19.49(2)(b)4.a. a. A recommendation to make a finding that probable cause exists to believe that one or more violations under subd. 1. have occurred or are occurring, together with a recommended course of action.
19.49(2)(b)4.b. b. A recommendation for further investigation of the matter together with facts supporting that course of action.
19.49(2)(b)4.c. c. A recommendation to terminate the investigation due to lack of sufficient evidence to indicate that a violation under subd. 1. has occurred or is occurring.
19.49(2)(b)5.a.a. If the commission finds that there is probable cause to believe that a violation under subd. 1. has occurred or is occurring, the commission may authorize the administrator to file a civil complaint against the alleged violator. In such case, the administrator may request the assistance of special counsel to prosecute any action brought by the commission. If the administrator requests the assistance of special counsel with respect to any matter, the administrator shall submit to the commission the names of 3 qualified individuals to serve as special counsel. The commission may retain one of the individuals to act as special counsel. The staff of the commission shall provide assistance to the special counsel as may be required by the counsel to carry out his or her responsibilities.
19.49(2)(b)5.b. b. The commission shall enter into a written contract with any individual who is retained as special counsel setting forth the terms of the engagement. The contract shall set forth the compensation to be paid such counsel by the state. The contract shall be executed on behalf of the state by the commission and the commission shall file the contract in the office of the secretary of state. The compensation shall be charged to the appropriation under s. 20.521 (1) (br).
19.49(2)(b)6. 6. No individual who is appointed or retained by the commission to serve as special counsel or as a special investigator is subject to approval under s. 20.930.
19.49(2)(b)7. 7. At the conclusion of its investigation, the commission 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 under subd. 1. has occurred or is occurring. If the commission determines that no probable cause exists, it shall dismiss the complaint. Whenever the commission dismisses a complaint or a complaint is deemed to be dismissed under subd. 4., the commission shall immediately send written notice of the dismissal to the accused and to the party who made the complaint.
19.49(2)(b)8. 8. The commission shall inform the accused or his or her counsel of exculpatory evidence in its possession.
19.49(2)(b)9. 9. If the commission finds that there is probable cause to believe that a violation under subd. 1. has occurred or is occurring, the commission may, in lieu of civil prosecution of any matter by the commission, refer the matter to the district attorney for the county in which the alleged violator resides, or if the alleged violator is a nonresident, to the district attorney for the county where the matter arises, or if par. (h) applies, to the attorney general or a special prosecutor. For purposes of this subdivision, a person other than an individual resides within a county if the person's principal place of operation is located within that county.
19.49(2)(b)10. 10. The commission shall, by rule, prescribe categories of civil offenses which the commission will agree to compromise and settle without a formal investigation upon payment of specified amounts by the alleged offender. The commission may authorize the administrator to compromise and settle such alleged offenses in the name of the commission if the alleged offenses by an offender, in the aggregate, do not involve payment of more than $2,500.
19.49(2)(b)11. 11. If a special investigator or the administrator, in the course of an investigation authorized by the commission, discovers evidence that a violation under subd. 1. that was not within the scope of the authorized investigation has occurred or is occurring, the special investigator or the administrator may present that evidence to the commission. If the commission finds that there is a reasonable suspicion that a violation under subd. 1. that is not within the scope of the authorized investigation has occurred or is occurring, the commission may authorize the special investigator or the administrator to investigate the alleged violation or may elect to authorize a separate investigation of the alleged violation as provided in subd. 3.
19.49(2)(b)12. 12. If a special investigator or the administrator, in the course of an investigation authorized by the commission, discovers evidence of a potential violation of a law that is not administered by the commission arising from or in relation to the official functions of the subject of the investigation or any matter that involves campaign finance, ethics, or lobbying regulation, the special investigator or the administrator may present that evidence to the commission. The commission may thereupon refer the matter to the appropriate district attorney specified in subd. 9. or may refer the matter to the attorney general. The attorney general may then commence a civil or criminal prosecution relating to the matter.
19.49(2)(b)13. 13. Except as provided in subd. 15., if the commission refers a matter to the district attorney specified in subd. 9. for prosecution of a potential violation under subd. 1. or 12. and the district attorney informs the commission that he or she declines to prosecute any alleged civil or criminal violation related to any matter referred to the district attorney by the commission, or the district attorney fails to commence a prosecution of any civil or criminal violation related to any matter referred to the district attorney by the commission within 60 days of the date of the commission's referral, the commission may refer the matter to the district attorney for another prosecutorial unit that is contiguous to the prosecutorial unit of the district attorney to whom the matter was originally referred. If there is more than one such prosecutorial unit, the chairperson of the commission shall determine the district attorney to whom the matter shall be referred by publicly drawing lots at a meeting of the commission. The district attorney may then commence a civil or criminal prosecution relating to the matter.
