A qualifying contribution may be utilized only for the purpose of making 8
a disbursement authorized by law.
911.503 Time of application. (1)
Before a candidate may be certified as 10
eligible for receipt of a public financing benefit for the spring election, the candidate 11
shall apply to the board and file a sworn statement that the candidate has fulfilled 12
all the requirements of ss. 11.502 to 11.522 during the primary election campaign 13
period and will comply with such requirements during the election campaign period. 14
Except as authorized in s. 8.35 (4) (b), the application shall be filed no later than the 15
7th day after the date of the spring primary or the day on which the primary election 16
would be held if a primary were required.
The board shall certify a candidate as an eligible candidate for receipt of a 18
public financing benefit for the spring election if the candidate complies with sub. (1) 19
and the candidate was an eligible candidate during the primary election campaign 20
2111.505 Agreement by candidate.
An eligible candidate who accepts a public 22
financing benefit under ss. 11.502 to 11.522 during the primary election campaign 23
period shall agree to comply with all requirements of ss. 11.502 to 11.522 throughout 24
the election campaign period during the same campaign as a precondition to receipt 25
of a public financing benefit. An eligible candidate who accepts a public financing
benefit during a primary election campaign period may not elect to accept private 2
contributions in violation of ss. 11.502 to 11.522 during the corresponding election 3
411.506 Requirements imposed upon candidates. (1)
An eligible 5
candidate shall not accept private contributions other than seed money 6
contributions and qualifying contributions that the candidate accepts during the 7
exploratory period and the public financing qualifying period.
In addition to reports required to be filed under ss. 11.12 (5) and 11.20, a 9
candidate who receives a public financing benefit shall furnish complete financial 10
records, including records of seed money contributions, qualifying contributions, and 11
disbursements, to the board on the 15th or the last day of the month that 12
immediately follows the receipt of the contribution or the making of the 13
disbursement, whichever comes first, except that during July, August, and 14
September records need only be furnished by the last day of the month. Each such 15
candidate shall cooperate with any audit or examination by the board.
In addition to adhering to requirements imposed under ss. 11.06 (5) and 17
11.12 (3), a candidate who receives a public financing benefit shall maintain records 18
of all contributions received by the candidate of more than $5 but less than $50, 19
including seed money contributions and qualifying contributions, which shall 20
contain the full name of the contributor and the contributor's full home address. In 21
addition, if a contributor's aggregate contributions to any candidate exceed $50 for 22
any campaign, the candidate shall also maintain a record of the contributor's 23
principal occupation and the name and business address of the contributor's place 24
The failure to record or provide the information specified in sub. (3) 2
disqualifies a contribution from being used by a candidate as a qualifying 3
No eligible candidate and no person acting on a candidate's behalf may 5
deposit any contribution that is not recorded in accordance with sub. (3) in a 6
candidate's campaign depository account.
No eligible candidate may accept more than $25 in cash from any 8
contributor. No eligible candidate may accept cash from all sources in a total amount 9
greater than one-tenth of 1 percent of the public financing benefit for the office that 10
the candidate seeks or $500, whichever is greater.
1111.507 Personal funds of candidates.
The personal funds of a candidate 12
contributed as seed money contributions may not exceed an aggregate amount of 13
No eligible candidate may make any disbursement derived from personal 15
funds after the close of the public financing qualifying period.
1611.508 Seed money contributions. (1)
An eligible candidate may accept 17
seed money contributions from any individual or committee prior to the end of the 18
public financing qualifying period, provided the total contributions received from one 19
contributor, except personal funds and qualifying contributions otherwise permitted 20
under ss. 11.502 to 11.522, do not exceed $100, and the aggregate contributions, 21
including personal funds, but not including qualifying contributions, do not exceed 22
An eligible candidate may make disbursements derived from seed money 24
contributions only during the exploratory period and the public financing qualifying 25
111.509 Excess contributions.
If an eligible candidate receives excess seed 2
money contributions or qualifying contributions on an aggregate basis, the 3
candidate may retain the contributions and make disbursements derived from the 4
contributions, in an amount not exceeding $15,000. An amount equivalent to the 5
excess contributions shall be deducted by the board from the candidate's public 6
financing benefit. An eligible candidate shall transfer to the board all seed money 7
and qualifying contributions that exceed the limits prescribed in this section within 8
48 hours after the end of the exploratory period. The board shall deposit all 9
contributions transferred under this section in the democracy trust fund.
1011.51 Certification by candidate. (1)
To apply for a public financing benefit, 11
a candidate shall certify to the board that the candidate has complied and will 12
comply, throughout the applicable campaign, with all requirements of ss. 11.502 to 13
11.522 and that all disclosures required as of the time of application have been made, 14
and shall present evidence of the requisite number of qualifying contributions 15
received by the candidate. The candidate's request for certification shall be signed 16
by the candidate and the candidate's campaign treasurer.
