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State Ethics Board

Frequently Asked Questions

This Frequently Asked Questions is being added to all the time. Please check back again for new entries.

  • 2005 Wis Eth Bd 06 - LOBBYING LAW

    The Ethics Board advises that a member of a state board should either (1) not
    accept employment by a business or organization that employs a lobbyist or (2)
    notify the board of which the official is a member that the official is withdrawing
    from any participation in the modification of the board’s rules.


  • 2005 Wis Eth Bd 07 - LOBBYING LAW

    The Ethics Board advises that a legislative employee not rent an apartment
    or a house with a lobbyist unless (1) the lobbyist is the employee’s relative
    or (2) the employee and the lobbyist are part of the same domestic unit.

  • 2005 Wis Eth Bd 08 - LOBBYING LAW

    The Ethics Board advises that a candidate for the Legislature may, consistent
    with Wisconsin’s lobbying law:

      (1) remain employed as a lobbyist by the candidate’s employer while a
            candidate for election to the Legislature;

  • 2005 Wis Eth Bd 09 - FEES AND HONORARIUMS

    The Ethics Board advises that a crystal bowl, valued at $125, is reasonable
    compensation for an elected official who spent eight to nine hours preparing a
    talk and presented a keynote address related to state government issues to an
    out-of-state organization.


    The Ethics Board advises that state agency may accept funds from private
    sources to be used to reimburse a state official’s travel expenses incurred by the
    official while engaged in official duties.

  • 2006 Wis Eth Bd 01 - LOCAL CODE

    Whether a member of a school board may serve as an unpaid coach in the
    school district is primarily a question of compatibility of offices. Generally, the
    Ethics Code prohibits a member of a school board to use his or her position to
    obtain a position as an employee in, or a contract with, the school district.

  • 2006 Wis Eth Bd 02 - LOBBYING

    A lobbying principal may, consistent with the lobbying law, urge its members to
    contribute to a candidate, as long as the organization is not acting in concert with
    the candidate. A lobbying principal may not bundle and furnish contributions
    from its members to legislators except between June 1 and the general election
    in the year of the member’s election and, then, only if the Legislature has
    concluded its final floorperiod and is not in special or extraordinary session.

  • 2006 Wis Eth Bd 03 - IMPROPER USE OF OFFICE

    A legislator should not take official action that has a fiscal effect on a private
    organization on whose board of directors the legislator serves unless the
    legislator’s appointment to the organization’s board were pursuant to a statute, a
    resolution of the Legislature, or a condition imposed by the State of Wisconsin
    that established the legislator’s role as an agent of our state’s government representing
    governmental interests, not the separate interests of the organization.


    The Ethics Board advises that:

    1. A state public official attending a conference or convention may accept
          educational or informational material or other item for the purpose of
          conveying it to the State of Wisconsin for the use or benefit of a state
          office or agency.

  • 2006 Wis Eth Bd 05 - GIFTS

    In determining whether a gift is of “substantial value,” the Ethics Board
    looks at the totality of the circumstances.* Here, the value of the gifts is small in
    comparison to the time you devoted to the two organizations, the sentimental
    value of the gifts is greater than their monetary value, and the gifts are, in
    essence, commemorative in nature. In these circumstances, we conclude that
    the gifts are not of “substantial value” as that term is used in the Ethics Code,
    and you may keep them.

  • 2006 Wis Eth Bd 06 - FEES & HONORARIUMS; GIFTS

    Wisconsin law [§19.56 (1), Wisconsin Statutes] encourages you to
    address groups about legislative, administrative, executive or judicial processes
    and proposals and issues initiated by or affecting a department or the judicial
    branch and to accept reasonable compensation from the sponsor when you do.
    The bookends offered are well within the ambit of reasonable compensation. If
    your address can be appropriately characterized as meeting the subject matter

  • 2006 Wis Eth Bd 07 - LOBBYING

    The Ethics Board advises:

    1) An elected state official may accept compensation from a joint venture if
          the official is providing professional services to the joint venture for its use;


  • 2005 Wis Eth Bd 03 - PUBLIC CONTRACTS

    The Board advises:

    1) That you notify the Ethics Board and the appropriate state agency before entering a contract
          with a local Wisconsin government in which the local government is acting as the state’s agent; and

    2) You need not provide notification to anyone if the contract is paid from shared revenues or
          other funds the state provides the local government over which the state has ceded control.

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