11.01 Annotation The definition of "political purposes," which triggers PAC duties and other requirements and restrictions, is vague and overbroad in the sense meant by Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, and requires a limiting construction. As applied to political speakers other than candidates, their committees, and political parties, the statutory definition of "political purposes" in section 11.01(16) is limited to express advocacy and its functional equivalent. Wisconsin Right to Life v. Barland, 751 F. 3d 804 (2014).
11.02(1) (1) The "filing officer" for each candidate for state office and for each committee which or individual who is acting in support of or in opposition to any candidate for state office is the board.
11.02(2) (2) The "filing officer" for each committee which or individual who is acting in support of or in opposition to any candidates for state and local offices is the board.
11.02(3) (3) Except as provided in sub. (3e), the "filing officer" for each candidate for local office and for each committee which or individual who is acting in support of or in opposition to any candidate for local office, but not any candidate for state office, is the clerk of the most populous jurisdiction for which any candidate who is supported or opposed seeks office.
11.02(4) (4) The "filing officer" for each group which or individual who is acting in support of or in opposition to any statewide referendum is the board.
11.02(5) (5) The "filing officer" for each group which or individual who is acting in support of or in opposition to any statewide and local referenda is the board.
11.02(7) (7) If the jurisdiction under sub. (3) or (6) is a school district, the appropriate clerk is the school district clerk.
11.03 11.03 Nonapplicability.
11.03(1)(1) Elections for the positions of presidential elector and convention delegate are not subject to ss. 11.05 to 11.23 and 11.26 to 11.29.
11.03(2) (2) Except as otherwise expressly provided, this chapter does not apply to any candidate for national office acting exclusively in support of the candidate's own campaign, with respect to such activities only.
11.03(3)(a) (a) Candidates for national office.
11.04 11.04 Registration and voting drives. Except as provided in s. 11.25 (2) (b), ss. 11.05 to 11.23 and 11.26 do not apply to nonpartisan campaigns to increase voter registration or participation at any election that are not directed at supporting or opposing any specific candidate, political party, or referendum.
11.05 11.05 Registration of political committees, groups and individuals.
11.05(2r) (2r)General reporting exemptions. Any committee, group, or individual, other than a committee or individual required to file an oath under s. 11.06 (7), who or which does not anticipate accepting contributions, making disbursements or incurring obligations in an aggregate amount in excess of $1,000 in a calendar year and does not anticipate accepting any contribution or contributions from a single source, other than contributions made by a candidate to his or her own campaign, exceeding $100 in that year, or exceeding $2,500 in that year for a group or individual subject to registration under s. 11.23, may indicate on its registration statement that the committee, group, or individual will not accept contributions, incur obligations or make disbursements in the aggregate in excess of $1,000 in any calendar year and will not accept any contribution or contributions from a single source, other than contributions made by a candidate to his or her own campaign, exceeding $100 in that year, or exceeding $2,500 in that year for a group or individual subject to registration under s. 11.23. Any registrant making such an indication is not subject to any filing requirement if the statement is true. The registrant need not file a termination report. A registrant not making such an indication on a registration statement is subject to a filing requirement. The indication may be revoked and the registrant is then subject to a filing requirement as of the date of revocation, or the date that aggregate contributions, disbursements or obligations for the calendar year exceed $1,000, or the date on which the registrant accepts any contribution or contributions exceeding $100 from a single source, or exceeding $2,500 from a single source for a group or individual subject to registration under s. 11.23, other than contributions made by a candidate to his or her own campaign, during that year, whichever is earlier. If the revocation is not timely, the registrant violates s. 11.27 (1).
11.05(3)(a) (a) The name and mailing address of the committee, group or individual.
11.05(3)(L) (L) The name and address of the campaign depository account and of any other institution where funds are kept and the account number of the depository account and of each additional account and safety deposit box used.
11.05(3)(n) (n) In the case of a labor organization, separate segregated fund under s. 11.38 (1) (a) 2. or conduit established by a labor organization, a statement as to whether the organization is incorporated, and if so, the date of incorporation and whether or not such incorporation is under ch. 181.
11.05(3)(p) (p) In the case of a support committee, a statement signed by the individual on whose behalf the committee intends to operate affirming that the committee is the only committee authorized to operate on his or her behalf, unless the committee files a statement under s. 11.06 (7).
11.05(3)(q) (q) In the case of a conduit, the name and mailing address of a sponsor, as defined in s. 11.185 (1), to which contributions may be redirected as provided under s. 11.185.
11.05(7) (7)Change in status of new registrant. Notwithstanding sub. (6), any individual or organization who or which has received property or funds which were not intended for political purposes in connection with an election for state or local office at the time of receipt may make contributions or disbursements from such property or funds in connection with an election for state or local office if the individual or organization complies with applicable provisions of sub. (1), (2) or (2g) as soon as such intent changes. For purposes of s. 11.06 (1), all property or funds which are in a registrant's possession on the date of registration under this section shall be treated as received on the date that such intent changes so that the property or funds are to be used for political purposes in connection with an election for state or local office.
11.05(9)(a)(a) For purposes of this chapter, every individual who and every committee or group which deposits a contribution in an account at a financial institution as defined in s. 705.01 (3) is considered to receive and accept the contribution.
11.05(10) (10)Certain activity by spouses exempt. For purposes of compliance with the registration requirements of this section a husband and wife acting jointly for political purposes shall be considered an "individual" rather than a "committee".
11.05(11) (11)Exemption for indirect political activity. If any individual makes only those disbursements and incurs only those obligations which are exempted from reporting under s. 11.06 (2), or if any committee or group makes no contributions, and makes only those disbursements and incurs only those obligations which are exempted from reporting under s. 11.06 (2), then no registration requirement under this section applies to that individual, committee or group.
11.05(12)(a)(a) Except as authorized under sub. (13), a candidate shall comply with sub. (2g) no later than the time that he or she becomes a candidate as defined in s. 11.01. Except as authorized in sub. (13), no candidate or agent of a candidate may accept any contribution or contributions at any time when the candidate is not registered under this section.
11.05(12)(b) (b) Except as authorized under sub. (13), a committee, group or individual that becomes subject to a registration requirement under sub. (1) or (2), other than a candidate or agent of a candidate, shall comply with sub. (1) or (2) no later than the 5th business day commencing after receipt of the first contribution by the committee, group or individual exceeding the amount specified under sub. (1) or (2) or s. 11.23 (1), and before making any disbursement exceeding that amount. No committee supporting or opposing the election or nomination of a candidate at an election, other than an agent of a candidate, may accept any contribution or contributions exceeding $300, no individual supporting or opposing the election or nomination of a candidate at an election, other than a candidate or agent of a candidate, may accept any contribution or contributions exceeding $300, and no group or individual subject to registration under s. 11.23 may accept any contribution or contributions exceeding $2,500, in the aggregate during a calendar year at any time when the committee, group or individual is not registered under this section except within the initial 5-day period authorized by this paragraph.
11.05 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also ss. GAB 6.02 and 6.04, Wis. adm. code.
11.055 11.055 Filing fees.
11.055 History History: 1997 a. 27.
11.06(1)(1) Contents of report. Except as provided in subs. (2), (3) and (3m) and ss. 11.05 (2r) and 11.19 (2), each registrant under s. 11.05 shall make full reports, upon a form prescribed by the board and signed by the appropriate individual under sub. (5), of all contributions received, contributions or disbursements made, and obligations incurred. Each report shall contain the following information, covering the period since the last date covered on the previous report, unless otherwise provided:
11.06(1)(b) (b) The occupation and name and address of the principal place of employment, if any, of each individual contributor whose cumulative contributions for the calendar year are in excess of $100.
11.06(1)(d) (d) An itemized statement of other income in excess of $20, including interest, returns on investments, rebates and refunds received.
11.06(1)(e) (e) An itemized statement of contributions over $20 from a single source donated to a charitable organization or to the common school fund, with the full name and mailing address of the donee.
11.06(1)(f) (f) An itemized statement of each loan of money made to the registrant for a political purpose in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $20, together with the full name and mailing address of the lender; a statement of whether the lender is a commercial lending institution; the date and amount of the loan; the full name and mailing address of each guarantor, if any; the original amount guaranteed by each guarantor; and the balance of the amount guaranteed by each guarantor at the end of the reporting period.
11.06(1)(g) (g) An itemized statement of every disbursement exceeding $20 in amount or value, together with the name and address of the person to whom the disbursement was made, and the date and specific purpose for which the disbursement was made.
11.06(1)(i) (i) A statement of totals during the reporting period of contributions received and disbursements made, including transfers made to and received from other registrants, other income, loans, and contributions donated as provided in par. (e).
11.06(1)(k) (k) A statement of the balance of obligations incurred as of the end of the reporting period.
