15.62 Ethics commission; creation. (1) (a) There is created an ethics commission consisting of the following members who shall serve for 5-year terms:
1. One member appointed by the senate majority leader.
2. One member appointed by the senate minority leader.
3. One member appointed by the speaker of the assembly.
4. One member appointed by the assembly minority leader.
5. Two individuals who formerly served as judges for a court of record in this state, who were elected to the positions in which they served, and who are nominated by the governor with the advice and consent of a majority of the members of the senate confirmed. The legislative leadership of the 2 major political parties that received the largest number of votes for president shall prepare a list of
not more than 3 individuals such that each major political party has prepared one list. The governor shall choose one nominee from each list.
6. For each political party, other than the 2 major political parties, qualifying for a separate ballot under s. 5.62 (1) (b) or (2) whose candidate for governor received at least 10 percent of the vote in the most recent gubernatorial election, one member, nominated by the governor from a list of 3 individuals selected by the chief officer of that political party and with the advice and consent of a majority of the members of the senate confirmed.
(b) 2. The administrator may be removed by the affirmative vote of a majority of all members of the commission voting at a meeting of the commission called for that purpose.
(1m) Members appointed with the advice and consent of the senate may serve prior to senate confirmation.
(2) No member of the commission may hold another office or position that is a state public office or a local public office, as defined in s. 19.42, except the office of circuit judge or court of appeals judge under s. 753.075.
(3) No member, while serving on the commission, may become a candidate, as defined in s. 11.0101 (1), for state office or local office, as defined in s. 5.02.
(4) No member may be a lobbyist, as defined in s. 13.62 (11), or an employee of a principal, as defined in s. 13.62 (12), except that a member may serve as a circuit judge or court of appeals judge under s. 753.075.
(5) (a) 1. Except as provided in subd. 2., if a vacancy occurs for a member appointed under sub. (1) (a) 1. to 4., the individual responsible for making the appointment shall appoint a new member no later than 45 days after the date of the vacancy.
2. If the political party affiliation of the individual responsible for filling a vacancy under this paragraph is not the same as the political party affiliation of the individual who made the initial appointment, the legislative leader of the political party that made the initial appointment shall fill the vacancy.
(b) If a vacancy occurs for a member appointed under sub. (1) (a) 5. or 6., a new member shall be selected, nominated, and submitted to the senate for confirmation no later than 45 days after the date of the vacancy.
16.753 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
16.753 (2) Except as otherwise expressly provided, each agency shall provide to the government accountability board ethics commission for posting on the Internet a list identifying each solicitation for bids or competitive sealed proposals and each proposed order or contract of the agency for which bids or competitive sealed proposals will not be solicited that involves a major expenditure, together with all information required under sub. (4).
16.79 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
16.79 (2) The department shall distribute in pamphlet form copies of the constitution and such laws as may be required to meet the public demand, including the election laws. The department shall distribute election manuals, forms, and supplies specified by the government accountability board elections commission. The laws, manuals, forms, and supplies shall be sold by the department at cost, including distribution cost as determined under s. 35.80. The government accountability board elections commission shall inform the department in writing as to which election manuals, forms, and supplies shall be offered for distribution under this subsection.
16.96 (3) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
16.96 (3) (b) Maintain and keep current throughout the decade the maps of congressional and legislative district boundaries received from the legislative reference bureau under s. 13.92 (1) (a) 6. and provide copies thereof to the government accountability board elections commission.
16.973 (6) of the statutes is amended to read:
16.973 (6) With the advice of the government accountability board ethics commission, adopt and enforce standards of ethical conduct applicable to its paid consultants which are similar to the standards prescribed in subch. III of ch. 19, except that the department shall not require its paid consultants to file statements of economic interests.
17.17 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
17.17 (1) Senators and members of congress. In the office of United States senator or member of congress from this state, by the county clerk of the county wherein such officer resided at the time of election, to the government accountability board elections commission.
17.17 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
17.17 (4) Justices and judges. In the office of justice of the supreme court, court of appeals judge, or judge of a circuit court, by the director of state courts to the governor and the government accountability board elections commission.
19.42 (3) of the statutes is repealed.
19.42 (4p) of the statutes is created to read:
19.42 (4p) "Commission" means the ethics commission.
19.42 (10) (a) of the statutes is created to read:
19.42 (10) (a) A member or employee of the elections commission.