The board shall distribute to each eligible candidate at the spring primary 18
election a check for the amount of the public financing benefit payable to the 19
candidate promptly after the candidate demonstrates his or her eligibility and, in 20
any event, not later than 5 days after the end of the public financing qualifying 21
period; however, no candidate may utilize a check received under this subsection 22
until the beginning of the primary election campaign period.
The board shall distribute to each eligible candidate for justice at a spring 24
election a check for the amount of the public financing benefit payable to the 25
candidate not later than 48 hours after the date of the spring primary election for the
office of justice, or the date that the primary election would be held if a primary were 2
required. However, no candidate for a particular office shall receive a check until all 3
candidates for the office of justice who apply and qualify for a public financing benefit 4
have been certified as eligible candidates.
If any candidate who receives a public financing benefit violates the 6
requirements of ss. 11.502 to 11.522, the board shall require the candidate to repay 7
all public funds received by the candidate to the board. The board shall deposit all 8
repayments received under this subsection in the democracy trust fund.
911.511 Public financing benefits. (1)
The board shall provide to each 10
eligible candidate who qualifies to receive a public financing benefit for the primary 11
or election campaign period separate checks for the public financing benefits payable 12
to the candidate for the primary and election campaign periods in the amounts 13
specified in this section, subject to any required adjustment under s. 11.509, 11.512 14
(2) or 11.513 (2). An eligible candidate may use this public financing benefit to 15
finance any lawful disbursements during the primary and election campaign periods 16
to further the election of the candidate in that primary or election. An eligible 17
candidate shall not use this public financing benefit to repay any loan, or in violation 18
of ss. 11.502 to 11.522 or any other applicable law.
Except as provided in ss. 11.512 (2) and 11.513 (2), the public financing 20
benefit for a primary election campaign period is $100,000.
Except as provided in ss. 11.512 (2) and 11.513 (2), the public financing 22
benefit for an election campaign period is $300,000.
If there is no spring primary for the office of justice, no eligible candidate 24
may receive a public financing benefit for the primary election campaign period.
An eligible candidate who receives a public financing benefit in the 2
primary election campaign period and whose name is certified to appear on the ballot 3
at the election following that primary may utilize any unencumbered balance of the 4
public financing benefit received by the candidate in the primary election campaign 5
period for the election campaign period.
Except as permitted in sub. (5g), an eligible candidate who receives a 7
public financing benefit and who does not encumber or expend some portion of the 8
benefit for a purpose described in sub. (1) shall return any unencumbered portion of 9
the benefit to the board within 30 days after the primary or election in which the 10
Notwithstanding subs. (2) and (3), beginning on July 1, 2012, and every 2 12
years thereafter, the board shall modify the public financing benefits provided for in 13
subs. (2) and (3) to adjust for the change in the consumer price index, all items, U.S. 14
city average, published by the U.S. department of labor for the preceding 2-year 15
period ending on December 31.
1611.512 Financial activity by nonparticipating candidates. (1)
addition to other reports required by law, a nonparticipating candidate for an office 18
at a primary or election who receives contributions or makes or obligates to make 19
disbursements in an amount that is more than 5 percent greater than the public 20
financing benefit applicable to an eligible candidate for the same office at the same 21
primary or election shall file a report with the board itemizing the total contributions 22
received and disbursements made or obligated to be made by the candidate as of the 23
date of the report. The board shall transmit copies of the report to all candidates for 24
the same office at the same election. A nonparticipating candidate shall file 25
additional reports after the candidate receives each additional $1,000 of
contributions, or the candidate makes or obligates to make each additional $1,000 2
of disbursements. If such contributions are received or such disbursements are made 3
or obligated to be made more than 6 weeks prior to the date of the primary election 4
at which the name of the candidate appears on the ballot, or prior to the date that 5
the primary election would be held, if a primary were required, the reports shall be 6
made at the next regular reporting interval under s. 11.506. If such contributions 7
are received or such disbursements made or obligated to be made within 6 weeks 8
prior to the date of the primary election at which the name of the candidate appears 9
on the ballot, or within 6 weeks prior to the date that the primary election would be 10
held, if a primary were required, the reports shall be made within 24 hours after each 11
instance in which such contributions are received, or such disbursements are made 12
or obligated to be made.
Upon receipt of such information, the state treasurer shall immediately 14
issue a check to an opposing eligible candidate in an additional amount equivalent 15
to the total excess disbursements made or obligated to be made, but not to exceed 3 16
times the public financing benefit for the applicable office.
1711.513 Independent disbursements. (1)
If any person makes, or becomes 18
obligated to make, by oral or written agreement, an independent disbursement in 19
excess of $1,000 with respect to a candidate for the office of justice at a spring primary 20
or election, that person shall file with the board a notice of the disbursement or 21
obligation to make the disbursement. Any such person shall file reports of such 22
disbursements or obligations to make such disbursements on the 15th or last day of 23
the month that immediately follows the date of the disbursement or the obligation 24
to make the disbursement, whichever comes first, except that, within 6 weeks prior 25
to the date of the spring primary election, if a primary is held, and within 6 weeks
prior to the date of the spring election, the person shall file such reports within 24 2
hours after each independent disbursement is made or obligated to be made. Any 3
such person shall file an additional report after each additional $1,000 of 4
disbursements are made or obligated to be made.
When the aggregate independent disbursements against an eligible 6
candidate for an office or for the opponents of that candidate exceed 120 percent of 7
the public financing benefit for that office in any campaign, the board shall 8
immediately credit that candidate's account with an additional line of credit 9
equivalent to the total disbursements made or obligated to be made, but not to exceed 10
3 times the public financing benefit for the applicable office.
1111.515 Democracy trust fund.
The democracy trust fund shall be 12
administered by the state treasurer.
Except as otherwise specifically provided in ss. 14
11.501 to 11.522, the duties of and authority for administering and enforcing ss. 15
11.501 to 11.522 are vested in the board.
1611.517 Penalties; enforcement. (1)
Notwithstanding s. 11.60 (1), if an 17
eligible candidate makes disbursements that exceed the total amount of the public 18
financing benefit allocated to the candidate for any campaign and the total 19
qualifying and seed money contributions lawfully accepted by the candidate, the 20
candidate may be required to forfeit not more than 10 times the amount by which the 21
disbursements exceed the allocation.
Notwithstanding s. 11.60 (1), any eligible candidate who accepts 23
contributions in excess of any limitation imposed under ss. 11.502 to 11.522 may be 24
required to forfeit not more than 10 times the amount by which the contributions 25
exceed the applicable limitation.
If the board finds that there is probable cause to believe that an eligible 2
candidate has made excess disbursements or has accepted excess contributions 3
contrary to sub. (1) or (2), the board shall attempt for a period of not more than 14 4
days after its finding to correct the matter by informal methods of conference and 5
conciliation and to enter into a settlement and conciliation agreement under s. 5.05 6
(1) (c) with the person involved. A settlement and conciliation agreement made 7
pursuant to this subsection shall be a matter of public record. Unless violated, a 8
settlement and conciliation agreement is a bar to any civil action under sub. (4).
If the board has probable cause to believe that an eligible candidate has 10
made excess disbursements or has accepted excess contributions and the board is 11
unable to correct the matter by informal methods within the time prescribed in sub. 12
(3), the board shall make a public finding of probable cause in the matter. After 13
making a public finding, the board may bring a civil action against the eligible 14
candidate as provided in s. 5.05 (1) (c).
If an elector believes that an eligible candidate has violated ss. 11.502 to 16
11.522 and the elector is entitled to vote for or against the eligible candidate in the 17
election in connection with which the violation is alleged to occur, the elector may file 18
a complaint with the board requesting it to take remedial action. If the board refuses 19
to take remedial action or, within 30 days after the filing of such a complaint, fails 20
to take remedial action, the elector may commence a civil action requesting the court 21
to impose a forfeiture under sub. (1) or (2) in circuit court for the county where the 22
board is authorized to bring an action under s. 5.05 (1) (c).
The board and courts shall expedite all proceedings under ss. 11.502 to 24
11.522 so that all complaints brought prior to an election are resolved, to the extent 25
possible, before the election is held.
If a complaint brought under ss. 11.502 to 11.522 is resolved against the 2
complainant and is found to have been brought in bad faith and without reasonable 3
basis therefor, the board or court may assess costs, including reasonable attorney 4
fees, against the complainant.
511.518 Prohibited acts. (1)
Notwithstanding s. 11.61 (1) (c), if an eligible 6
candidate or agent of a candidate knowingly accepts more contributions than the 7
candidate is entitled to receive, or makes disbursements exceeding the total amount 8
of the public financing benefit received by the candidate and the qualifying and seed 9
money contributions lawfully received by the candidate, the candidate or agent is 10
guilty of a Class G felony.
Notwithstanding s. 11.61 (1) (c), if in connection with the receipt or 12
disbursement of a public financing benefit for an election campaign, any person 13
knowingly provides false information to the board, or knowingly conceals or 14
withholds information from the board, that person is guilty of a Class G felony.
