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Ethics Commission won’t fine lobbyists after audit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Ethics Commission won’t be pursuing fines after an audit determined more than 14 percent of lobbyists may have engaged in unauthorized advocacy.

The Ethics Commission notified lobbyists of its decision in an email last week.

The commission touted its audit in January during an open meeting that came at the same time that its former director was under fire from Senate Republicans. The Senate subsequently voted not to confirm Brian Bell, and he stepped down.

The report found 78 possible violators but didn’t name any of them. Mike Wittenwyler, an attorney for the Association of Wisconsin Lobbyists, said on Friday only 22 of them actually failed to properly register after working at least five days as a lobbyist.

The commission told lobbyists that the audit will be done again and those found in violation may face fines then.

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