19.49(2)(b)14. 14. Except as provided in subd. 15., if the commission refers a matter to a district attorney under subd. 13. for prosecution of a potential violation under subd. 1. or 12. and the district attorney informs the commission that he or she declines to prosecute any alleged civil or criminal violation related to any matter referred to the district attorney by the commission, or the district attorney fails to commence a prosecution of any civil or criminal violation related to any matter referred to the district attorney by the commission within 60 days of the date of the commission's referral, the commission may refer the matter to the attorney general. The attorney general may then commence a civil or criminal prosecution relating to the matter.
19.49(2)(b)15. 15. The commission is not authorized to act under subd. 13. or 14. if a special prosecutor is appointed under s. 978.045 in lieu of the district attorney specified in subd. 9.
19.49(2)(b)16. 16. Whenever the commission refers a matter to special counsel or to a district attorney or to the attorney general under this subsection, the special counsel, district attorney, or attorney general shall report to the commission concerning any action taken regarding the matter. The report shall be transmitted no later than 40 days after the date of the referral. If the matter is not disposed of during that period, the special counsel, district attorney, or attorney general shall file a subsequent report at the end of each 30-day period following the filing of the initial report until final disposition of the matter.
19.49(2)(c)1.1. No individual who serves as the administrator may have been a lobbyist, as defined in s. 13.62 (11). No such individual may have served in a partisan state or local office.
19.49(2)(c)2. 2. No employee of the commission, while so employed, may become a candidate, as defined in s. 11.0101 (1), for a state or partisan local office. No individual who is retained by the commission to serve as a special investigator or as special counsel may, while so retained, become a candidate, as defined in s. 11.0101 (1), for any state or local office. A filing officer shall decline to accept nomination papers or a declaration of candidacy from any individual who does not qualify to become a candidate under this paragraph.
19.49(2)(d) (d) No individual who serves as an employee of the commission and no individual who is retained by the commission to serve as a special investigator or a special counsel may, while so employed or retained, make a contribution, as defined in s. 11.0101 (8), to a candidate for state or local office. No individual who serves as an employee of the commission and no individual who is retained by the commission to serve as a special investigator or as special counsel, for 12 months prior to becoming so employed or retained, may have made a contribution, as defined in s. 11.0101 (8), to a candidate for a partisan state or local office.
19.49(2)(e) (e) Pursuant to any investigation authorized under par. (b), the commission has the power:
19.49(2)(e)1. 1. To require any person to submit in writing such reports and answers to questions relevant to the proceedings as the commission may prescribe, such submission to be made within such period and under oath or otherwise as the commission may determine.
19.49(2)(e)2. 2. To order testimony to be taken by deposition before any individual who is designated by the commission 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. (1) (a).
19.49(2)(e)3. 3. To pay witnesses the same fees and mileage as are paid in like circumstances by the courts of this state.
19.49(2)(e)4. 4. 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.
19.49(2)(f)1.1. Except as provided in subd. 2., no action may be taken on any complaint that is filed later than 3 years after a violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter is alleged to have occurred.
19.49(2)(f)2. 2. The period of limitation under subd. 1. is tolled for a complaint alleging a violation of s. 19.45 (13) or 19.59 (1) (br) for the period during which such a complaint may not be filed under sub. (1m) or s. 19.59 (8) (cm).
19.49(2)(g) (g) If the defendant in an action for a civil violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter is a district attorney or a circuit judge or a candidate for either such office, the action shall be brought by the commission. If the defendant in an action for a civil violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter is the attorney general or a candidate for that office, the commission may appoint special counsel to bring suit on behalf of the state.
19.49(2)(h) (h) If the defendant in an action for a criminal violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter is a district attorney or a circuit judge or a candidate for either such office, the action shall be brought by the attorney general. If the defendant in an action for a criminal violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter is the attorney general or a candidate for that office, the commission may appoint a special prosecutor to conduct the prosecution on behalf of the state.
19.49(2)(i) (i) Any special counsel or prosecutor who is appointed under par. (g) or (h) shall be independent of the attorney general and need not be a state employee at the time of his or her appointment.
19.49(2)(j) (j) The commission's power to initiate civil actions under this subsection for the enforcement of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter shall be the exclusive remedy for alleged civil violations of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter.
