February 22, 2013 •

Wisconsin Introduces Revolving Door Bill

State does not currently have a cooling off period before lobbying

Wisconsin CapitolState lawmakers introduced a bill aimed at keeping former legislators out of the lobbying ranks following the end of their terms. Senate Bill 33 would prohibit legislators from lobbying for two years following the end of their public service.

Representative Dana Wachs, a co-sponsor of the bill, said, “If we don’t start doing something about these issues, I think our republic is somewhat in danger. We’re supposed to represent people, not corporations.”

The state does not currently have a prohibition against lobbying after public service, but it does prevent state public officials from appearing, on behalf of someone else for compensation, before a governmental entity under the former official’s responsibility for one year following employment.

Photo of the Wisconsin Capitol Building by Dori on Wikipedia.

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December 18, 2012 •

Wisconsin Special Election Set to Fill Assembly Seat

Special election to coincide with spring primary and general election dates

WisconsinGovernor Scott Walker has set the date for the special election to fill the vacant 98th district state assembly seat. The date will coincide with the already scheduled spring primary and general elections on February 19 and April 2 respectively.

Representative Paul Farrow’s former seat is vacant because he won a special election for a state senate seat in early December.

Four republicans have already announced their intention to run for the seat, but it is unclear who will run on the democratic side.

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September 24, 2012 •

Wisconsin Announces Special Election Dates for State Senate Seat

Primary to take place on November 6th

WisconsinGovernor Scott Walker announced the dates of the special elections for a state Senate seat that was recently vacated. Rich Zipperer resigned his seat in 33rd senate district, which represents the Milwaukee area, to serve as Walker’s chief of staff.

The special primary election will take place on November 6 and the general election will take place on December 4. The primary elections will only take place if there are two or more candidates from the same party who declare for the seat.

Two republican candidates have already announced their intentions to run for the Senate seat.

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March 28, 2012 •

Complaint Concerning ALEC Filed in Wisconsin

Ethics and Lobbying Laws

Wisconsin Government Accountability BoardA complaint filed with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) is asking for an investigation of whether scholarships provided to legislators by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) violate state ethics and lobbying laws.

Additionally, the complainant, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), requests an examination of whether legislators are receiving impermissible gifts while attending ALEC conferences.

In its press release, the CMD argues that while Wisconsin prohibits legislators from accepting anything of value from lobbyists or corporations that employ lobbyists, the scholarships paying for legislators’ travel to ALEC conferences are funded entirely by corporations, many of which employ lobbyists in the state.

The CMD specifically asks the board to consider

  • Whether ALEC scholarships violate W.S. sections 13.625 and 19.45;
  • Whether the scholarships fall under an exception in W.S. section 19.56;
  • Whether legislators are appropriately disclosing the scholarships;
  • Whether the scholarship fund is being used for more than reimbursement; and
  • Whether legislators attending ALEC conferences are receiving other impermissible gifts such as tickets to sporting events or free food and drinks.

Exhibits attached to the complaint can be found here.

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March 28, 2012 •

The Latest Redistricting News

Today we have news on redistricting issues from nine states:

gerrymanderAlaska: “Alaska Redistricting Board says it has adopted new election districts” by Matt Buxton in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

Arizona: “Brewer signs bill to keep Arizona redistricting commission going while new maps are pending” by The Associated Press in The Republic.

Florida: “Redrawn Senate map passes House, scramble for seats begin” by Mary Ellen Klas in the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida: “Legislature ends redistricting session, new Senate map approved” by Mary Ellen Klas in The Miami Herald.

Idaho: “Redistricting will shake up Idaho Legislature” by Sean Ellis in the Capital Press.

Kansas: “Kan. House to debate congressional remap bill” by The Associated Press in the Salina Journal.

Maryland: “Group seeks referendum on new Md. congressional map” by Annie Linskey in The Baltimore Sun.

Missouri: “Missouri Supreme Court upholds House districts” by Elizabeth Crisp in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

West Virginia: “W.Va. lawmakers seek OK of congressional districts” by Eric Eyre in the Charleston Gazette.

Wisconsin: “Judges: Collaboration needed on Wis. voting maps” by The Associated Press on Madison.com.

Wisconsin: Opinion piece “Redistricting decision offers important lesson” by Christine Neumann-Ortiz in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

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February 22, 2012 •

Lobbying News in the States

Here is a look at news items in four states:

U.S. map in pushpinsMassachusetts: “Casinos industry spent millions lobbying in Mass.” by The Associated Press in the Boston Herald.

Oklahoma: “Lobbyist: Lawmaker Morgan sought help for ‘friends’” by Nolan Clay in the Tulsa World.

South Carolina: “Senators hold moment of silence for missing lobbyist, search continues” by Noelle Phillips in The State.

Wisconsin: “Union lobbying plummets in last half of 2011” by Bill Lueders in Wisconsin Watch.

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February 17, 2012 •

Redistricting News Roundup

Here is today’s redistricting news from the states:

gerrymanderArizona:Arizona House Speaker wants June special election on redistricting” by Mary Jo Pitzl in The Arizona Republic.

Florida:Gov. Rick Scott signs off on new congressional districts” by Brandon Larrabee in the Miami Herald.

With redistricting lawsuit looming, legislators want immunity” by Mary Ellen Klas in the Tampa Bay Times.

House redistricting tweaks quietly put U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams in her preferred district” by Mark K. Matthews and Aaron Deslatte in the Orlando Sentinel.

Maryland: Alternative redistricting plans stalled” by Danielle E. Gaines in the Gaithersburg Gazette.

