The Ethics Commission has sought guidance from the Attorney General's office on interpreting and enforcing Wis. Stat. § 11.0104
, and requested that the Legislature clarify the language. Pending that guidance or legislative change, the Commission is not requiring committees to renew exemption annually.
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 contributions or expenditures in aggregate of $2,000 in a calendar year. Wis. Stat. § 11.0104(1)(a). Incurred debts and obligations are included in the $2,000 threshold.
- For a candidate committee, contributions (including loans) from the candidate are included in the $2,000 threshold.
- As a conduit does not report its receipts, the $2,000 threshold only applies to expenditures. Wis. Stat. § 11.0104(1)(a).
- A committee or conduit's exempt status remains in effect only for the calendar year in which the request is made. Wis. Stat. § 11.0104(2).
A committee or conduit's exempt status remains in effect only for the calendar year in which the request is made. Wis. Stat. § 11.0104(2).
In a calendar year in which a candidate committee is participating in an election, the candidate committee cannot claim the exemption covering any period ending sooner than the date of the election. Wis. Stat. § 11.0104(1)(b).
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. Campaign Finance reports for that calendar year must be filed. Wis. Stat. §§ 11.0203(3)(a), 11.0303(3)(a), 11.0403(3)(a), 11.0503(3)(a), 11.0603(3)(a), 11.0703(3), 11.0803(3)(a), 11.0903(3)(a).
To request exemption, a committee or conduit should amend their registration and indicate that they are eligible for a filing exemption. For assistance with amending a campaign finance registration statement, please see the CFIS User's Guide.
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. Wis. Stat. §§ 11.0201(4), 11.0301(4), 11.0401(4), 11.0501(4),11.0601(4), 11.0701(4), 11.0801(4), 11.0901(4).