October 13, 2018

The PDC has received several inquiries about how to provide sponsor ID for political advertising via text message, which is considered an online transmission method under WAC 390-05-290(2). PDC staff has advised political committees that text messages are eligible to use the small online ad alternative outlined in WAC 390-18-030, which allows sponsor ID to be provided using an "automatic display" that takes the reader directly to the required disclosures.

Since some phones receiving the text will not be able to follow a link, we suggest campaigns include, in addition to a web address, mechanisms that allow the recipients to request sponsor ID information. Sponsors should make that process as easy as possible, perhaps by allowing the recipient to reply with a single character that then prompts another text message with the sponsor ID information. The message would look something like this: “Go to www.xyzcommittee.com or text * for sponsor information.”

Sponsors who have questions about sponsor ID on any form of political advertising can review the PDC's online guidance or email us at pdc@pdc.wa.gov