Definitions:

Political Advertising

Advertising displays, newspaper ads, billboards, signs, brochures, articles, tabloids, flyers, letters, radio or TV presentations, or other means of mass communication, used for the purpose of appealing, directly or indirectly, for votes or for financial or other support or opposition in an election campaign.  "Mass communication" is a message intended to reach a large audience through any of the methods described above as well as periodicals, sample ballots, websites, emails, text messages, social media, and other online or electronic formats enabling the exchange of communication.  Sending 100 or more identical or substantially similar letters, emails or test messages to specific recipients within a 30-day period is an example of mass communication.

Independent Expenditure (IE)

  1. the ad supports or opposes a candidate for state, local, or judicial office;
  2. the ad is paid for by someone other than a candidate, a candidate's committee or agent;
  3. the sponsor does the advertising completely independently of any candidate support in the ad (or the opponent of the candidate opposed), or a candidate's committee or agent;
  4. the sponsor did not received the candidate's encouragement or approval to produce the ad; and
  5. the ad costs at least $1,000, or the cost of the latest ad when combined with the cost of earlier ads supporting or opposing the candidate, totals $1,000 or more.

Electioneering Communication (EC)

  1. clearly identifies at least one candidate for state, local, or judicial office;
  2. appears within 60 days of an election in the candidate's jurisdiction;
  3. is produced through radio, TV, postal mailing, billboard, newspaper, or periodical; and
  4. either alone, or in combination with other communications by the sponsor identifying the candidate, has a fair market value of $1,000 or more.

A sponsor of an independent political ad regarding a ballot measure and a candidate must prorate the cost of the ad to determine if the candidate portion meets either 1-5 or A-D above.  If so, the sponsor must comply with the disclosure requirements explained in this brochure.


SPONSOR IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:

Sponsor ID Text

Candidate Advertisements -

The statement "No candidate authorized this ad.  It is paid for by (name, address, city, state)" must be part of the ad.  A political committee that is not a bona fide party committee must also include:

  • "Top Five Contributors" followed by a list of the names of the five contributors who made the largest contributions in excess of $700 to the committee during the 12 months before the ad appears; AND
  • The full name of the individual or entity that established or directly maintains or controls the sponsoring committee (or indirectly maintains or controls the sponsoring committee through the formation of one or more political committees).

Recommended format:  No candidate authorized this ad.  It is paid for by the Committee for Good Government (Gotham City Merchants Assn.)  Top 5 Contributors...

Ballot Measure Advertisements -

Use the words "paid for by" or "sponsored" followed by the sponsor's name and address.  Include all sponsors' names and addresses, if there are multiple sponsors.  When the cost of the ad is $1,000 or more - singly or the total cost of all advertising sponsored by a committee about a particular ballot measure - also include:

  • Top Five Contributors" followed by a list of the names of the five contributors who made the largest contributions in excess of $700 to the committee during the 12 months before the ad appears; 

Sponsor ID Size & Placement

Written Ads & Websites :

Candidate party preference and sponsor requirements must:

  • appear on the first page of the communication in at least 10 point type, or
  • for billboards or posters, appear in type at least 10% of the largest size type used in the ad, and
  • be set apart from any other ad text.  Do not screen or half-tone the text.

Exemptions:  Small online ads with limited characters may display the required elements in an automatic display such as a mouse tip/rollover or nonblockable pop-up that remains visible for at least 4 seconds OR on a webpage that is conspicuously linked to the small ad and reached by one click of the mouse.  Yard signs no bigger than 8' x 4', clothing such as T-shirts, and bumper stickers no bigger than 4" x 15" are except from the sponsor requirements.  See list of all items exempt from sponsor ID..

Party Preference for broadcast ads, videos, and online audio ads

Clearly identity or speak the sponsor's name and any party preference.  (Sponsor's address not required.)  If identified, staff recommends that the party preference appear on the screen for at least 4 seconds in letters greater than 4% of the visual screen height at a reasonable color contrast with the background.  

Top 5 contributor language for broadcast ads, videos, and online audio ads 

When necessary in TV or video ads, a political committee has the option of displaying its Top 5 contributor names on the screen for at least 4 seconds in letters greater than 4% of the visual screen height at a reasonable color contrast with the background.  An abbreviation may be used when naming a Top 5 contributor, if the full name of the contributor is clearly spoken in the ad.

Alternate Option for TV and Other Mediums with a Visual Image:

illustration - TVThe "paid for by" statement and political committee disclosures may appear in print, so long as they are visible for at least 4 seconds, appear in letters greater than 4% of the visual screen height, and have a reasonable color contrast with the background.