Lobbying Law Basics
Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 13 subchapter III provides the regulatory requirements for lobbying, which the Ethics Commission administers through the Eye on Lobbying
) website. Please review our Lobbying Law Basics
for an overview of reporting requirements for lobbyists and principals.
Lobbyists, defined as
"an individual who is employed by a principal, or contracts for or receives economic consideration, other than reimbursement for actual expenses, from a principal and whose duties include lobbying on behalf of the principal. If an individual's duties on behalf of a principal are not limited exclusively to lobbying, the individual is a lobbyist only if he or she makes lobbying communications on each of at least 5 days within a reporting period, WIS. STAT. §13.62(11)
And Principals, defined as
"any person who employs a lobbyist. If an association, corporation, limited liability company or partnership engages a lobbyist, an officer, employee, member, shareholder or partner of the association, corporation, limited liability company or partnership shall not be considered a principal,” WIS. STAT. §13.62(12),
must adhere to the following reporting requirements:
15 Day Reports
Registered principals must report to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission each bill, budget bill subject, proposed rule, and topic on which the organization makes a lobbying communication (WIS. STAT. §13.67(1)). The principal, through an authorized individual, must report the bill, budget bill subject, proposed rule, or topic to the Commission within 15 days of the first lobbying communication—including topics of legislation that have not yet been created. Subsequent communications do not need to be reported individually, but must be included in the principal’s six month SLAE.
Lobbyist Time Reports
Before each six month report (SLAE) is due, lobbyists must submit and certify a timesheet. This timesheet documents all of the time they spent directly communicating as well as hours “other;” which is time spent not directly communicating but preparing documentation, research, or strategizing for future communication. For future specifications about what constitutes direct communication and “other” activity, please see the SLAE Quick Guide.
Statements and Lobbying Activities and Expenditures (SLAEs)
Statements of Lobbying Activities and Expenditures (SLAEs) All registered principals must report total time (certified by lobbyists through their time reports), dollars, and allocate effort for everything they have lobbied on every six months of the legislative session regardless of activity level. These reports are due every January 31st, for July-December of the previous year, and every July 31st for January-June of the current year.
Please take special note that lobbying activity in the State of Wisconsin requires the payment of certain fees to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Any license, registration, or authorization, are not valid until payment is received by the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Any lobbying activity of an individual or principal not licensed, registered, and authorized, which occurs on more than five days in a six month reporting period is in violation of WIS. STAT. §13.66, and will be subject to enforcement by the Ethics Commission.
To avoid violation of WIS. STAT. §13.66, be sure to follow these steps and pay the appropriate fees associated with each step promptly:
(1) Register the lobbying principal,
(2) License the principal’s lobbyist(s), and
(3) Authorize the principal’s lobbyist(s)
Manuals and Guides
For comprehensive information about how to utilize the Eye on Lobbying
website please review the Eye on Lobbying User's Guide
. This manual has detailed steps and screenshots explaining how to register, renew any license or registration, and all reporting requirements.
For specific questions about an aspect of Eye on Lobbying please review our quick guides: