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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 a person for whom it is contemplated or desired that votes be cast at any election held in Wisconsin, other than an election to a federal office, whether or not the person is elected or nominated, and who either tacitly or expressly consents to be so considered.  [§§11.01(1) and 13.62 (5g)]. 

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

"Committee" or "political committee" means any person other than an individual and any combination of 2 or more persons, permanent or temporary, which makes or accepts contributions or makes disbursements, whether or not engaged in activities which are exclusively political, except that a "committee" does not include a political "group" under this chapter.

 

Registration

Every candidate for state office must register with the Government Accountability Board as soon as the individual decides to become a candidate.  A candidate must file a campaign registration statement when s/he forms the intent to become a candidate and before circulating nomination papers, receiving contributions, or spending money on the campaign.  A candidate must open a campaign depository account at a financial institution and choose a treasurer for the campaign.

Every committee other than a personal campaign committee, and every political group subject to registration under s. 11.23 which makes or accepts contributions, incurs obligations or makes disbursements in a calendar year in an aggregate amount in excess of $25 shall register with the Government Accountability Board. The committee must open a depository account at a financial institution and choose a treasurer for the committee.  The registration should be filed by the committee's treasurer.

Click here to register a State Candidate Committee.

Click here to register a Political Action Committee.

Click here to register a Conduit.

Click here to register a Sponsoring Organization.

 

Reporting

A state candidate and committee must file a campaign finance report each year on January 31 and July 20.  In addition, in any year in which a candidate is up for election, the committee must file a pre-primary report 8 days before the primary (whether or not the candidate has primary opposition) and a pre-election report8 days before the general election (whether or not the candidate has an opponent).  The candidate committee must file a pre-election report, even if the candidate lost in the primary.  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.

If a single contributor contributes $500 or more to a state candidate or non-candidate committee later than 15 days prior to a primary or general election, the state candidate or non-candidate committee must report that contribution or contributions within 24 hours of receipt.

Any state candidate or non-candidate committee who accepts contributions of $20,000 or more in any one election cycle must file electronically using the Board’s Campaign Finance Information System.  The electronic filing requirement continues thereafter.  Others may file on paper using the form that may be found by clicking here.          

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. (External Link)

Click here to access GAB Administrative Rules

Click here to access Campaign Finance Manuals

Click here to access Campaign Finance Opinions