Candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, state superintendent, or justice, 4 percent of the value of the disbursement level specified in the schedule under s. 11.31 (1)
Candidates for representative to the assembly, $500.
Candidates for court of appeals judge in districts which contain a county having a population of more than 500,000, $3,000.
Candidates for court of appeals judge in other districts, $2,500.
Candidates for circuit judge in circuits having a population of more than 300,000, or candidates for district attorney in prosecutorial units having a population of more than 300,000, $3,000.
Candidates for circuit judge in other circuits or candidates for district attorney in other prosecutorial units, $1,000.
Candidates for local offices, an amount equal to the greater of the following:
Three-fourths of one cent times the number of inhabitants of the jurisdiction or district, according to the latest federal census or the census information on which the district is based, as certified by the appropriate filing officer, but not more than $2,500.
The contribution limitations of subs. (1)
apply cumulatively to the entire primary and election campaign in which a candidate participates, whether or not there is a contested primary election. The total limitation may be apportioned in any manner desired between the primary and election. All moneys cumulate regardless of the time of contribution.
No individual may make any contribution or contributions to all candidates for state and local offices and to any individuals who or committees which are subject to a registration requirement under s. 11.05
, including legislative campaign committees and committees of a political party, to the extent of more than a total of $10,000 in any calendar year.
The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Barland
, 664 F.3d 139
(2011), held sub. (4) to be unconstitutional to the extent that it limits contributions to committees engaged solely in independent spending for political speech.
NOTE: The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Young v. Vocke, Case No. 13-CV-635, in an order entered May 22, 2014, permanently enjoined the enforcement of sub. (4).
The contribution limits provided in subs. (1)
do not apply to a candidate who makes any contribution or contributions to his or her own campaign for office from the candidate's personal funds or property or the personal funds or property which are owned jointly or as marital property with the candidate's spouse, with respect to any contribution or contributions made to that candidate's campaign only. A candidate's personal contributions shall be deposited in his or her campaign depository account and reported in the normal manner.
When a candidate adopts a preexisting support committee as his or her personal campaign committee, the support committee is deemed to have been the same committee as the candidate's personal campaign committee for purposes of the application of subs. (1)
. The limitations prescribed in subs. (2)
do not apply to the transfer of contributions which is made at the time of such adoption, but do apply to the contributions which have been made by any other committee to the support committee at the time of adoption.
No political party as defined in s. 5.02 (13)
may receive more than a total of $150,000 in value of its contributions in any biennium from all other committees, excluding contributions from legislative campaign committees and transfers between party committees of the party. In this paragraph, a biennium commences with January 1 of each odd-numbered year and ends with December 31 of each even-numbered year.
No such political party may receive more than a total of $6,000 in value of its contributions in any calendar year from any specific committee or its subunits or affiliates, excluding legislative campaign and political party committees.
No committee, other than a political party or legislative campaign committee, may make any contribution or contributions, directly or indirectly, to a political party under s. 5.02 (13)
in a calendar year exceeding a total value of $6,000.
No individual who is a candidate for state or local office may receive and accept more than 65 percent of the value of the total disbursement level determined under s. 11.31
for the office for which he or she is a candidate during any primary and election campaign combined from all committees subject to a filing requirement, including political party and legislative campaign committees, including any transfer from any personal campaign committee to another personal campaign committee.
No individual who is a candidate for state or local office may receive and accept more than 45 percent of the value of the total disbursement level determined under s. 11.31
for the office for which he or she is a candidate during any primary and election campaign combined from all committees other than political party and legislative campaign committees subject to a filing requirement, not including any transfer from any personal campaign committee to another personal campaign committee.
Excess contributions shall be returned to the donor or treated in accordance with s. 11.12 (2)
or 11.23 (2)
, at the option of the treasurer.
In computing the limitations under this section, any transfer of funds between the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor of the same political party in the general election may be excluded.
For purposes of this section, a contribution of money received from a conduit identified in the manner prescribed in s. 11.06 (11) (a)
shall be considered a contribution received from the original contributor.
