March 28, 2012 •
Ethics and Lobbying Laws
A 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.
February 15, 2012 •
Bill Requires Increased Disclosure for American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Activities
Democratic 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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