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florida > The Florida Election Code > Campaign Financing

§ 106.1439 Electioneering communications; disclaimers.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the disclaimers needed for electioneering communications. Failure to provide the correct disclaimer could result in a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Statute

(1) Any electioneering communication, other than a telephone call, shall prominently state: “Paid electioneering communication paid for by   (Name and address of person paying for the communication)  .”

(2) Any electioneering communication telephone call shall identify the persons or organizations sponsoring the call by stating either: “Paid for by   (insert name of persons or organizations sponsoring the call)  .” or “Paid for on behalf of   (insert name of persons or organizations authorizing call)  .” This subsection does not apply to any telephone call in which the individual making the call is not being paid and the individuals participating in the call know each other prior to the call.
(3) Any person who fails to include the disclaimer prescribed in this section in any electioneering communication that is required to contain such disclaimer commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

History:

s. 7, ch. 2004-252; s. 28, ch. 2010-167; ss. 19, 30, ch. 2011-6; HJR 7105, 2011 Regular Session.

Definition [Electioneering Communication]

Communication that is publicly distributed by a television station, radio station, cable television system, satellite system, newspaper, magazine, direct mail, or telephone and that:

1. Refers to or depicts a clearly identified candidate for office without expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate but that is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate;

2. Is made within 30 days before a primary or special primary election or 60 days before any other election for the office sought by the candidate; and

3. Is targeted to the relevant electorate in the geographic area the candidate would represent if elected.

The term “electioneering communication” does not include:

1. A communication disseminated through a means of communication other than a television station, radio station, cable television system, satellite system, newspaper, magazine, direct mail, telephone, or statement or depiction by an organization, in existence before the time during which a candidate named or depicted qualifies for that election, made in that organization’s newsletter, which newsletter is distributed only to members of that organization.

2. A communication in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of a radio station, television station, cable television system, or satellite system, unless the facilities are owned or controlled by a political party, political committee, or candidate. A news story distributed through the facilities owned or controlled by a political party, political committee, or candidate may nevertheless be exempt if it represents a bona fide news account communicated through a licensed broadcasting facility and the communication is part of a general pattern of campaign-related news accounts that give reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates in the area.

3. A communication that constitutes a public debate or forum that includes at least two opposing candidates for an office or one advocate and one opponent of an issue, or that solely promotes such a debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring the debate or forum, provided that:

a. The staging organization is either:

(I) A charitable organization that does not make other electioneering communications and does not otherwise support or oppose any political candidate or political party; or

(II) A newspaper, radio station, television station, or other recognized news medium; and

b. The staging organization does not structure the debate to promote or advance one candidate or issue position over another.

(c) For purposes of chapter 106, an expenditure made for, or in furtherance of, an electioneering communication is not considered a contribution to or on behalf of any candidate.

(d) For purposes of this chapter, an electioneering communication does not constitute an independent expenditure and is not subject to the limitations applicable to independent expenditures.

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).

Cases

florida Cases

Case Name: Guetzloe v. Florida Elections Commission

Citation: 927 So.2d 942

Year: 2006

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/3720cf373fc22b417668a0a04812c8e0

Case Summary: Guetzloe v. Florida Elections Commission held that in order to comply with the First Amendment, the last sentence in s. 106.071 had to be read as: "Any political advertisement paid for by an independent expenditure shall prominently state 'Paid political advertisement.'" However, the advertiser at issue here violated Florida campaign finance law by failing to state that no candidate had approved of the advertisement.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • 15 Am. Jur. Trials 1, Unfair Election Campaign Practices

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 222, Offenses relating to campaign literature and political advertisements

  • Constitutionality, Construction, and Application of Statute or Regulatory Action Respecting Political Advertising--Print Media Cases