Contributions utilized for the following purposes are not subject to limitation by this section:
For the purpose of payment of legal fees and other expenses incurred as a result of a recount at an election.
For the purpose of payment of legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with the circulation, offer to file or filing, or with the response to the circulation, offer to file or filing, of a petition to recall an officer prior to the time a recall primary or election is ordered, or after that time if incurred in contesting or defending the order.
No candidate or committee may receive and accept any contribution or contributions made in violation of this section.
The fact that 2 or more committees, other than personal campaign committees, utilize common policies and practices concerning the endorsement of candidates or agree to make contributions only to such endorsed candidates does not affect the right of each committee independently to make contributions up to the amount specified under sub. (2)
Contributions constituting surplus materials acquired in connection with a previous campaign of a candidate are not subject to limitation by this section, if the materials were previously reported as a contribution by that candidate.
For purposes of application of the limitations imposed in subs. (1)
, and (9)
, the "campaign" of a candidate begins and ends at the times specified in this subsection.
In the case of a candidate who has not been a candidate in a previous election for which he or she continues to be registered under s. 11.05
, the "campaign" of the candidate begins when the candidate or the candidate's personal campaign committee is required to file a registration statement with the appropriate filing officer.
In the case of a candidate who has been a candidate in a previous election for which he or she continues to be registered under s. 11.05
, the "campaign" of the candidate begins on the day after the closing date for the period covered by the first financial report filed by or on behalf of the candidate subsequent to the date of the previous election, or if the candidate has incurred obligations from a previous campaign, the date on which the candidate receives sufficient contributions to retire those obligations, whichever is later, except that the "campaign" of a candidate at a special election begins when the candidate or the candidate's personal campaign committee is required to file or change the information on a registration statement as a result of the candidacy.
In the case of any candidate at the spring primary or election or the partisan primary or general election, the "campaign" of the candidate ends on June 30 or December 31 following the date on which the election or primary is held in which the candidate is elected or defeated, or the date on which the candidate receives sufficient contributions to retire any obligations incurred in connection with that contest, whichever is later. In the case of any candidate at a special primary or election, the "campaign" of the candidate ends on the last day of the month following the month in which the primary or election is held in which the candidate is elected or defeated, or the date on which the candidate receives sufficient contributions to retire any obligations incurred in connection with that contest, whichever is later.
The campaign of a candidate in a future election who has incurred obligations from a previous campaign may begin before the candidate receives sufficient contributions to retire all obligations incurred in connection with the previous campaign, but may not begin before the day after the closing date for the period covered by the first financial report filed by or on behalf of the candidate subsequent to the date of the previous election except as provided for a special election under par. (c)
Notwithstanding pars. (b)
, contributions for inaugural expenses paid by a candidate, personal campaign committee or support committee authorized under s. 11.05 (3) (p)
from a campaign depository account are subject to the limitations of this section, but the registrant paying the expenses may elect to charge the contributions to a present or possible future campaign of the individual in connection with whose inauguration the expenses are paid.
History: 1973 c. 334
; 1975 c. 93
, 119 (1)
; 1975 c. 200
; 1977 c. 107
; 1977 c. 427
; 1979 c. 263
; 1979 c. 355
; 1983 a. 183
; 1985 a. 303
; 1987 a. 27
; 1989 a. 31
; 1995 a. 27
s. 9145 (1)
; 1995 a. 219
; 1999 a. 32
; 2001 a. 109
; 2005 a. 177
; 2009 a. 89
; 2011 a. 32
; 2013 a. 153
; 2013 a. 168
NOTE: 1985 Wis. Act 303
, s. 1
, states legislative intent regarding political party and legislative campaign committees' independent expenditures.
