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LRB-3466/1
JTK:wlj:rs
2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
March 3, 2014 - Introduced by Senators Lazich and S. Fitzgerald. Referred to
Elections and Urban Affairs.
SB654,1,3 1An Act to renumber and amend 11.01 (16) (b); to amend 11.01 (16) (intro.) and
211.01 (16) (a) (intro.); to repeal and recreate 11.01 (16) (a) 1.; and to create
311.01 (16) (b) 1. of the statutes; relating to: disclosure of political activity.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Currently, with certain exceptions, individuals who accept contributions,
organizations that make or accept contributions, and individuals who or
organizations that incur obligations or make disbursements for the purpose of
influencing an election for state or local office are required to register with the
appropriate filing officer or agency and to file financial reports with that officer or
agency, regardless of whether they act in conjunction with or independently of any
candidate who is supported or opposed. Currently, in the case of a committee or group
that is organized primarily for the purpose of influencing the election or nomination
for election of any individual to state or local office, for the purpose of influencing the
recall from or retention in office of an individual holding a state or local office, or for
the purpose of influencing a particular vote in a referendum, all administrative and
overhead expenses for the maintenance of an office or staff that are used principally
for any such purpose are deemed to be for a political purpose.
This bill provides that registration and reporting requirements apply to any
communication that contains certain explicit terms with reference to a clearly
identified candidate that expressly advocates the election or defeat of that candidate
and unambiguously relates to that candidate. The bill also provides that these
requirements do not apply to an expenditure made by an individual other than a

candidate, or by an organization that is not organized exclusively for a political
purpose if the expenditure does not expressly advocate for the election or defeat of
a clearly identified candidate or the adoption or rejection of a question at a
referendum. In addition, under the bill, administrative and overhead expenses by
a committee or group are deemed to be for a political purpose only if the committee
or group is organized exclusively for the purpose of influencing an election or
nomination, a recall or retention in office, or a particular referendum vote. The
change in the scope of reportable activity under the bill also affects contribution
limitations and prohibitions by causing the term "contribution" to exclude the cost
of any communication that is not reportable under the bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
SB654,1 1Section 1. 11.01 (16) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB654,2,142 11.01 (16) (intro.) An act is for "political purposes" when it is done for the
3purpose of influencing the election or nomination for election of any individual to
4state or local office, for the purpose of influencing the recall from or retention in office
5of an individual holding a state or local office, for the purpose of payment of expenses
6incurred as a result of a recount at an election, or for the purpose of influencing a
7particular vote at a referendum, except as provided in par. (b). In the case of a
8candidate, or a committee or group which is organized primarily exclusively for the
9purpose of influencing the election or nomination for election of any individual to
10state or local office, for the purpose of influencing the recall from or retention in office
11of an individual holding a state or local office, or for the purpose of influencing a
12particular vote at a referendum, all administrative and overhead expenses for the
13maintenance of an office or staff which are used principally for any such purpose are
14deemed to be for a political purpose.
SB654,2 15Section 2. 11.01 (16) (a) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB654,2,1716 11.01 (16) (a) (intro.) Acts which are for "political purposes" include but are not
17limited to
:
SB654,3
1Section 3. 11.01 (16) (a) 1. of the statutes is repealed and recreated to read:
SB654,3,52 11.01 (16) (a) 1. The making of a communication that contains one or more
3terms such as the following or their functional equivalents with reference to a clearly
4identified candidate that expressly advocates the election or defeat of that candidate
5and that unambiguously relates to the campaign of that candidate:
SB654,3,66 a. "Vote for."
SB654,3,77 b. "Elect."
SB654,3,88 c. "Support."
SB654,3,99 d. "Cast your ballot for."
SB654,3,1010 e. "Smith for Assembly."
SB654,3,1111 f. "Vote against."
SB654,3,1212 g. "Defeat."
SB654,3,1313 h. "Reject."
SB654,4 14Section 4. 11.01 (16) (b) of the statutes renumbered 11.01 (16) (b) (intro.) and
15is amended to read:
SB654,3,1616 11.01 (16) (b) (intro.) A "political purpose" does not include expenditures:
SB654,3,19 172. An expenditure made for the purpose of supporting or defending a person
18who is being investigated for, charged with or convicted of a criminal violation of state
19or federal law, or an agent or dependent of such a person.
SB654,5 20Section 5. 11.01 (16) (b) 1. of the statutes is created to read:
SB654,3,2521 11.01 (16) (b) 1. An expenditure made by an individual other than a candidate,
22or by an organization that is not organized exclusively for a purpose specified in sub.
23(16) (intro.) if the expenditure does not expressly advocate for the election or defeat
24of a clearly identified candidate or the adoption or rejection of a question at a
25referendum.
SB654,6
1Section 6. Initial applicability.
SB654,4,3 2(1) The treatment of section 11.01 (16) (intro.) and (b) 1. of the statutes first
3applies with respect to expenditures made on the effective date of this subsection.
SB654,4,44 (End)
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