19.49(2g) (2g)Auditing. In addition to the facial examination of reports and statements required under s. 11.1304 (9), the commission shall conduct an audit of reports and statements which are required to be filed with it to determine whether violations of ch. 11 have occurred. The commission may examine records relating to matters required to be treated in such reports and statements. The commission shall make official note in the file of a committee, as defined in s. 11.0101 (6), of any error or other discrepancy which the commission discovers and shall inform the person submitting the report or statement. The board [commission] may not audit reports, statements, or records beyond the 3-year period for which a committee must retain records under ch. 11.
19.49 Note NOTE: Sub. (2g) is shown as affected by 2015 Wis. Act 117, section 2, and 2015 Wis. Act 118, section 12, as merged by the legislative reference bureau under s. 13.92 (2) (i). The correct term is shown in brackets. Corrective legislation is pending.
19.49(2q) (2q)Supplemental funding for ongoing investigations. The commission may request supplemental funds to be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.521 (1) (be) for the purpose of continuing an ongoing investigation initiated under sub. (2). A request under this subsection shall be filed with the secretary of administration and the cochairpersons of the joint committee on finance in writing and shall contain a statement of the action requested, the purposes therefor, the statutory provision authorizing or directing the performance of the action, and information about the nature of the investigation for which the commission seeks supplemental funds, excluding the name of any individual or organization that is the subject of the investigation. If the cochairpersons of the joint committee on finance do not notify the secretary of administration that the committee has scheduled a meeting for the purpose of reviewing the request within 14 working days after the commission filed the request, the secretary shall supplement the appropriation under s. 20.521 (1) (be) from the appropriation under s. 20.505 (1) (d) in an amount not to exceed the amount the commission requested. If, within 14 working days after the commission filed the request, the cochairpersons of the joint committee on finance notify the secretary that the committee has scheduled a meeting for the purpose of reviewing the commission's request under this subsection, the secretary may supplement the appropriation under s. 20.521 (1) (be) only with the committee's approval. The committee and the secretary shall notify the commission of all their actions taken under this subsection.
19.49 History History: 2015 a. 117 s. 2; 2015 a 118 ss. 12, 15, 195; s. 13.92 (2) (i).
19.50 19.50 Unauthorized release of records or information.
19.50(1)(1) Except as specifically authorized by law and except as provided in sub. (2), no investigator, prosecutor, employee of an investigator or prosecutor, or member or employee of the commission may disclose information related to an investigation or prosecution under ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter or any other law specified in s. 978.05 (1) or (2) or provide access to any record of the investigator, prosecutor, or the commission that is not subject to access under s. 19.55 (3) to any person other than an employee or agent of the prosecutor or investigator or a member, employee, or agent of the commission prior to presenting the information or record in a court of law.
19.50(2) (2) This section does not apply to any of the following communications made by an investigator, prosecutor, employee of an investigator or prosecutor, or member or employee of the commission:
19.50(2)(a) (a) Communications made in the normal course of an investigation or prosecution.
19.50(2)(b) (b) Communications with a local, state, or federal law enforcement or prosecutorial authority.
19.50(2)(c) (c) Communications made to the attorney of an investigator, prosecutor, employee, or member of the commission or to a person or the attorney of a person who is investigated or prosecuted by the commission.
19.50 History History: 2015 a. 118.
19.55 19.55 Public inspection of records.
19.55(1) (1) Except as provided in subs. (2) to (4), all records under ch. 11, this subchapter, or subch. III of ch. 13 in the possession of the commission are open to public inspection at all reasonable times. The commission 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 commission'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 commission 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.
19.55(2) (2) The following records in the commission's possession are not open for public inspection:
19.55(2)(c) (c) Statements of economic interests and reports of economic transactions which are filed with the commission by members or employees of the investment board, except that the commission 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.
19.55(2)(d) (d) 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 children and families for purposes of administration of s. 49.22, to the department of revenue for purposes of administration of s. 73.0301, and to the department of workforce development for purposes of administration of s. 108.227.
19.55(3) (3) Records obtained or prepared by the commission in connection with an investigation, including the full text of any complaint received by the commission, are not subject to the right of inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1), except as follows:
19.55(3)(a) (a) The commission shall permit inspection of records that are distributed or discussed in the course of a meeting or hearing by the commission in open session.
19.55(3)(am) (am) The commission shall provide to the joint committee on finance records obtained or prepared by the commission in connection with an ongoing investigation when required under s. 19.49 (2q).
19.55(3)(b) (b) Investigatory records of the commission may be made public in the course of a prosecution initiated under ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter.
19.55(3)(bm) (bm) The commission shall provide investigatory records to the state auditor and the employees of the legislative audit bureau to the extent necessary for the bureau to carry out its duties under s. 13.94.
19.55(3)(c) (c) The commission shall 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 children and families or by a county child support agency under s. 59.53 (5).
