is associated. A violation of this paragraph includes the acceptance of free or discounted admissions to a professional baseball or football game by a member of the district board of a local professional baseball park district created under subch. III of ch. 229
or a local professional football stadium district created under subch. IV of ch. 229
. This paragraph does not prohibit a local public official from using the title or prestige of his or her office to obtain campaign contributions that are permitted and reported as required by ch. 11