11.06(1)(L) (L) A statement of cumulative totals for the calendar year of contributions made, contributions received, and disbursements made, including transfers of funds made to or received from other registrants.
11.06(1)(m) (m) A statement of the cash balance on hand at the beginning and end of the reporting period.
11.06(3) (3)Nonresident reporting.
11.06(3)(b)1. 1. Contributions, including transfers and loans, and other income received from sources in this state.
11.06(3)(b)2. 2. Disbursements made and obligations incurred with respect to an election for state or local office in this state.
11.06(3)(c) (c) If a nonresident registrant is registered for campaign finance reporting purposes with the federal elections commission or with the filing officer or agency of another state, the registrant shall indicate on the report the name and address of each filing officer or agency with which a copy of its campaign finance reports is filed.
11.06(3r)(a)(a) In this subsection, "federal account committee" means a committee of a state political party organization which makes contributions to candidates for national office and is registered with the federal election commission.
11.06(3r)(c) (c) Notwithstanding sub. (1), a federal account committee which makes contributions to a state political party committee need not file reports with the appropriate filing officer under s. 11.20 for any period covered in a report filed with the federal election commission if the board receives a copy of that report and the federal account committee makes no contributions to any other committee which or individual who is required to register under s. 11.05 (1), (2) or (2g).
11.06(3w) (3w)National political party reporting.
11.06(3w)(a)(a) In this subsection, "national political party committee" means a national committee as defined in 2 USC 431 (14).
11.06(3w)(c) (c) Notwithstanding sub. (1), a national political party committee need not file reports with the appropriate filing officer under s. 11.20 for any period covered in a report filed with the federal election commission.
11.06(4)(a)(a) A contribution is received by a candidate for purposes of this chapter when it is under the control of the candidate or campaign treasurer, or such person accepts the benefit thereof. A contribution is received by an individual, group or committee, other than a personal campaign committee, when it is under the control of the individual or the committee or group treasurer, or such person accepts the benefit thereof.
11.06(4)(b) (b) Unless it is returned or donated within 15 days of receipt, a contribution must be reported as received and accepted on the date received. This subsection applies notwithstanding the fact that the contribution is not deposited in the campaign depository account by the closing date for the reporting period as provided in s. 11.20 (8).
11.06(4)(d) (d) A contribution, disbursement or obligation made or incurred to or for the benefit of a candidate is reportable by the candidate or the candidate's personal campaign committee if it is made or incurred with the authorization, direction or control of or otherwise by prearrangement with the candidate or the candidate's agent.
11.06(7) (7)Oath for independent disbursements.
11.06(7)(a)(a) Every committee, other than a personal campaign committee, which and every individual, other than a candidate who desires to make disbursements during any calendar year, which are to be used to advocate the election or defeat of any clearly identified candidate or candidates in any election shall before making any disbursement, except within the amount authorized under s. 11.05 (1) or (2), file with the registration statement under s. 11.05 a statement under oath affirming that the committee or individual does not act in cooperation or consultation with any candidate or agent or authorized committee of a candidate who is supported, that the committee or individual does not act in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate or any agent or authorized committee of a candidate who is supported, that the committee or individual does not act in cooperation or consultation with any candidate or agent or authorized committee of a candidate who benefits from a disbursement made in opposition to a candidate, and that the committee or individual does not act in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate or agent or authorized committee of a candidate who benefits from a disbursement made in opposition to a candidate. A committee which or individual who acts independently of one or more candidates or agents or authorized committees of candidates and also in cooperation or upon consultation with, in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of one or more candidates or agents or authorized committees of candidates shall indicate in the oath the names of the candidate or candidates to which it applies.
11.06(7)(c) (c) Any individual who or committee which falsely makes an oath under par. (a), or any individual, committee or agent of an individual or committee who or which carries on any activities with intent to violate an oath under par. (a) is guilty of a violation of this chapter.
11.06(7m)(a)(a) If a committee which was registered under s. 11.05 as a political party committee or legislative campaign committee supporting candidates of a political party files an oath under sub. (7) affirming that it does not act in cooperation or consultation with any candidate who is nominated to appear on the party ballot of the party at a general or special election, that the committee does not act in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, such a candidate, that the committee does not act in cooperation or consultation with such a candidate or agent or authorized committee of such a candidate who benefits from a disbursement made in opposition to another candidate, and that the committee does not act in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, such a candidate or agent or authorized committee of such a candidate who benefits from a disbursement made in opposition to another candidate, the committee filing the oath may not make any contributions in support of any candidate of the party at the general or special election or in opposition to any such candidate's opponents exceeding the amounts specified in s. 11.26 (2), except as authorized in par. (c).
