March 2, 2004
WDC amendments are in bold.
ElBd. 1.28 Scope of regulated activity; election of candidates
(1) Definitions. As used in this rule:
(a) "Political committee" means every committee which is formed primarily to influence elections or which is under the control of a candidate.
(b) "Contributions for political purposes" means contributions made to 1) a candidate, or 2) a political committee or 3) an individual who makes contributions to a candidate or political committee or incurs obligations or makes disbursements for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of an identified candidate.
(c) "Electioneering communication" means any broadcast, cable, satellite or direct mail communication that:
1. refers to a clearly identified candidate for state or local office.
2. is made within—
a. 60 days before a general or special election for the office sought by the candidate;
b. 30 days before a primary election held to nominate a candidate for the office sought by the candidate.
3. "Electioneering communication" does not include:
a. a communication, other than an advertisement, appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station;
b. a communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through a newspaper, newsletter, magazine or internet subscription service;
c. a communication which constitutes a candidate debate or forum or which solely promotes such a debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring the debate or forum;
d. a communication by an organization operating and remaining in good standing under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
e. a communication by an organization operating and remaining in good standing under Section 501 (c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, provided that the organization:
i. was formed for the express purpose of promoting political ideas and that it cannot engage in business activities;
ii. has no shareholders or other persons affiliated so as to have claim on its assets or earnings; and,
iii. was not established by a business corporation, and it has a policy not to accept contributions from such entities.
(d) "Committee" has the meaning given in s. 11.01(4).
(e) "Direct mail" means an identical letter or postcard sent to 500 or more addressees who are electors of a clearly identified candidate.
(2) Individuals other than candidates and committees other than political committees are subject to the applicable disclosure-related and recordkeeping-related requirements of ch. 11, Stats., only when they:
(a) Make contributions for political purposes, or
(b) Make contributions to any person at the request or with the authorization of a candidate or political committee, or
(c) Make a communication containing terms such as the following or their functional equivalents with reference to a clearly identified candidate that expressly advocates the election or defeat of that candidate and that unambiguously relates to the campaign of that candidate:
1. "Vote for;"
4. "Cast your ballot for;"
5. "Smith for Assembly;"
6. "Vote against;"
(d) Make an "electioneering communication."
(3) Consistent with s. 11.05(2), Stats., nothing in sub. 1 or (2) should be construed as requiring registration and reporting, under ss. 11.05 and 11.06, Stats., of an individual whose only activity is the making of a contribution.
(4) Disbursements made for "electioneering communications" are made for a political purpose within the meaning of s. 11.01(16)(a).