Sub. (9) (a) does not violate the 1st amendment or equal protection; it is narrowly tailored to accomplish a legislative goal while allowing significant political expression. Gard v. State Elections Board, 156 Wis. 2d 28
, 456 N.W.2d 809
Sub. (4) is unconstitutional to the extent that it limits contributions to committees engaged solely in independent spending for political speech. Citizens United v. FEC
, 130 S. Ct. 876
, held that independent expenditures do not pose a threat of actual or apparent quid pro quo corruption, which is the only governmental interest strong enough to justify restrictions on political speech. Accordingly, applying the $10,000 aggregate annual cap to contributions made to organizations engaged only in independent spending for political speech violates the 1st amendment. Wisconsin Right to Life v. Barland et. al., 664 F.3d 139
The federal statute at issue in this case imposed two types of limits on campaign contributions: 1) base limits that restrict how much money a donor may contribute to a particular candidate or committee, and 2) aggregate limits that restrict how much money a donor may contribute in total to all candidates or committees. Base limits were previously upheld as serving the permissible objective of combatting corruption. The aggregate limits do little, if anything, to address that concern, while seriously restricting participation in the democratic process. The aggregate limits are therefore invalid under the First Amendment. McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, 572 U. S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 1434
, 188 L. Ed. 2d 468
Legislative campaign committees. 11.265(1)
No more than one legislative campaign committee may be established by the members of one political party in each house of the legislature.
A legislative campaign committee may accept no contributions and make no contributions or disbursements exceeding the amounts authorized for a political party under this chapter.
Amounts contributed by a legislative campaign committee to a political party are not subject to limitation by this chapter.
False reports and statements. 11.27(1)
No person may prepare or submit a false report or statement to a filing officer under this chapter.
In civil actions under this chapter, the acts of every member of a personal campaign committee are presumed to be with the knowledge and approval of the candidate, until it has been clearly proved that the candidate did not have knowledge of and approve the same.
History: 1973 c. 334
; 1979 c. 328
Communications for political purposes. 11.29(1)(1)
Nothing in this chapter restricts any corporation, cooperative, unincorporated cooperative association, or voluntary association other than a political party or personal campaign committee from making disbursements for the purpose of communicating only with its members, shareholders or subscribers to the exclusion of all other persons, with respect to endorsements of candidates, positions on a referendum or explanation of its views or interests, without reporting such activity. No such corporation, cooperative, or association may solicit contributions from persons who are not members, shareholders or subscribers to be used for such purposes.
Notwithstanding s. 11.12 (1)
, a political party committee may make single communications to its members at periodic intervals with respect to an explanation of its views or interests, a position on a referendum to be submitted to the voters, or endorsement of an entire slate of candidates at any jurisdictional level or levels. Such activity shall be reported by the party committee.
No communications medium may be utilized for communications authorized under this section unless the medium is restricted solely to members, shareholders or subscribers.
For purposes of this section, the members of a local or regional cooperative or unincorporated cooperative association are deemed to be members of a state cooperative or unincorporated cooperative association if the local or regional cooperative or unincorporated cooperative association is a member of the state cooperative or unincorporated cooperative association.
Attribution of political contributions, disbursements and communications. 11.30(1)
No disbursement may be made or obligation incurred anonymously, and no contribution or disbursement may be made or obligation incurred in a fictitious name or by one person or organization in the name of another for any political purpose.
The source of every printed advertisement, billboard, handbill, sample ballot, television or radio advertisement or other communication which is paid for by or through any contribution, disbursement or incurred obligation shall clearly appear thereon. This paragraph does not apply to communications for which reporting is not required under s. 11.06 (2)
Every such communication the cost of which is paid for or reimbursed by a committee or group, or for which a committee or group assumes responsibility, whether by the acceptance of a contribution or by the making of a disbursement, shall be identified by the words "Paid for by" followed by the name of the committee or group making the payment or reimbursement or assuming responsibility for the communication and the name of the treasurer or other authorized agent of such committee or group.
Every such communication which is directly paid for or reimbursed by an individual, including a candidate without a personal campaign committee who is serving as his or her own treasurer, or for which an individual assumes responsibility, whether by the acceptance of a contribution or by the making of a disbursement, shall be identified by the words "Paid for by" followed by the name of the candidate or other individual making the payment or reimbursement or assuming responsibility for the communication. No abbreviation may be used in identifying the name of a committee or group under this paragraph.
