Bill would require groups to reveal donors

Lawmakers want disclosure for issue ads

Published On: May 01 2013 11:10:04 AM CDT
Campaign ads getting nasty
MADISON, Wis. -

Two state senators have re-introduced a bill that would require special interest groups who put out campaign issue ads to report their donors and spending.

Wisconsin law generally requires organizations that spend to influence an election to file financial reports. Many groups can get around that requirement, though, by running ads that don't explicitly tell voters to vote for or against a specific candidate, instead imploring viewers to contact a candidate and complain about his or her policies.

Under the bill, groups that distribute ads that clearly identify a candidate within 60 days of an election would be required to file financial reports with the state.

The bill's chief sponsors, Sens. Mike Ellis and Jon Erpenbach have been trying to pass issue ad disclosure requirements for years.