An individual is the owner of a trust and the trust's assets and obligations if he or she is the creator of the trust and has the power to revoke the trust without obtaining the consent of all of the beneficiaries of the trust.
An individual who is eligible to receive income or other beneficial use of the principal of a trust is the owner of a proportional share of the principal in the proportion that the individual's beneficial interest in the trust bears to the total beneficial interests vested in all beneficiaries of the trust. A vested beneficial interest in a trust includes a vested reverter interest.
Information which is required by this section shall be provided on the basis of the best knowledge, information and belief of the individual filing the statement.
See also chs. GAB 15
, Wis. adm. code.
Law Revision Committee Note, 1983: Under the ethics code, each state public official and candidate for state public office must file a statement of economic interests with the ethics board listing the businesses, organizations and other legal entities from which they and their families received substantial income during the preceding taxable year. However, the ethics code does not require identification of individual persons from whom the income is received. This bill provides that if the individual filing the statement of economic interests identifies the general nature of the business in which the individual or a member of his or her family is engaged, then no identification need be made of the estate of any deceased individual from which income was received. This bill makes it unnecessary to identify a decedent's estate which was indebted to a state public official or candidate for state public office, and makes it unnecessary to identify decedents' estates which are represented by lawyer-public officials.
A beneficiary of a future interest in a trust must identify the securities held by the trust if the individual's interest in the securities is valued at $5,000 or more. 80 Atty. Gen. 183
Standards of conduct; state public officials. 19.45(1)(1)
The legislature hereby reaffirms that a state public official holds his or her position as a public trust, and any effort to realize substantial personal gain through official conduct is a violation of that trust. This subchapter does not prevent any state public official from accepting other employment or following any pursuit which in no way interferes with the full and faithful discharge of his or her duties to this state. The legislature further recognizes that in a representative democracy, the representatives are drawn from society and, therefore, cannot and should not be without all personal and economic interest in the decisions and policies of government; that citizens who serve as state public officials retain their rights as citizens to interests of a personal or economic nature; that standards of ethical conduct for state public officials need to distinguish between those minor and inconsequential conflicts that are unavoidable in a free society, and those conflicts which are substantial and material; and that state public officials may need to engage in employment, professional or business activities, other than official duties, in order to support themselves or their families and to maintain a continuity of professional or business activity, or may need to maintain investments, which activities or investments do not conflict with the specific provisions of this subchapter.
No state public official may use his or her public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of himself or herself or his or her immediate family, or for an organization with which he or she is associated. This subsection does not prohibit a state public official from using the title or prestige of his or her office to obtain contributions permitted and reported as required by ch. 11
No person may offer or give to a state public official, directly or indirectly, and no state public official may solicit or accept from any person, directly or indirectly, anything of value if it could reasonably be expected to influence the state public official's vote, official actions or judgment, or could reasonably be considered as a reward for any official action or inaction on the part of the state public official. This subsection does not prohibit a state public official from engaging in outside employment.
No state public official may accept or retain any transportation, lodging, meals, food or beverage, or reimbursement therefor, except in accordance with s. 19.56 (3)
No state public official may intentionally use or disclose information gained in the course of or by reason of his or her official position or activities in any way that could result in the receipt of anything of value for himself or herself, for his or her immediate family, or for any other person, if the information has not been communicated to the public or is not public information.
No state public official may use or attempt to use the public position held by the public official to influence or gain unlawful benefits, advantages or privileges personally or for others.
No state public official, member of a state public official's immediate family, nor any organization with which the state public official or a member of the official's immediate family owns or controls at least 10% of the outstanding equity, voting rights, or outstanding indebtedness may enter into any contract or lease involving a payment or payments of more than $3,000 within a 12-month period, in whole or in part derived from state funds, unless the state public official has first made written disclosure of the nature and extent of such relationship or interest to the board and to the department acting for the state in regard to such contract or lease. Any contract or lease entered into in violation of this subsection may be voided by the state in an action commenced within 3 years of the date on which the board, or the department or officer acting for the state in regard to the allocation of state funds from which such payment is derived, knew or should have known that a violation of this subsection had occurred. This subsection does not affect the application of s. 946.13
No state public official who is identified in s. 20.923
may represent a person for compensation before a department or any employee thereof, except:
In a contested case which involves a party other than the state with interests adverse to those represented by the state public official; or
At an open hearing at which a stenographic or other record is maintained; or
In a matter that involves only ministerial action by the department; or
In a matter before the department of revenue or tax appeals commission that involves the representation of a client in connection with a tax matter.
