Rep. Chris Kapenga’s Constitutional Crisis: Has State Representative Who Wants to Rewrite U.S. Constitution Violated State Laws?

Complaint Alleges Kapenga Used State Resources to Support Group Advocating for Rewrite of U.S. Constitution, Failed to Disclose Position as Corporate Officer in Possible Violation of Law

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MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now has filed a formal complaint against State Rep. Chris Kapenga with the state Government Accountability Board for failing to disclose his position as an officer of a corporation on his statement of economic interest and using his state office to receive funds for an out-of-state corporation seeking to rewrite the U.S. Constitution.

“Whether or not there is a crisis requiring a rewrite of the Constitution of the United States is debatable,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “But what’s clear is that Rep. Kapenga has failed to abide by the laws of Wisconsin prohibiting the use of state resources to benefit outside groups and requiring elected officials and candidates for office to be transparent about their dealings.”

Wisconsin law requires state legislators and candidates for office to disclose groups they are associated with on a statement of economic interest filed with the Government Accountability Board. The law also prohibits a state official from using his or her position of taxpayer funded resources to benefit an organization with which they are affiliated.

According to One Wisconsin Now’s complaint and supporting documentation provided, Kapenga did not disclose his position as co-president of the Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL) on his 2015 statement of economic interest. In addition, the website for the group lists Rep. Kapenga’s state funded office in the Capitol as the site to which donations to ASL should be sent.

The Assembly of State Legislatures was established in 2013 and formally incorporated in Ohio in 2014. It advocates for convening a convention for the purpose of amending the U.S. Constitution.

Ross concluded, “Before Rep. Kapenga even considers rewriting the Constitution of the United States of America he ought to follow our existing state laws that prohibit him from using our tax dollars to help outside groups and require him to disclose his affiliation with corporations. It’s the least we should expect from our elected officials.”

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.