Declaration of policy.
Determination of filing officer.
Registration and voting drives.
Registration of political committees, groups and individuals.
Financial report information; application; funding procedure.
Designation of agent by nonresident individuals, committees and groups.
Reports by party committees.
Duplicate reports required in certain cases.
Campaign treasurers and campaign depositories.
Campaign contributions and disbursements; reports.
Deposit of contributions.
Campaign contributions and disbursements; restrictions.
Treatment of loan guarantees.
Dissolution of registrants; termination reports.
Duties of the elections board.
Duties of local filing officer.
Political groups and individuals; referendum questions.
Unlawful political contributions.
Unlawful political disbursements and obligations.
Limitation on contributions.
Legislative campaign committees.
False reports and statements.
Communications for political purposes.
Identification of political contributions, disbursements and communications.
Disbursement levels and limitations; calculation.
Compensation for political advertisements.
Use of government materials by candidates.
Solicitation of contributions from candidates restricted.
Political solicitation involving public officials and employes restricted.
Travel by public officers.
Contributions and disbursements by corporations and cooperatives.
Special privileges from public utilities.
Wisconsin election campaign fund.
Criminal penalties; prosecution.
Defense fund authorized.
Elector may compel compliance.
Ch. 11 Cross-reference
See definitions in s. 5.02
Declaration of policy. 11.001(1)
The legislature finds and declares that our democratic system of government can be maintained only if the electorate is informed. It further finds that excessive spending on campaigns for public office jeopardizes the integrity of elections. It is desirable to encourage the broadest possible participation in financing campaigns by all citizens of the state, and to enable candidates to have an equal opportunity to present their programs to the voters. One of the most important sources of information to the voters is available through the campaign finance reporting system. Campaign reports provide information which aids the public in fully understanding the public positions taken by a candidate or political organization. When the true source of support or extent of support is not fully disclosed, or when a candidate becomes overly dependent upon large private contributors, the democratic process is subjected to a potential corrupting influence. The legislature therefore finds that the state has a compelling interest in designing a system for fully disclosing contributions and disbursements made on behalf of every candidate for public office, and in placing reasonable limitations on such activities. Such a system must make readily available to the voters complete information as to who is supporting or opposing which candidate or cause and to what extent, whether directly or indirectly. This chapter is intended to serve the public purpose of stimulating vigorous campaigns on a fair and equal basis and to provide for a better informed electorate.
This chapter is also intended to ensure fair and impartial elections by precluding officeholders from utilizing the perquisites of office at public expense in order to gain an advantage over nonincumbent candidates who have no perquisites available to them.
This chapter is declared to be enacted pursuant to the power of the state to protect the integrity of the elective process and to assure the maintenance of free government.
Campaign finance in Wisconsin after Buckley. 1976 WLR 816.
This chapter shall be construed to impose the least possible restraint on persons or organizations whose activities do not directly affect the elective process, consistent with the right of the public to have a full, complete and readily understandable accounting of those activities intended to influence elections.
History: 1979 c. 328
As used in this chapter:
"Candidate" means every person for whom it is contemplated or desired that votes be cast at any election held within this state, other than an election for national office, whether or not the person is elected or nominated, and who either tacitly or expressly consents to be so considered. A person does not cease to be a candidate for purposes of compliance with this chapter or ch. 12
after the date of an election and no person is released from any requirement or liability otherwise imposed under this chapter or ch. 12
by virtue of the passing of the date of an election.
"Charitable organization" means any organization described in section 170
(c) (2) of the internal revenue code, and also includes the United States, any state, territory or possession, the District of Columbia and any political subdivision thereof, when a gift is made exclusively for public purposes; but does not include any private organization conducting activities for political purposes.
"Clearly identified", when used with reference to a communication in support of or in opposition to a candidate, means: