2015 Wisconsin Act 117
repealed and recreated
of Wisconsin Statutes, which regulates campaign finance. The rewritten statutory language for filing exemptions is unclear, and the Ethics Commission on November 9, 2016 sought guidance from the Attorney General's office on interpreting the statutes and requested that the Legislature clarify the language. Pending that guidance or legislative change, the Commission is not requiring committees to renew exemption annually and is allowing candidates to remain on exemption in a calendar year where the candidate appears on the ballot.
What is a Reporting Exemption?
A committee or conduit with limited activity may be eligible for an exemption from filing campaign finance reports. While on exemption, the committee or conduit is not required to file campaign finance reports.
To be eligible for a reporting exemption, the committee must not accept more than $2,000 in contributions or exceed $2,000 in expenditures in a calendar year (§
11.0104(1)(a)). As a conduit does not report its receipts, only the $2,000 expenditure threshold applies. Candidate committees are not eligible for exemption before the election date in a calendar year where the candidate appears on a ballot (§
- For a candidate committee, contributions (including loans) from the candidate are included in the $2,000 threshold
- Incurred debts and obligations are included in the $2,000 expenditure threshold
To request exemption, a committee or conduit should amend their registration and indicate that they are eligible for a filing exemption.
A committee or conduit's exempt status remains in effect only for the calendar year in which the request is made (§
11.0104(2)). If a committee or conduit exceeds $2,000 in contributions or expenditures in that calendar year, an amended registration should be filed within 10 days indicating that the registrant is no longer eligible to claim exemption and reports for that calendar year must be filed (§§
Maintaining Records During Exemption
A committee or conduit must continue to maintain records of all contributions and expenditures during exemption. Records must be maintained in an organized and legible manner for at least three years from the date of the election in which the committee or conduit participates (§§