This subsection does not apply to representation by a state public official acting in his or her official capacity.
Except in the case where the state public office formerly held was that of legislator, legislative employee under s. 20.923 (6) (bp)
, chief clerk of a house of the legislature, sergeant at arms of a house of the legislature or a permanent employee occupying the position of auditor for the legislative audit bureau:
No former state public official, for 12 months following the date on which he or she ceases to be a state public official, may, for compensation, on behalf of any person other than a governmental entity, make any formal or informal appearance before, or negotiate with, any officer or employee of the department with which he or she was associated as a state public official within 12 months prior to the date on which he or she ceased to be a state public official.
No former state public official, for 12 months following the date on which he or she ceases to be a state public official, may, for compensation, on behalf of any person other than a governmental entity, make any formal or informal appearance before, or negotiate with, any officer or employee of a department in connection with any judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, application, contract, claim, or charge which might give rise to a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding which was under the former official's responsibility as a state public official within 12 months prior to the date on which he or she ceased to be a state public official.
No former state public official may, for compensation, act on behalf of any party other than the state in connection with any judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, application, contract, claim, or charge which might give rise to a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding in which the former official participated personally and substantially as a state public official.
The attorney general may not engage in the private practice of law during the period in which he or she holds that office. No justice of the supreme court and no judge of any court of record may engage in the private practice of law during the period in which he or she holds that office. No full-time district attorney may engage in the private practice of law during the period in which he or she holds that office, except as authorized in s. 978.06 (5)
This section does not prohibit a legislator from making inquiries for information on behalf of a person or from representing a person before a department if he or she receives no compensation therefor beyond the salary and other compensation or reimbursement to which the legislator is entitled by law, except as authorized under sub. (7)
The legislature recognizes that all state public officials and employees and all employees of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority should be guided by a code of ethics and thus:
The administrator of the division of merit recruitment and selection in the office of state employment relations shall, with the board's advice, promulgate rules to implement a code of ethics for classified and unclassified state employees except state public officials subject to this subchapter, unclassified personnel in the University of Wisconsin System and officers and employees of the judicial branch.
Effective date text
(a) The administrator of the division of merit recruitment and selection in the office of state employment relations shall, with the board's advice, promulgate rules to implement a code of ethics for classified and unclassified state employees except state public officials subject to this subchapter, personnel in the University of Wisconsin System, and officers and employees of the judicial branch.
The board of regents of the University of Wisconsin System shall establish a code of ethics for unclassified personnel in that system who are not subject to this subchapter.
Effective date text
(b) The board of regents of the University of Wisconsin System shall establish a code of ethics for personnel in that system who are not subject to this subchapter.
The supreme court shall promulgate a code of judicial ethics for officers and employees of the judiciary and candidates for judicial office which shall include financial disclosure requirements. All justices and judges shall, in addition to complying with this subchapter, adhere to the code of judicial ethics.
The board of directors of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority shall establish a code of ethics for employees of the authority who are not state public officials.
No agency, as defined in s. 16.52 (7)
, or officer or employee thereof may present any request, or knowingly utilize any interests outside the agency to present any request, to either house of the legislature or any member or committee thereof, for appropriations which exceed the amount requested by the agency in the agency's most recent request submitted under s. 16.42
No state public official or candidate for state public office may, directly or by means of an agent, give, or offer or promise to give, or withhold, or offer or promise to withhold, his or her vote or influence, or promise to take or refrain from taking official action with respect to any proposed or pending matter in consideration of, or upon condition that, any other person make or refrain from making a political contribution, or provide or refrain from providing any service or other thing of value, to or for the benefit of a candidate, a political party, any person who is subject to a registration requirement under s. 11.05
, or any person making a communication that contains a reference to a clearly identified state public official holding an elective office or to a candidate for state public office.
See also ch. ER-MRS 24
, Wis. adm. code.
A county board may provide for a penalty in the nature of a forfeiture for a violation of a code of ethics ordinance but may not bar violators from running for office. A violation is not a neglect of duties under s. 59.10 [now 59.15] or an ipso facto cause for removal under s. 17.09 (1). 66 Atty. Gen. 148. See also 67 Atty. Gen. 164.
The ethics law does not prohibit a state public official from purchasing items and services that are available to the official because he or she holds public office. If the opportunity to purchase the item or service itself has substantial value, the purchase of the item or service is prohibited. 80 Atty. Gen. 201
Sub. (12) is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. Barnett v. State Ethics Board, 817 F. Supp. 67
Discounts at certain stadiums.
No person serving in a national, state or local office, as defined in s. 5.02
, may accept any discount on the price of admission or parking charged to members of the general public, including any discount on the use of a sky box or private luxury box, at a stadium that is exempt from general property taxes under s. 70.11 (36)
History: 1991 a. 37
Conflict of interest prohibited; exception. 19.46(1)(1)
Except in accordance with the board's advice under s. 5.05 (6a)
and except as otherwise provided in sub. (3)
, no state public official may:
Take any official action substantially affecting a matter in which the official, a member of his or her immediate family, or an organization with which the official is associated has a substantial financial interest.
Use his or her office or position in a way that produces or assists in the production of a substantial benefit, direct or indirect, for the official, one or more members of the official's immediate family either separately or together, or an organization with which the official is associated.
This section does not prohibit a state public official from taking any action concerning the lawful payment of salaries or employee benefits or reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses, or prohibit a state public official from taking official action with respect to any proposal to modify state law or the state administrative code.
Statements of economic interests.
All members and employees of the board shall file statements of economic interests with the board.
Duties of the board.
The board shall:
Promulgate rules necessary to carry out this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
. The board shall give prompt notice of the contents of its rules to state public officials who will be affected thereby.
Prescribe and make available forms for use under this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
, including the forms specified in s. 13.685 (1)
Accept and file any information related to the purposes of this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
which is voluntarily supplied by any person in addition to the information required by this subchapter.
Preserve the statements of economic interests filed with it for a period of 6 years from the date of receipt in such form, including microfilming, optical imaging or electronic formatting, as will facilitate document retention, except that:
Upon the expiration of 3 years after an individual ceases to be a state public official the board shall, unless the former state public official otherwise requests, destroy any statement of economic interests filed by him or her and any copies thereof in its possession.
Upon the expiration of 3 years after any election at which a candidate for state public office was not elected, the board shall destroy any statements of economic interests filed by him or her as a candidate for state public office and any copies thereof in the board's possession, unless the individual continues to hold another position for which he or she is required to file a statement, or unless the individual otherwise requests.
Upon the expiration of 3 years from the action of the senate upon a nomination for state public office at which the senate refused to consent to the appointment of the nominee, the board shall destroy any statements of economic interests filed by him or her as a nominee and any copies thereof in the board's possession, unless the individual continues to hold another position for which he or she is required to file a statement, or unless the nominee otherwise requests. This paragraph does not apply to any individual who is appointed to state public office under s. 17.20 (2)
Except as provided in s. 19.55 (2) (c)
, make statements of economic interests filed with the board available for public inspection and copying during regular office hours and make copying facilities available at a charge not to exceed actual cost.
Compile and maintain an index to all the statements of economic interests currently on file with the board to facilitate public access to such statements of economic interests.
Prepare and publish special reports and technical studies to further the purposes of this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
Report the full name and address of any individual and the full name and address of any person represented by an individual seeking to copy or obtain information from a statement of economic interests in writing to the individual who filed it, as soon as possible.
Administer programs to explain and interpret this subchapter and subch. III of ch. 13
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 may delegate creation and implementation of any such program to a group representing the public interest. The board may charge a fee to participants in any such program.
Compile and make available information filed with the board in ways designed to facilitate access to the information. The board may charge a fee to a person requesting information for compiling, disseminating or making available such information, except that the board shall not charge a fee for inspection at the board's office of any record otherwise open to public inspection under s. 19.35 (1)
Maintain an Internet site on which the information required to be posted by agencies under s. 16.753 (4)
can be posted and accessed. The information on the site shall be accessible directly or by linkage from a single page on the Internet.
See also GAB
, Wis. adm. code.
Public inspection of records. 19.55(1)
Except as provided in sub. (2)
and s. 5.05 (5s)
, all records under this subchapter or subch. III of ch. 13
in the possession of the board are open to public inspection at all reasonable times. The board 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 board'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 board 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.
The following records in the board's possession are not open for public inspection:
Statements of economic interests and reports of economic transactions which are filed with the government accountability board by members or employees of the investment board, except that the government accountability board 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.
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
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.
Honorariums, fees and expenses. 19.56(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.
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.
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:
The official returns to the payor within 30 days of receipt;
Is paid to the official by a person identified on the official's statement of economic interests under s. 19.44 (1) (e)
as a source of income;
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)
The official has previously reported to the board as a matter of public record;
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