19.43 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.43 (4) A candidate for state public office shall file with the board commission a statement of economic interests meeting each of the requirements of s. 19.44 (1) no later than 4:30 p.m. on the 3rd day following the last day for filing nomination papers for the office which the candidate seeks, or no later than 4:30 p.m. on the next business day after the last day whenever that candidate is granted an extension of time for filing nomination papers or a declaration of candidacy under s. 8.05 (1) (j), 8.10 (2) (a), 8.15 (1), or 8.20 (8) (a),; no later than 4:30 p.m. on the 5th day after notification of nomination is mailed or personally delivered to the candidate by the municipal clerk in the case of a candidate who is nominated at a caucus,
; or no later than 4:30 p.m. on the 3rd day after notification of nomination is mailed or personally delivered to the candidate by the appropriate official or agency in the case of a write-in candidate or candidate who is appointed to fill a vacancy in nomination under s. 8.35 (2) (a). The information contained on the statement shall be current as of December 31 of the year preceding the filing deadline. Before certifying the name of any candidate for state public office under s. 7.08 (2) (a), the government accountability board elections commission, municipal clerk, or board of election commissioners shall ascertain whether that candidate has complied with this subsection. If not, the government accountability board
elections commission, municipal clerk, or board of election commissioners may not certify the candidate's name for ballot placement.
19.43 (5) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.43 (5) Each member of the investment board and each employee of the investment board who is a state public official shall complete and file with the government accountability board commission a quarterly report of economic transactions no later than the last day of the month following the end of each calendar quarter during any portion of which he or she was a member or employee of the investment board. Such reports of economic transactions shall be in the form prescribed by the government accountability board commission and shall identify the date and nature of any purchase, sale, put, call, option, lease, or creation, dissolution, or modification of any economic interest made during the quarter for which the report is filed and disclosure of which would be required by s. 19.44 if a statement of economic interests were being filed.
19.46 (1) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.46 (1) (intro.) Except in accordance with the board's commission's advice under s. 5.05 (6a) sub. (2) and except as otherwise provided in sub. (3), no state public official may:
19.46 (2) of the statutes is created to read:
19.46 (2) (a) 1. Any individual, either personally or on behalf of an organization or governmental body, may make a request of the commission in writing, electronically, or by telephone for a formal or informal advisory opinion regarding the propriety under ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter of any matter to which the person is or may become a party. Any appointing officer, with the consent of a prospective appointee, may request of the commission a formal or informal advisory opinion regarding the propriety under ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter of any matter to which the prospective appointee is or may become a party. The commission shall review a request for an advisory opinion and may issue a formal or informal written or electronic advisory opinion to the person making the request. Except as authorized or required for opinions specified in s. 19.55 (4) (b), the commission's deliberations and actions upon such requests shall be in meetings not open to the public. A member of the commission may, by written request, require the commission to review an advisory opinion.
2. To have legal force and effect, each formal and informal advisory opinion issued by the commission must be supported by specific legal authority under a statute or other law, or by specific case or common law authority. Each formal and informal advisory opinion shall include a citation to each statute or other law and each case or common law authority upon which the opinion is based, and shall specifically articulate or explain which parts of the cited authority are relevant to the commission's conclusion and why they are relevant.
3. No person acting in good faith upon a formal or informal advisory opinion issued by the commission under this subsection is subject to criminal or civil prosecution for so acting, if the material facts are as stated in the opinion request.
4. At each regular meeting of the commission, the commission administrator shall review informal advisory opinions requested of and issued by the administrator and that relate to recurring issues or issues of first impression for which no formal advisory opinion has been issued. The commission may determine to issue a formal advisory opinion adopting or modifying the informal advisory opinion. If the commission disagrees with a formal or informal advisory opinion that has been issued by or on behalf of the commission, the commission may withdraw the opinion, issue a revised formal or informal advisory opinion, or request an opinion from the attorney general. No person acting after the date of the withdrawal or issuance of the revised advisory opinion is exempted from prosecution under this subsection if the opinion upon which the person's action is based has been withdrawn or revised in relevant degree.
5. Except as authorized or required under s. 19.55 (4) (b), no member or employee of the commission may make public the identity of the individual requesting a formal or informal advisory opinion or of individuals or organizations mentioned in the opinion.
(b) 1. The commission may authorize the commission administrator or his or her designee to issue an informal written advisory opinion or transmit an informal advisory opinion electronically on behalf of the commission, subject to such limitations as the commission deems appropriate. Every informal advisory opinion shall be consistent with applicable formal advisory opinions issued by the commission, statute or other law, and case law.
2. Any individual may request in writing, electronically, or by telephone an informal advisory opinion from the commission under this paragraph. The commission's designee shall provide a written response, a written reference to an applicable statute or law, or a written reference to a formal advisory opinion of the commission to the individual, or shall refer the request to the commission for review and the issuance of a formal advisory opinion.
3. Any person receiving an informal advisory opinion under this paragraph may, at any time, request a formal advisory opinion from the commission on the same matter.
(c) 1. Any individual may request in writing, electronically, or by telephone a formal advisory opinion from the commission or the review or modification of a formal advisory opinion issued by the commission under this paragraph. The individual making the request shall include all pertinent facts relevant to the matter. The commission shall review a request for a formal advisory opinion and may issue a formal advisory opinion to the individual making the request. Except as authorized or required for opinions specified in s. 19.55 (4) (b), the commission's deliberations and actions upon such requests shall be in meetings not open to the public.
2. Any person requesting a formal advisory opinion under this paragraph may request a public or private hearing before the commission to discuss the opinion. The commission shall grant a request for a public or private hearing under this paragraph.
3. Promptly upon issuance of each formal advisory opinion, the commission shall publish the opinion together with the information specified under s. 19.55 (4) (c) on the commission's Internet site.
4. If the commission declines to issue a formal advisory opinion, it may refer the matter to the attorney general or to the standing legislative oversight committees.
19.47 (title) of the statutes is created to read:
19.47 (title) Operation.
19.47 of the statutes is renumbered 19.47 (3) and amended to read:
19.47 (3) Statements of economic interests. All members and employees of the board commission shall file statements of economic interests with the board
19.47 (1), (2) and (4) to (10) of the statutes are created to read:
19.47 (1) Office. The office of the commission shall be in Madison, but the commission may, after proper public notice and in compliance with subch. V, meet or exercise any of its powers at any other place in the state.
(2) Administrator. The commission shall appoint an administrator in the manner provided under s. 15.62 (1) (b). The administrator shall be outside the classified service. The administrator shall appoint such other personnel as he or she requires to carry out the duties of the commission and may designate an employee of the commission to serve as legal counsel of the commission. The administrator shall perform such duties as the commission assigns to him or her in the administration of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, and this subchapter.
(4) Action. Any action by the commission, except an action relating to procedure of the commission, requires the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of its members.
(5) Annual report. The commission shall submit an annual report under s. 15.04 (1) (d) and shall include in its annual report the names and duties of all individuals employed by the commission and a summary of its determinations and advisory opinions issued under s. 19.46 (2). Except as authorized or required under s. 19.55 (4) (b), the commission shall make sufficient alterations in the summaries to prevent disclosing the identities of individuals or organizations involved in the decisions or opinions. The commission shall identify in its report the statutory duties of the administrator of the commission, together with a description of the manner in which those duties are being fulfilled. Notwithstanding ss. 19.50 and 19.55 (3), the commission shall also specify in its report the total number of investigations conducted by the commission since the last annual report and a description of the nature of each investigation, including whether the investigation related to campaign finance, ethics, or lobbying. The commission may also include in its annual report any information compiled under s. 11.1304 (14). The commission shall make such further reports on the matters within its jurisdiction and such recommendations for legislation as it deems appropriate.
(6) Operation. The joint committee on legislative organization shall be advisory to the commission on all matters relating to operation of the commission.
(7) Guidance following binding court decisions. Within 2 months following the publication of a decision of a state or federal court that is binding on the commission and this state, the commission shall issue updated guidance or formal advisory opinions, commence the rule-making procedure to revise administrative rules promulgated by the commission, or request an opinion from the attorney general on the applicability of the court decision.
(8) Standing. The commission has standing to commence or intervene in any civil action or proceeding for the purpose of enforcing the laws regulating campaign finance, ethics, or lobbying or ensuring their proper administration.
(9) Policies and procedures. (a) Annually, the commission shall adopt written policies and procedures in order to govern its internal operations and management and shall annually report such policies and procedures to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3).
(b) Notwithstanding par. (a), the commission may reconsider at any time any policy or procedure adopted as provided under par. (a). If, upon reconsideration, the commission revises a previously reported policy or procedure, the commission shall report the revision to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3).
(c) The commission may reconsider at any time any written directives or written guidance provided to the general public or to any person subject to the provisions of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, and this subchapter with regard to the enforcement and administration of those provisions.
(10) Employees. All employees of the commission shall be nonpartisan.
(11) Payments. The commission may accept payment by credit card, debit card, or other electronic payment mechanism for any amounts owed pursuant to the administration of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter, and may charge a surcharge to the payer to recover charges associated with the acceptance of that electronic payment.
19.48 (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.48 Duties of the board ethics commission. (intro.) The board commission shall:
19.48 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.48 (1) Promulgate rules necessary to carry out
this subchapter and ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13
, and this subchapter. The board commission shall give prompt notice of the contents of its rules to state public officials who will be affected thereby.
19.48 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.48 (2) Prescribe and make available forms for use under this subchapter and ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, and this subchapter, including the forms specified in s. 13.685 (1).
19.48 (3) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.48 (3) Accept and file any information related to the purposes of this subchapter and ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, and this subchapter which is voluntarily supplied by any person in addition to the information required by this subchapter.
19.48 (7) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.48 (7) Prepare and publish special reports and technical studies to further the purposes of this subchapter and ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, and this subchapter.
