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About the G.A.B. Complaint Process

  • When the Board receives a complaint, it will first assess whether there is a reasonable basis to investigate.  The Board’s staff may attempt to obtain further information before the Board makes that decision.  If the Board believes there is a sufficient basis to proceed, it may authorize an investigation.
  • The Board may issue subpoenas, take depositions, and ask courts to issue search warrants.  By statute, with limited exceptions, all aspects of, and records related to complaints and investigations are confidential.   The Board’s staff may acknowledge it has received a complaint only if the complainant makes it public. All actions by the Board regarding complaints and investigations take place in closed session.
  • At the conclusion of an investigation, the Board may dismiss a complaint, seek a voluntary forfeiture, bring a court action for a civil forfeiture, or refer a matter to the appropriate District Attorney or other prosecutor for criminal prosecution.
  • Under s. 5.05(5s)(e), only these records related to a complaint or investigation are open to public inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1):
  1. Any record of the action of the board authorizing the filing of a civil complaint under sub. (2m) (c) 6.
  2. Any record of the action of the board referring a matter to a district attorney or other prosecutor for investigation or prosecution.
  3. Any record containing a finding that a complaint does not raise a reasonable suspicion that a violation of the law has occurred.
  4. Any record containing a finding, following an investigation, that no probable cause exists to believe that a violation of the law has occurred.