1511.522 Contributions to nonparticipating candidates; attributions. (1) 16
A nonparticipating candidate may accept contributions from private sources without 17
limitation, except that no person may make any contribution or contributions to a 18
nonparticipating candidate exceeding a total of $1,000 during any campaign.
In addition to the attribution required under s. 11.30 (2), any electronic or 20
print communication paid for or authorized by a nonparticipating candidate shall 21
contain the following sentence: "This communication is paid for with money raised 22
from private sources. This candidate has not agreed to abide by campaign 23
contribution and spending limits."
AB65, s. 18
11.60 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
Except as otherwise provided in ss. 5.05 (2m) (c) 15. and 16. and (h), 2
5.08, and 5.081, actions under this section or 11.517
may be brought by the board or 3
by the district attorney for the county where the defendant resides or, if the 4
defendant is a nonresident, by the district attorney for the county where the violation 5
is alleged to have occurred. For purposes of this subsection, a person other than a 6
natural person resides within a county if the person's principal place of operation is 7
located within that county.
AB65, s. 19
11.61 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
Except as otherwise provided in ss. 5.05 (2m) (c) 15. and 16. and (i), 10
5.08, and 5.081, all prosecutions under this section or s. 11.518
shall be conducted 11
by the district attorney for the county where the defendant resides or, if the 12
defendant is a nonresident, by the district attorney for the county where the violation 13
is alleged to have occurred. For purposes of this subsection, a person other than a 14
natural person resides within a county if the person's principal place of operation is 15
located within that county.
AB65, s. 20
20.005 (3) (schedule) of the statutes: at the appropriate place, 17
insert the following amounts for the purposes indicated:
- See PDF for table
AB65, s. 21
20.511 (1) (r) of the statutes is created to read:
(r) Democracy trust fund administration.
From the democracy trust 3
fund, the amounts in the schedule for the administration of ss. 11.501 to 11.522.
AB65, s. 22
20.585 (1) (q) of the statutes is created to read:
(q) Public financing benefits; candidates for justice.
From the 6
democracy trust fund, a sum sufficient to provide for payment of public financing 7
benefits to eligible candidates under ss. 11.501 to 11.522.
AB65, s. 23
20.585 (1) (r) of the statutes is created to read:
(r) Democracy trust fund administration.
From the democracy trust 10
fund, the amounts in the schedule for the administration of ss. 11.501 to 11.522.
AB65, s. 24
20.855 (4) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) (title) Election campaign
A sum sufficient equal 13
to one-third of
the amounts determined under s. 71.10 (3) to be paid into the 14
Wisconsin election campaign fund annually on August 15.
AB65, s. 25
20.855 (4) (ba) of the statutes is created to read:
(ba) Democracy trust fund payments.
A sum sufficient equal to 17
two-thirds of the amounts determined under s. 71.10 (3) to be paid into the 18
democracy trust fund annually on August 15.
AB65, s. 26
20.855 (4) (bb) of the statutes is created to read:
(bb) Democracy trust fund transfer.
A sum sufficient equal to the 2
difference between the unencumbered balance in the democracy trust fund and the 3
sum of the amounts appropriated under ss. 20.511 (1) (r) and 20.585 (1) (r) and the 4
amounts required to provide public financing benefits that candidates qualify to 5
receive from the democracy trust fund, to be transferred from the general fund to the 6
democracy trust fund no later than the time required to make payments of grants 7
under s. 11.51 (2) and (3).
AB65, s. 27
25.17 (1) (cm) of the statutes is created to read:
(cm) Democracy trust fund (s. 25.421);
AB65, s. 28
25.421 of the statutes is created to read:
1125.421 Democracy trust fund.
All moneys appropriated under s. 20.855 (4) 12
(ba) and (bb) and all moneys deposited in the state treasury under ss. 11.509, 11.51 13
(4), and 11.511 (5r) constitute the democracy trust fund, to be expended for the 14
purposes of ss. 11.501 to 11.522.
AB65, s. 29
71.10 (3) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Every individual filing an income tax return who has a tax liability 17
or is entitled to a tax refund may designate $1 $3
for the Wisconsin election campaign 18
fund and the democracy trust fund
for the use of eligible candidates under s. ss.
11.50 19and 11.51
. If the individuals filing a joint return have a tax liability or are entitled 20
to a tax refund, each individual may make a designation of $1 $3
under this 21
(1) The treatment of section 71.10 (3) (a) of the statutes first applies to taxable 24
years beginning on January 1 of the year in which this subsection takes effect, except 25
that if this subsection takes effect after July 31 the treatment first applies to taxable
years beginning on January 1 of the year following the year in which this subsection 2
This act takes effect on December 1 following the date of publication.