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State Candidates & Committees

Definition of a State Candidate & Committee

Wisconsin campaign finance law requires candidates for public office to register their intent to run for office, establish a campaign committee to raise and spend money, disclose their campaign receipts and disbursements, and to abide by certain contribution limits and prohibitions.

"Candidate" means an individual about whom any of the following applies:

(a) The individual takes any of the following affirmative actions to seek nomination or election to a state or local office:

1. Files nomination papers with the appropriate filing officer.

2. Is nominated as a candidate for state or local office by a caucus under s. 8.05 (1) or by a political party and the nomination is certified to the appropriate filing officer.

3. Receives a contribution, makes a disbursement, or gives consent for another person to receive a contribution or make a disbursement in order to bring about the individual's nomination or election to a state or local office.

(b) The individual holds a state or local office and is the subject of a recall petition.

(c) The individual holds a state or local office. [§11.0101(1)]

State offices are those of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, state superintendent, circuit court judge, court of appeals judge, supreme court justice, state senator, state representative to the assembly, and district attorney [§5.02(23)].

"Committee" means a candidate committee, legislative campaign committee, political action committee, independent expenditure committee, political party, recall committee, and referendum committee. [§11.0101(6)]


Campaign Finance Overview for State Candidates 2016 (Overview of registration and reporting)



Each candidate, through his or her candidate committee, shall file a registration statement with the appropriate filing officer giving the information required under s. 11.0203 as soon as practicable after the individual qualifies as a candidate under s. 11.0101 (1).

Each candidate shall either designate a treasurer of his or her candidate committee to comply with the registration and reporting requirements, or serve as the treasurer and comply with the registration and reporting requirements. If the candidate appoints a treasurer, the candidate and the candidate's treasurer shall cosign the registration statement of the candidate's committee.

Click here to register a State Candidate Committee.

Click here to register a Political Action Committee.

Click here to register a Conduit.



A candidate on the April ballot will file a Spring Pre-Primary, Spring Pre-Election, July Continuing, and January Continuing report. Candidates on the November ballot must file a July Continuing, Fall Pre-Primary, September Continuing, Fall Pre-Election, and January Continuing report. The January and July Continuing reports will now be due on the 15th of those months. Every state committee other than a personal campaign committee must file a pre-primary and pre-election report if the committee is participating in the election.

Candidate committees, party committees, and legislative campaign committees must report contribution(s) of $1,000 or more, from a single contributor, received within 15 days of a primary or election within 72 hours of receipt on the new ETHCF-3.

Any state candidate or non-candidate committee who accepts contributions of $1,000 or more in any one election cycle must file electronically using the Board’s Campaign Finance Information System.  The electronic filing requirement continues thereafter.            

The reporting requirement continues to apply until such time as a state candidate or non-candidate committee terminates his/her or its committee.

Click here to access Chapter 11, Wisconsin State Statutes, current law as of 1/1/2016. (External Link)

Click here to access Chapter 11, Wisconsin State Statutes, campaign finance statutes effective until 12/31/2015. (External Link)

Click here to access Campaign Finance Contribution Limits and Reporting Deadlines

Click here to access Campaign Finance Manuals

Click here to access GAB Administrative Rules.

Click here to access Campaign Finance Opinions