Wisconsin lawmakers target lawmaking to lobbying path

A bipartisan group of 40 state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prohibit former lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for at least a year after they leave office.

Under the bill, violators would be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and, in some cases, up to a year in prison.

At least two Republican lawmakers have quickly transitioned to lobbying in recent years. In 2014, then-Sen. Joe Leibham resigned from his seat and registered as a lobbyist for several private companies less than weeks later. In 2013, former state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald registered as a lobbyist within a week of leaving office.

Republican Sen. Duey Stroebel and Democrat Rep. Dana Wachs introduced the bill. Government watchdog organizations have long pushed for such a measure.