I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
From: Randy Hollenbeck (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Re: Election help
Can people running for office use the Public Library to circulate nomination papers and conduct fundraising activities in the election?
Can people running for office use the Public schools to circulate nomination papers and conduct fundraising activities in the election?
Can people running for office use the Public Parks to circulate nomination papers and conduct fundraising activities in the election?
Can people running for office use the U.S. Post Office to circulate nomination papers and conduct fundraising activities in the election?
Please advise to what are the correct answers.
Subject: Thank You for Contacting the Elections Division - Wisconsin Government Accountability Board
Thank you for your interest in this Elections Division - Wisconsin Government Accountability Board topic. We may need to forward your question to a staff expert. Please allow time for the appropriate person to respond to your request.
Elections Division - Wisconsin Government Accountability Board
From: Haas, Michael R - GAB Michael.Haas@wisconsin.gov
cc"Lowe, Diane - GAB" <Diane.Lowe@wisconsin.gov>,
"Falk, Shane - GAB" <Shane.Falk@wisconsin.gov>,
"Robinson, Nathaniel E - GAB" <Nathaniel.Robinson@wisconsin.gov>
Subject: E-Mail from the Elections Division - Wisconsin Government Accountability Board Web Site: Election help
Your email has been forwarded to me for a response.
Wisconsin Statutes do not specifically indicate where nomination papers can be circulated. Whether public buildings or property can be used to circulate nomination papers is a decision for the governmental entity that owns the property. The answer may also depend upon whether the property or facility has traditionally been held out to be available for public discourse, or for rental by private organizations. The Government Accountability Board, therefore, is unable to determine, and does not have the authority to determine, whether nomination papers can be circulated in either the post office or facilities owned by a particular municipality.
Regarding fundraising activities, section 11.36 of the Wisconsin Statutes contains several provisions regarding solicitation of public employees and use of public property for fundraising. Subsection (2) of that statute prohibits the solicitation of any officer or employee of a municipality during established hours of employment or while the officer or employee is engaged in official duties. Subsections (3) and (4) generally prohibit the use of a public building for political fundraising. However, those restrictions may not prevent a municipality from renting out or permitting the use of a public building for a private political organization when the facility is not being used for a public purpose.
Violations of the campaign finance laws involving local offices are prosecuted by the local district attorney and therefore any complaints regarding alleged improper activity should be filed with that office. This response is not intended to conclude whether or not violations have occurred in the specific situations you described.
Thank you for contacting the Government Accountability Board.
Mr. Hollenbeck –
Your e-mail to the District Attorney has been forwarded to me for my attention. I am the prosecutor assigned to handle election law issues arising in
It is not my place to offer advisory opinions on generalized fact situations. Without suggesting that this is the only law that pertains to your inquiry, Wis. Stats. Section 11.36 may relate to the sort of activities that you have in mind. The statute provides in relevant part:
(1) No person may solicit or receive from any state officer or employee or from any officer or employee of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority any contribution or service for any political purpose while the officer or employee is engaged in his or her official duties, except that an elected state official may solicit and receive services not constituting a contribution from a state officer or employee or an officer or employee of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority with respect to a referendum only. Agreement to perform services authorized under this subsection may not be a condition of employment for any such officer or employee.
(2) No person may solicit or receive from any officer or employee of a political subdivision of this state any contribution or service for any political purpose during established hours of employment or while the officer or employee is engaged in his or her official duties.
(3) Every person who has charge or control in a building, office or room occupied for any purpose by this state, by any political subdivision thereof or by the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority shall prohibit the entry of any person into that building, office or room for the purpose of making or receiving a contribution.
(4) No person may enter or remain in any building, office or room occupied for any purpose by the state, by any political subdivision thereof or by the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority or send or direct a letter or other notice thereto for the purpose of requesting or collecting a contribution.
(5) In this section, "political purpose" includes an act done for the purpose of influencing the election or nomination for election of a person to national office, and "contribution" includes an act done for that purpose.
I would note that I can think of fact patterns within the scope of your generalized fact situations that both would and would not violate Section 11.36.
While I am generally aware of federal regulations that may impact upon the use of Post Office property, I would refer you to the United States Attorney’s Office as it may relate to your inquiry.
Bruce J. Landgraf
Assistant District Attorney
(414) 278-2178 - Voice
(414) 223-1929 – Fax
Cc: Wells, Linda K.
Thank you for your e-mail. We’ll look at what you’ve identified and determine whether any action by this office is warranted. You may also want to contact the Government Accountability Board and your local district attorney as they would generally be the lead agencies for these types of matters. As for your questions, the Department of Justice is not able to provide legal advice to private citizens. However, If you can provide a mailing address, I will route your letter for a more formal response that would include some information about resources that may be available to you.
Thank you for your interest in protecting the integrity of elections.
I’m sorry you’ve gotten the run-around. We do take these things seriously and, if we can’t help you, will try to steer you in the right direction. Election and campaign issues are sometimes a bit tricky because there may be different rules depending on whether it is a state or federal election and whether the activity is taking place at a state, local or federal facility. Also, as I’m sure you understand, all government agencies are being given more and more responsibility while, at the same time, their resources are being cut. Unfortunately, that means that we are not always able to be as responsive as we would like to be with concerned citizens like you.
When we determine that something is within our jurisdiction we don’t pass the buck. If we have other priorities, or choose not to pursue a matter, we will at least try to explain our decision. Most people understand that government can’t do everything and we prefer to be up-front with people about our decisions.
From: Randy Hollenbeck <email@example.com>
To: "Haas, Michael R - GAB" <Michael.Haas@wisconsin.gov>
Subject: Re: E-Mail from the Elections Division - Wisconsin Government Accountability Board Web Site: Election help
Why would this not apply to the Cudahy
This was sent to me from a friend:
I am no lawyer and my research is limited but the case law that I briefly could find was clear that the Post Office is off limits for obtaining signatures (see link below)
From: Haas, Michael R - GAB <Michael.Haas@wisconsin.gov>
To: Randy Hollenbeck <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: E-Mail from the Elections Division - Wisconsin Government Accountability Board Web Site: Election help
Thanks for forwarding that. I do recall now but do not know if I was aware of the specific candidate so it did not ring a bell. Our involvement was limited to providing guidance to the local clerk, rather than our office looking into the situation directly. The focus of the clerk's inquiry had to do with whether the signatures could be accepted based on where they were collected, whereas I took your inquiry to be focusing on campaign finance laws and regulations about campaigning on public property. I did not realize that we were discussing the same situation at the time, so I appreciate your clearing up my confusion on that point.