11.06(7m)(b) (b) If the committee has already made contributions in excess of the amounts specified in s. 11.26 (2) at the time it files an oath under sub. (7), each candidate to whom contributions are made shall promptly return a sufficient amount of contributions to bring the committee in compliance with this subsection and the committee may not make any additional contributions in violation of this subsection.
11.06(8) (8)Return of contributions. A registrant may return a contribution at any time, before or after acceptance. If a contribution is accepted contrary to law, the subsequent return does not constitute a defense to a violation.
11.06(11) (11)Reporting of conduit contributions.
11.06(11)(a)(a) A conduit transferring a contribution of money shall, in writing, identify itself to the transferee as a conduit and report to the transferee of each contribution transferred by it the information about the original contributor required for reporting purposes under sub. (1) (a) and (b) at the time the contribution is transferred. The conduit shall include the information in its report under s. 11.12 (5) or 11.20 for the date on which the contribution is received and transferred.
11.06(11)(b) (b) Each filing officer shall place a copy of any report received under par. (a) in the file of the conduit and the file of the transferee.
11.06(11)(d) (d) A conduit shall include in each report under s. 11.12 (5) or 11.20 whether, during the reporting period, any contribution was redirected to a sponsor as permitted under s. 11.185.
11.06(12) (12)Valuation of opinion poll or voter survey results.
11.06(12)(a)(a) In this subsection:
11.06(12)(a)1. 1. "Election period" means the period between December 1 and the date of the spring election, the period between May 1 and the day of the general election in any even-numbered year or the period between the first day for circulation of nomination papers and the day of a special election for any state office.
11.06(12)(a)3. 3. "Results" means computer output or a written or verbal analysis of polling or survey data.
11.06(12)(a)4. 4. "Voter survey" includes the acquisition of information which identifies voter attitudes concerning candidates or issues.
11.06(12)(b) (b) If a candidate or committee receives a contribution consisting of the results of an opinion poll or voter survey during the first 15 days after the results are received by the initial recipient, or if a candidate or committee receives a contribution consisting of the results of an opinion poll or voter survey for which the initial recipient received the results during an election period, the contribution shall be valued for purposes of sub. (1) at the full share of the overall cost of the poll or survey which is allocable to each candidate, including a candidate for national office, receiving the results.
11.06(12)(d) (d) If the results are received 61 to 180 days after receipt by the initial recipient, and if the initial recipient did not receive the results during an election period, the contribution shall be valued at 5% of the amount allocated to an initial recipient of the same results.
11.06(12)(e) (e) If the results are received more than 180 days after receipt by the initial recipient, and if the initial recipient did not receive the results during an election period, no amount need be allocated.
11.06(12)(f)2. 2. An amount computed by dividing the overall cost of the poll or survey equally among recipients receiving the results.
11.06(12)(f)3. 3. A proportion of the overall cost of the poll or survey equal to the proportion that the number of question results received by the recipient bears to the total number of question results received by all recipients.
11.06(12)(g) (g) If the contributor makes a subsequent contribution of the results of an opinion poll or voter survey after initial apportionment of the value under par. (f), the contributor shall report to the recipient a value for the contribution determined in good faith, considering the value to other recipients, as adjusted under pars. (c) to (e). In such case, the total value of the contributor's aggregate contributions may exceed the original cost of the poll or survey.
11.06(12)(h) (h) A contributor of opinion poll or voter survey results shall maintain records sufficient to support the valuation of the contribution and shall inform the recipient of the value of the contribution.
11.06(13) (13)Internet activity.
11.06 Annotation The term "political purposes" is not restricted to acts of express advocacy, but encompasses many acts undertaken to influence an election, including making contributions to an election campaign. Contributions may be in-kind, as well as in cash, and campaign organizations are required to report the receipt of in-kind contributions. Wisconsin Coalition for Voter Participation, Inc. v. State Elections Board, 231 Wis. 2d 670, 605 N.W.2d 654 (Ct. App. 1999), 99-2574.
11.06 Annotation The reporting requirements of sub. (1) may not constitutionally be applied to Socialist Workers' Party contributors. Wisconsin Socialist Workers. 1976 Campaign Committee v. McCann, 433 F. Supp. 540.
