Can a private entity be subject to the open meetings law?
Yes. The Wisconsin open meetings law covers governmental and quasi-governmental corporations. See Wis. Stat. §§ 19.82(1) and 19.83(1). A private entity is a “quasi-governmental corporation” within the meaning of the open meetings and public records laws if, based on the totality of circumstances, it resembles a governmental corporation in function, effect, or status. Key factors include but are not limited to: (1) the entity’s finances; (2) whether the entity serves a public function; (3) whether it appears to the public to be a government entity; (4) whether the entity is subject to government control; and (5) the degree of access that government bodies have to the entity’s records. No one factor is determinative, and determinations must be made on a case-by-case basis. State of Wisconsin v. Beaver Dam Area Development Corporation, 2008 WI 90. (rev. 8/20)