19.55(3)(d) (d) If the commission commences a civil prosecution of a person for an alleged violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter as the result of an investigation, the person who is the subject of the investigation may authorize the commission to make available for inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1) records of the investigation pertaining to that person if the records are available by law to the subject person and the commission shall then make those records available.
19.55(3)(e) (e) The following records of the commission are open to public inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1):
19.55(3)(e)1. 1. Any record of the action of the commission authorizing the filing of a civil complaint under s. 19.49 (2) (b) 5.
19.55(3)(e)2. 2. Any record of the action of the commission referring a matter to a district attorney or other prosecutor for investigation or prosecution.
19.55(3)(e)3. 3. Any record containing a finding that a complaint does not raise a reasonable suspicion that a violation of the law has occurred.
19.55(3)(e)4. 4. Any record containing a finding, following an investigation, that no probable cause exists to believe that a violation of the law has occurred.
19.55(4) (4)
19.55(4)(a)(a) Except as authorized or required under par. (b), records obtained in connection with a request for an advisory opinion issued under s. 19.46 (2), 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, are not subject to the right of inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1). Except as authorized or required under par. (b), the commission shall make sufficient alterations in the summaries to prevent disclosing the identities of individuals or organizations involved in the opinions.
19.55(4)(b) (b) The commission may make records obtained in connection with an informal advisory opinion under par. (a) public with the consent of the individual requesting the informal 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 informal advisory opinion requested by or on behalf of the person is deemed to have waived the confidentiality of the request for an informal advisory opinion and of any records obtained or prepared by the commission in connection with the request for an informal advisory opinion.
19.55(4)(c) (c) Within 30 days after completing an investigation related to and the preparation of a formal advisory opinion on a matter under the jurisdiction of the commission, the commission shall make public the formal advisory opinion and records obtained in connection with the request for the formal advisory opinion, replacing the identity of any organization or governmental body on whose behalf the formal opinion is requested with generic, descriptive terms. The commission shall redact information related to the identity of any natural person making the request.
19.55 Annotation 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. 68 Atty. Gen. 378.
19.552 19.552 Action to compel compliance. Whenever a violation of the laws regulating campaign financing occurs or is proposed to occur, the attorney general or the district attorney of the county where the violation occurs or is proposed to occur may sue for injunctive relief, a writ of mandamus or prohibition, or other such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to compel compliance with the law. No bond is required in such actions.
19.552 History History: 2015 a. 118.
19.554 19.554 Petition for enforcement. In addition to or in lieu of filing a complaint, any elector may file a verified petition alleging such facts as are within his or her knowledge to indicate that an election official has failed or is failing to comply with any law regulating campaign financing or proposes to act in a manner inconsistent with such a law, and requesting that an action be commenced for injunctive relief, a writ of mandamus or prohibition or other such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to compel compliance with the law. The petition shall be filed with the district attorney for the county having jurisdiction to prosecute the alleged failure to comply under s. 978.05 (1) and (2). The district attorney may then commence the action or dismiss the petition. If the district attorney declines to act upon the petition or if the district attorney fails to act upon the petition within 15 days of the date of filing, the petitioner may file the same petition with the attorney general, who may then commence the action.
19.554 History History: 2015 a. 118.
19.56 19.56 Honorariums, fees and expenses.
19.56(1) (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.
19.56(2) (2)
19.56(2)(a)(a) 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.
19.56(2)(b) (b) 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:
19.56(2)(b)1. 1. The official returns to the payor within 30 days of receipt;
19.56(2)(b)2. 2. Is paid to the official by a person identified on the official's statement of economic interests under s. 19.44 (1) (e) or (f) as a source of income;
19.56(2)(b)3. 3. 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);
19.56(2)(b)4. 4. The official has previously reported to the commission as a matter of public record;
19.56(2)(b)5. 5. 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
19.56(2)(b)6. 6. Is made available to the official by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation or the department of tourism in accordance with sub. (3) (e), (em) or (f).
19.56(3) (3) Notwithstanding s. 19.45:
19.56(3)(a) (a) 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.
19.56(3)(b) (b) 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).
19.56(3)(c) (c) 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.
19.56(3)(d) (d) 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.
19.56(3)(e) (e) A state public official who is an officer or employee of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation may solicit, receive and retain on behalf of the state anything of value for the purpose of any of the following:
19.56(3)(e)1. 1. The sponsorship by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation of a trip to a foreign country primarily to promote trade between that country and this state that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation can demonstrate through clear and convincing evidence is primarily for the benefit of this state.
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2015-16 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2017 Wis. Act 7 and all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders effective on or before May 26, 2017. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after May 26, 2017 are designated by NOTES. (Published 5-26-17)