11.07 11.07 Designation of agent by nonresident individuals, committees and groups.
11.07(1) (1) Every nonresident committee making contributions and every nonresident committee making disbursements to support or oppose the election or nomination of a candidate at an election exceeding $300 cumulatively in a calendar year within this state, every nonresident individual making disbursements to support or oppose the election or nomination of a candidate at an election exceeding $300 cumulatively in a calendar year within this state, and every nonresident group making contributions and every nonresident group or individual making disbursements to support or oppose a particular vote at a referendum exceeding $2,500 cumulatively in a calendar year within this state, shall file name, mailing and street address and the name and the mailing and street address of a designated agent within the state with the office of the secretary of state. An agent may be any adult individual who is a resident of this state. After any change in the name or address of such agent the new address or name of the successor agent shall be filed within 30 days. Service of process in any proceeding under this chapter or ch. 12, or service of any other notice or demand may be made upon such agent.
11.07(3) (3) The secretary of state shall keep a record of all processes, notices, and demands served upon the secretary of state under this section that shows the date and hour of service and the date of mailing. The certificate of the secretary of state that a summons and complaint, notice of object of action, or any notice or demand required or permitted by law was served upon the secretary of state and that the same was mailed by the secretary of state as required by law, shall be evidence of service upon the secretary of state. If the address of the individual, committee, or group is not known or readily ascertainable, mailing is dispensed with, and a copy of the process shall be published as a class 1 notice, under ch. 985, in the county in which the last-known registered agent was located or, if unknown, in Dane County.
11.07(4) (4) Nothing in this section limits or affects the right to serve any process, notice or demand required or permitted by law to be served upon a nonresident individual or organization in any other manner permitted by law.
11.07(5) (5) Any campaign treasurer or individual who knowingly receives a contribution made by an unregistered nonresident in violation of this section may not use or expend such contribution but shall immediately return it to the source or at the option of the campaign treasurer or individual, donate the contribution to a charitable organization or to the common school fund.
11.07(6) (6) For purposes of this section, a nonresident individual or organization is one who or which does not maintain an office or street address within the state.
11.08 11.08 Reports by party committees. Every committee of a political party which is required to file statements and reports under this chapter shall file all statements and reports with the board. A state committee of a political party may be designated by a congressional, legislative, county or local party committee as its reporting agent for purposes of this chapter, but such designation does not permit combination of reports. If any committee is so designated, the treasurer of the state committee shall so inform the board.
11.09(3)(3) Each registrant whose filing officer is the board, who or which makes disbursements in connection with elections for offices which serve or referenda which affect only one county or portion thereof, except a candidate, personal campaign committee, political party committee or other committee making disbursements in support of or in opposition to a candidate for state senator, representative to the assembly, court of appeals judge or circuit judge, shall file a duplicate original of each financial report filed with the board with the county clerk or board of election commissioners of the county in which the elections in which the registrant participates are held. Such reports shall be filed no later than the dates specified under s. 11.20 (2) and (4) for the filing of each report with the board.
11.09(4) (4) In every case where a duplicate report is filed by the board or by any person under sub. (3), the board shall transmit a certified duplicate copy of the registration statement to each county clerk or board of election commissioners with whom a duplicate report is filed.
11.10 11.10 Campaign treasurers and campaign depositories.
11.10(1)(1) Each candidate in an election shall appoint one campaign treasurer. Except as provided in s. 11.14 (3), each candidate shall designate one campaign depository account within 5 business days after the candidate receives his or her first contribution and before the candidate makes or authorizes any disbursement in behalf of his or her candidacy. If a candidate adopts a preexisting support committee as his or her personal campaign committee, the candidate shall make such designation within 5 business days of adoption. The person designated as campaign treasurer shall be the treasurer of the candidate's personal campaign committee, if any. The candidate may appoint himself or herself or any other elector as campaign treasurer. A registration statement under s. 11.05 (2g) or (2r) must be filed jointly by every candidate and his or her campaign treasurer. The candidate does not qualify for ballot placement until this requirement is met. Except as authorized under s. 11.06 (5), the campaign treasurer or candidate shall certify as to the correctness of each report required to be filed, and the candidate bears the responsibility for the accuracy of each report for purposes of civil liability under this chapter, whether or not the candidate certifies it personally.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2013 Wis. Act 380 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before Dec. 13, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after Dec. 13, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 12-13-14)