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GAB rules lobbyists can make campaign donations any time

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Special interest groups can have their lobbyists pass on campaign donations to Wisconsin lawmakers at any time during the year.  

That's what the Government Accountability Board decided unanimously Wednesday.  

The new rule eliminates a previous ban on any donations from lobbyists before June 1st -- or whenever the Legislature is in session.

This spring, Republican lawmakers relaxed the rules but kept some limits in place. But officials said the language was vague, and some interpreted it to mean that lobbyists could no longer furnish donations from their bosses at any time.  

Legislative leaders, their attorneys, and lobbyists all supported what the board approved. Personal donations from lobbyists to candidates are still banned before April 15th of each election year.  

A watchdog who heads the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign criticized the more liberal interpretation of the new law. Mike McCabe said the board was "bullied into submission" by lobbyists. He called it a "sad commentary" on the condition of Wisconsin's political system.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)