In addition to the requirements of pars. (a)
, a committee or individual required to file an oath under s. 11.06 (7)
shall also in every communication in support of or in opposition to any clearly identified candidate or candidates include the words "Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's agent or committee".
Communications under this section by a personal campaign committee may identify the committee or any bona fide subcommittee thereof.
The source of 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 appear thereon in the manner prescribed in pars. (b)
This subsection does not apply to the preparation and transmittal of personal correspondence or the production, wearing or display of a single personal item which is not reproduced or manufactured by machine or other equipment for sale or distribution to more than one individual.
This subsection does not apply to communications printed on pins, buttons, pens, balloons, nail files and similar small items on which the information required by this subsection cannot be conveniently printed. The board may, by rule, specify small items not mentioned in this paragraph to which this subsection shall not apply.
This subsection does not apply to nonadvertising material contained in a regularly published newsletter by an organization which is expressing its political views with respect to elections which are of concern to its membership, provided that distribution of such newsletter is restricted to such membership.
Notwithstanding par. (a)
, the attributions required by this subsection in written communications shall be readable, legible and readily accessible.
Notwithstanding pars. (a)
, any communication making a solicitation on behalf of more than one candidate for a joint fund raising effort or program pursuant to an escrow agreement under s. 11.16 (5)
may omit the names of the candidates or personal campaign committees assuming responsibility for the communication if the communication discloses that a joint fund raising effort or program is being conducted on behalf of named candidates.
No person may publish or disseminate, or cause to be published or disseminated any communication in violation of this subsection. A communications medium which in good faith relies on the representations of any person who places an advertisement with such medium as to the applicability of this subsection to such person does not violate this paragraph as a result of publication or dissemination of that advertisement based on such representations, provided that the representations are reasonable.
This subsection applies to the following persons who own any financial interest in a newspaper or periodical circulating in this state or in any radio or television station located in this state:
Every person occupying any office or position with an annual compensation over $300, under the constitution or laws of the United States or of this state or under an ordinance of any municipality of this state.
Every candidate or member of any committee or group under this chapter.
Any person named in par. (a)
is guilty of a violation of this chapter unless, before using the communications medium for political purposes other than as provided for in sub. (2)
, there is filed with the board a verified declaration specifically stating the communications medium in which the person has financial interest or over which the person has control and the exact nature and extent of the interest or control.
No owner or other person with a financial interest in a communications medium may utilize such medium in support of or in opposition to a candidate or referendum except as provided in this chapter.
This chapter shall not be construed to restrict coverage of bona fide news stories, interviews with candidates and other politically active individuals, editorial comment or editorials by any broadcasting station, cable television operator or producer, Internet site, or newspaper or other periodical publication, including an Internet or electronic publication, unless the communication is made by a candidate, personal campaign committee, support committee of a candidate authorized under s. 11.05 (3) (p)
, or a political party. Activities that are not restricted under this subsection are not subject to an attribution requirement under sub. (2)
and need not be reported as a contribution or disbursement.
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 registrant under s. 11.05
, the name of the treasurer of the person making payment.
This section is unconstitutional, as applied to the plaintiff's case — an individual advocating against the adoption of a local referendum. While the government's asserted interests: 1) to provide for an informed electorate; 2) to prevent corruption or the appearance thereof in the democratic process; and 3) to maintain the integrity of the electoral process, may be important and, even compelling in the context of regulating contributions in elections for public office, they are not relevant in referenda elections. Hatchett v. Barland, 816 F. Supp. 2d 583
Disbursement levels; calculation. 11.31(1)
The following levels of disbursements are established with reference to the candidates listed below. The levels do not operate to restrict the total amount of disbursements which are made or authorized to be made by any candidate in any primary or other election.
Candidates for lieutenant governor, $323,475.