19.48 (9) of the statutes is amended to read:
19.48 (9) Administer programs to explain and interpret this subchapter and ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, and this subchapter for state public officials, and for elective state officials, candidates for state public office, legislative officials, agency officials, lobbyists, as defined in s. 13.62, local public officials, corporation counsels and attorneys for local governmental units. The programs shall provide advice regarding appropriate ethical and lobbying practices, with special emphasis on public interest lobbying. The board commission may delegate creation and implementation of any such program to a group representing the public interest. The board
commission may charge a fee to participants in any such program.
19.49 of the statutes is created to read:
19.49 Administration; enforcement. (1) General authority. The commission shall have the responsibility for the administration of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, and this subchapter. Pursuant to such responsibility, the commission may:
(a) In the discharge of its duties and after providing notice to any party who is the subject of an investigation, subpoena and bring before it any person and require the production of any papers, book, or other records relevant to an investigation. Notwithstanding s. 885.01 (4), the issuance of a subpoena requires action by the commission at a meeting of the commission. A circuit court may by order permit the inspection and copying of the accounts and the depositor's and loan records at any financial institution, as defined in s. 705.01 (3), doing business in the state to obtain evidence of any violation of ch. 11 upon showing by the commission of probable cause to believe there is a violation and that such accounts and records may have a substantial relation to the violation. In the discharge of its duties, the commission may cause the deposition of witnesses to be taken in the manner prescribed for taking depositions in civil actions in circuit court.
(b) Bring civil actions to require a forfeiture for any violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter or for a license revocation for any violation of subch. III of ch. 13 for which the offender is subject to a revocation. The commission may compromise and settle any civil action or potential action brought or authorized to be brought by it which, in the opinion of the commission, constitutes a minor violation, a violation caused by excusable neglect, or which for other good cause shown, should not in the public interest be prosecuted under such chapter. Notwithstanding s. 778.06, a civil action or proposed civil action authorized under this paragraph may be settled for such sum as may be agreed between the parties. Any settlement made by the commission shall be in such amount as to deprive the alleged violator of any benefit of his or her wrongdoing and may contain a penal component to serve as a deterrent to future violations. In settling civil actions or proposed civil actions, the commission shall treat comparable situations in a comparable manner and shall assure that any settlement bears a reasonable relationship to the severity of the offense or alleged offense. Except as otherwise provided in sub. (2) (b) 13. and 14. and ss. 19.554 and 19.59 (8), forfeiture and license revocation actions brought by the commission shall be brought in the circuit court for the county where the defendant resides, or if the defendant is a nonresident of this state, in circuit court for the county wherein the violation is alleged to occur. For purposes of this paragraph, a person other than an individual resides within a county if the person's principal place of operation is located within that county. Whenever the commission enters into a settlement agreement with an individual who is accused of a civil violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter or who is investigated by the commission for a possible civil violation of one of those provisions, the commission shall reduce the agreement to writing, together with a statement of the commission's findings and reasons for entering into the agreement and shall retain the agreement and statement in its office for inspection.
(c) Sue for injunctive relief, a writ of mandamus or prohibition, or other such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to enforce any law regulating campaign financing or ensure its proper administration. No bond is required in such actions. Actions shall be brought in circuit court for the county where a violation occurs or may occur.
(1m) (title) Complaints.
(2) Enforcement. (a) The commission shall investigate violations of laws administered by the commission and may prosecute alleged civil violations of those laws, directly or through its agents under this subsection, pursuant to all statutes granting or assigning that authority or responsibility to the commission. Prosecution of alleged criminal violations investigated by the commission may be brought only as provided in par. (b) 9., 12., 13., and 14. and s. 978.05 (1). For purposes of this subsection, the commission may only initiate an investigation of an alleged violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, and this subchapter, other than an offense described under par. (b) 10., based on a sworn complaint filed with the commission, as provided under par. (b). Neither the commission nor any member or employee of the commission, including the commission administrator, may file a sworn complaint for purposes of this subsection.
(b) 1. Any person may file a complaint with the commission alleging a violation of ch. 11, subch. III of ch. 13, or this subchapter. No later than 5 days after receiving a complaint, the commission shall notify each person who or which the complaint alleges committed such a violation. Before voting on whether to take any action regarding the complaint, other than to dismiss, the commission shall give each person receiving a notice under this subdivision an opportunity to demonstrate to the commission, in writing and within 15 days after receiving the notice, that the commission should take no action against the person on the basis of the complaint. The commission may not conduct any investigation or take any other action under this subsection solely on the basis of a complaint by an unidentified complainant.
1m. If the commission finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a complaint is frivolous, the commission may order the complainant to forfeit not more than the greater of $500 or the expenses incurred by the commission in investigating the complaint.