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WI Political Law Update: GAB Review of Existing Regulations/Opinions

March 03, 2008

At a meeting last week, the Government Accountability Board ("GAB") adopted the attached schedule as it begins its review of the existing Elections Board and Ethics Board regulations, advisory opinions and guidance documents. As described by GAB Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy in the attached cover memo, this review is mandated by the enabling legislation and must occur during GAB's first year of existence.

If you work for an organization that relies on an existing regulation, advisory opinion or other guidance document, your organization will want to take steps through the hearing process to ensure that GAB affirms the existing standard. If you work for an organization that does not agree with an existing regulation, advisory opinion or other guidance document, your organization may want to use the hearing process to challenge an existing standard. Either way, organizations active in Wisconsin lobbying and political activity should monitor GAB's activities this year as the new agency's actions are likely, in some manner, to have an effect on current practices.

First up at the next GAB meeting on March 26 is the existing express advocacy / issue advocacy regulation in ElBd 1.28. We are already in the process of working with a coalition of organizations in filing testimony in support of the existing standard. If you are interested in participating in this coalition, please let us know this week as the deadline for written testimony in March 17. Also on the March 26 agenda are two other very important issues that we are working on: the regulation of nonpartisan GOTV and the state's coordination standard. Please let us know as well if you have interest in either of these issues.

After the next GAB meeting, highlights of the schedule for other issues include:

May 5

  • NonResident PACs

June 9
  • Absentee voting
  • Lobbyist campaign contributions
  • Lobbying guidelines

July 16
  • State official / lobbyist interactions on "item of value"

August 28
  • State officials - meal and travel expenses

October 6
  • Conduits
  • Regulation of corporations and PACs
  • Earmarking contributions
  • Joint fundraising

As always, please let us know if you have questions or need additional information on any of these topics.

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