Missouri:Missouri Supreme Court examines new US House districts” by Chris Blank in the Kansas City Star.

New York:Senate redistricting proposal comes under fire” by Aaron Besecker in The Buffalo News.

Judge calls for ‘special master’ to redraw state legislative and congressional district boundaries” by Kenneth Lovette in the New York Daily News.

Washington:Secretary of state asking justices to approve redistricting plan” byThe Associated Press  in The Seattle Times.

Wisconsin:Court issues stern order in state redistricting” by Scott Bauer in the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Federal judges slam GOP lawmakers over redistricting secrecy” by Patrick Marley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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February 15, 2012 •

Wisconsin Bill Targets Special Interest Organizations that Craft Bills for Legislators

Bill Requires Increased Disclosure for American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Activities

Wisconsin CapitolDemocratic legislators have submitted a bill for introduction that restricts the activity of special interest organizations that write bills for legislators.

The bill titled the ALEC Accountability Act applies existing lobbying laws to any organization or person who advocates for the introduction of model legislation. The bill also requires the reporting of any “scholarships” organizations pay to legislators and prohibits state taxpayer funds from being used to pay for attendance at the organization’s conventions.

The bill is currently awaiting a bill number and committee referral.

Photo of the Wisconsin State Capitol building by Darin ten Bruggencate onWikipedia.

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December 12, 2011 •

7th Circuit Overturns Wisconsin Independent Expenditure Law

Law Unconstitutionally Restricts Contributions to Committees Engaged Solely in Independent Spending

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Wisconsin law that set limits on contributions to groups that independently spend on political speech and permanently enjoined enforcement of the law.

The appeal was brought by the political action committee of Wisconsin Right to Life, which previously won a temporary injunction against enforcing the law during recall elections earlier this year.

The court found that after Citizens United v. FEC, W.S. §§ 11.26(4) is unconstitutional to the extent that it limits contributions to committees engaged solely in independent spending for political speech.

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October 17, 2011 •

Wisconsin Campaign Finance Law Highlighted in Recall Elections

Bill Introduced Limiting Recall Contributions

WisconsinA campaign finance law passed decades ago has recently come under fire in light of a possible gubernatorial recall. The law effectively allows public officials subject to a recall to collect unlimited contributions during the period when petitioners are collecting signatures to force a recall.

The law has recently been criticized because it would allow Governor Scott Walker to raise millions of dollars in unlimited contributions, but his eventual opponent would not have the same opportunity.

Democratic Rep. Kelda Helen Roys of Madison introduced Assembly Bill 296 last week to repeal the law and institute campaign contribution limits on a public official subject to a recall.

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August 2, 2011 •

Court Enjoins Enforcement of Wisconsin Contribution Limit

Special Elections August 9th and 16th

courthouseThe Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has enjoined enforcement of a Wisconsin law that makes it illegal for anyone to give more than $10,000 in a calendar year to a political committee that makes independent expenditures in elections.

The Wisconsin Right to Life State PAC sought to halt enforcement of the contribution limit in light of the special elections to be held on August 9 and 16, 2011.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined enforcement of the Wisconsin contribution limit finding that Wisconsin Right to Life State PAC had a reasonable likelihood of succeeding on the merits of its appeal, and set the case for expedited appeal.

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July 12, 2011 •

Green Bay City Council Passes Lobbyist Registration Ordinance

Ordinance Effective Immediately

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN: The Green Bay City Council has approved General Ordinance No. 10-11, which requires lobbyists to register if they attempt to influence legislative or administrative action by a city official.

The ordinance requires lobbyists to register before engaging in lobbying by completing a registration form and paying a $20 registration fee.

Lobbyists must disclose their contact information, the name of their client, and any compensation paid by the client.

The ordinance is effective immediately and the City Clerk’s Office will be making a lobbyist registration form available in the next month.

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July 5, 2011 •

News You Can Use Digest – July 5, 2011

Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:

News You Can Use logo








Colbert Declares Victory at FEC

FEC Limits Lawmakers’ Fundraising for Super PACs

From the States and Municipalities:


Gambling Trial Highlights Fees Paid to Legislators


Justices Strike Down Arizona Campaign Finance Law


Judge Strikes Down Florida Campaign Finance Matching Law


Jury Finds Blagojevich Guilty of Corruption


Ethics Changes Generate Talk as Proposal to Require Lobbyists to Wear ID Badges Is Likened to Nazi Germany


Special Education Director Said to Siphon $10 Million


Missouri Lawmakers Eat for Free


Tougher Nevada Campaign Money Laws Come into Play

New York

New Contribution Rule Limits Assignments to Elected Judges


Oklahoma Ethics Commission Reprimands NRA Lobbyist


Wisconsin Justices in Altercation

Editor Jim SedorState and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 80 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.

News You Can Use is a news service provided at no charge only to clients of our online Executive Source Guides, or ALERTS™ consulting clients.

Jim Sedor is editor of News You Can Use.

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June 1, 2011 •

Special Election Scheduled for August 9, 2011 to Fill Vacant Assembly Seat

Primary Set for July 12, 2011

Wisconsin State CapitolA special election has been scheduled for August 9, 2011 to fill a seat left vacant in Assembly District 48.

In an executive order, Governor Scott Walker ordered the special election to fill the seat left vacant after the resignation of Joe Parisi, who was elected Dane County Executive in April.

If a primary is necessary in the district, it will be held on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

Photo of the Wisconsin Capitol by Dori on Wikipedia.

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