Difference between revisions of "Campaign finance requirements for Wisconsin ballot measures"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(Reporting requirements and reports)
(Corporate contributions)
Line 36: Line 36:
  
 
Corporations that are registered with the Government Accountability Board must have a separate bank account for contributions made to referendum groups<ref>[http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0011.pdf "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law](Referenced Statute 11.38(1)-2 Wisconsin Statutes)</ref>.
 
Corporations that are registered with the Government Accountability Board must have a separate bank account for contributions made to referendum groups<ref>[http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0011.pdf "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law](Referenced Statute 11.38(1)-2 Wisconsin Statutes)</ref>.
 +
 +
===Contribution limits==
 +
 +
There are no limits on the amount of campaign contributions that can be given to referendum groups in the State of Wisconsin<ref>[http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0011.pdf "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law](Referenced Statute 11.26 Wisconsin Statutes)</ref>.
  
 
===Filing reports===
 
===Filing reports===

Revision as of 12:43, 13 November 2009

Campaign finance requirements for Wisconsin ballot measures are promulgated by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. The Government Accountability Board enforces all campaign finance laws in the State of Wisconsin. The GAB posts all reports filed electronically using the Wisconsin State Campaign Finance Information System. Also, groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure can register with the GAB online.

If a person feels someone violated Wisconsin campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. Under Wisconsin law, the complaint must be filed as soon there is a known allegation. This is because Wisconsin has a three year statute of limitations for filing complaints.

Once the complaint is received by the Government Accountability Board, then its lead legal counsel and staff Attorneys review the complaint if its sufficient and valid. Then at anytime the staff for the GAB can at anytime ask for further questions from both parties. This is done when the complaint is served to the alleged party. The alleged party has a chance to respond to the complaint upon service of the documents. It is the up to the Director pf the GAB to determine if a probable cause hearing is necessary once all the information is recieved. If a probable cause hearing is warranted, it is up to all the members of the GAB to determine if there is enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to find the alleged party in violation of campaign finance laws.

In most cases if the alleged party is found guilty a monetary fine is assessed through civil action is done. If any case involves criminal law, the GAB can refer the case to the Wisconsin Attorney General for prosecution[1].

General requirements

Referendum group

Under Wisconsin law, all groups aimed at the passage or defeat of a ballot question are considered to be Referendum Groups[2] [3].

Statement of Organization Form EB-1

Under Wisconsin law, any individual or group in support or opposition of a ballot measure that contributes $25 or more must file a Campaign Registration Statement which is Form EB-1 with the Government Accountability Board[4] [5]. Form EB-1 is considered to be the official Statement of Organization. Also, any corporation that is making direct expenditures in support or opposition of a ballot measure must file Form EB-1 too with the GAB.

The $500 in 15 days rule

Under Wisconsin law, all referendum groups must file a report with the Government Accountability Board within 24 hours of receiving a contribution of $500 or more. This is for contributions made in the last fifteen days before the date of an election. Wisconsin is one of a few states that requires 24 hour reporting of large contributions within the final days before the election[6].

Campaign finance requirements

$50 Cash limit

Under Wisconsin law, no referendum group can accept more than $50 in campaign contributions made with cash[7].

Annual filing fee

Any referendum group that filed a Statement of Organization with the Government Accountability Board must pay an annual $100 filing fee when filing a statement of organization (Form EB-1)[8]. The requirement to pay a filing fee is if a referendum group plans to have more than $2,500 or more in financial activity during the election cycle[9].

Corporate contributions

In Wisconsin, corporations are allowed to donate to groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure[10]. However, this is different from Wisconsin State Law in which prohibits corporate contributions to candidates, candidate committees, individuals, and state party committees[10].

Corporations that are registered with the Government Accountability Board must have a separate bank account for contributions made to referendum groups[11].

=Contribution limits

There are no limits on the amount of campaign contributions that can be given to referendum groups in the State of Wisconsin[12].

Filing reports

All referendum groups must file campaign finance reports if they have more than $1,000 or more in financial activity in a given year. This counts for both contributions and expenditures[13].

Reporting requirements and reports

Wisconsin is different from other states as they have an inverted reporting cycle. This means there is a different reporting cycle for spring and fall elections as Wisconsin allows statewide and local ballot measures on both the April and November ballots.

Form EB-2

All referendum groups in Wisconsin file Form EB-2 as the main campaign finance report.

Spring Pre-Primary

The spring pre-primary campaign finance report is the second pre-election campaign finance report for groups putting a referendum on the April ballot. This is considered to be the first of two campaign finance reports before the election. For the 2010 cycle the report covers all financial activity from January 1, 2010 to February 1, 2010. The report is due on February 8, 2010[14].

Spring Pre-Election

The spring pre-election campaign finance report is the second pre-election campaign finance report for groups putting a referendum on the April ballot. This is the last campaign finance report before the election. For the 2010 cycle the report covers all financial activity from February 2, 2010 to March 22, 2010. The report is due on March 29, 2010[14].

July continuing

The July continuing report is considered to be the first campaign finance report for referendum groups putting a ballot question on the November ballot. This report covers all financial activity from January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. The report is due on July 20, 2010[14].

Fall Pre-Primary

The fall pre-Primary campaign finance report is considered to be the first of two pre-election campaign finance reports for referendum groups placing ballot questions on the November ballot. The report covers all financial activity from July 1, 2010 to August 30, 2010. The report is due on September 7, 2010[14].

Fall Pre-election

The fall pre-election campaign finance report is considered to be the final pre-election campaign finance report for referendum groups placing ballot questions on the November ballot. The report covers all financial activity from September 31, 2010 to October 18, 2010. The report is due on October 25, 2010[14].

January continuing

The January continuing campaign finance report is the year end campaign finance report for groups that placed questions on the November ballot. This is also considered to be the first report for groups planning in advance for ballot questions on the April ballot. For the fall election this report covers October 19 to December 31, 2010. For the April election, the report covers July 1 to December 31, 2010. The report is due on January 31, 2011[14].

Campaign advertising restrictions

All political advertisements at the bottom of the ad regardless of the medium used must have a disclaimer. The usual form is "Paid for XYZ Political Committee, Tom Smith Treasurer" as the accepted form of disclaimer. Under Wisconsin law, there is no mandatory holdover requirement that requires committees to keep ads on file like other states do.

Terminating a committee

Under Wisconsin law, a referendum group can disband if the group expects no more financial obligations, to no longer receive campaign contribution, expects to make no more expenditures, and has a balance on hand of zero at the time of dissolution. This report can be filed with the Government Accountability Board for statewide ballot measures with local ballot measures are filed with the local county clerk. The report must show a cash balance on hand of zero at the end of the reporting period and must indicate on how they will disburse all surplus funds[15].

Under Wisconsin law, surplus funds may be used for any political purpose allowed by law, returned to the donors in the amount not exceeding their original contribution, donated to a charitable organization, or to the Wisconsin Common School Fund[15].

External links

References

  1. "Wisconsin Government Accountability Board" Complaint Guide(See Pages 1-3)
  2. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.01(10) Wisconsin Statutes)
  3. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.05(4) Wisconsin Statutes)
  4. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.05(2) Wisconsin Statutes)
  5. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.23(1) Wisconsin Statutes)
  6. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.12(5) Wisconsin Statutes)
  7. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.16(2) Wisconsin Statutes)
  8. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.055(1) Wisconsin Statutes)
  9. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.055(3) Wisconsin Statutes)
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.38(1) Wisconsin Statutes)
  11. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.38(1)-2 Wisconsin Statutes)
  12. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.26 Wisconsin Statutes)
  13. "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.05(2r) Wisconsin Statutes)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 "Wisconsin Government Accountability Board" Campaign Finance Reporting Deadlines
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Wisconsin Legislature" Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 11.19(1) Wisconsin Statutes)