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Florida > The Florida Election Code > Campaign Financing

§ 106.147 Telephone solicitation; disclosure requirements; prohibitions; exemptions; penalties.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the disclosure requirements for telephone solicitations, and differentiates between a solicitation and political polls, which are not subject to the same disclosure requirements.

Statute

(1)

(a) Any telephone call supporting or opposing a candidate, elected public official, or ballot proposal must 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 paragraph does not apply to any telephone call in which both the individual making the call is not being paid and the individuals participating in the call know each other prior to the call.

(b) Any telephone call conducted for the purpose of polling respondents concerning a candidate or elected public official which is a part of a series of like telephone calls that consists of fewer than 1,000 completed calls and averages more than 2 minutes in duration is presumed to be a political poll and not subject to the provisions of paragraph (a).
(c) No telephone call shall state or imply that the caller represents any person or organization unless the person or organization so represented has given specific approval in writing to make such representation.
(d) No telephone call shall state or imply that the caller represents a nonexistent person or organization.
(2) Any telephone call, not conducted by independent expenditure, which expressly advocates for or against a candidate or ballot proposal requires prior written authorization by the candidate or sponsor of the ballot proposal that the call supports. A copy of such written authorization must be placed on file with the qualifying officer by the candidate or sponsor of the ballot proposal prior to the time the calls commence.
(3)
(a) Any person who willfully violates any provision of this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) For purposes of paragraph (a), the term “person” includes any candidate; any officer of any political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party executive committee; any officer, partner, attorney, or other representative of a corporation, partnership, or other business entity; and any agent or other person acting on behalf of any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, political party executive committee, or corporation, partnership, or other business entity.

History:

s. 18, ch. 97-13; s. 31, ch. 2008-95; s. 29, ch. 2010-167; ss. 20, 30, ch. 2011-6; HJR 7105, 2011 Regular Session; s. 21, ch. 2013-37.

Definition [Expenditure]

(a) A purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, transfer of funds by a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer between a primary depository and a separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit, or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election or making an electioneering communication. However, “expenditure” does not include a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election when made by an organization, in existence before the time during which a candidate qualifies or an issue is placed on the ballot for that election, for the purpose of printing or distributing such organization’s newsletter, containing a statement by such organization in support of or opposition to a candidate or issue, which newsletter is distributed only to members of such organization.

(b) As used in chapter 106, an “expenditure” for an electioneering communication is made when the earliest of the following occurs:

1. A person enters into a contract for applicable goods or services;

2. A person makes payment, in whole or in part, for the production or public dissemination of applicable goods or services; or

3. The electioneering communication is publicly disseminated. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(10).

Definition [Political Committee]

1. A combination of two or more individuals, or a person other than an individual, that, in an aggregate amount in excess of $500 during a single calendar year:

a. Accepts contributions for the purpose of making contributions to any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party;

b. Accepts contributions for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue;

c. Makes expenditures that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue; or

d. Makes contributions to a common fund, other than a joint checking account between spouses, from which contributions are made to any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party;

2. The sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment by initiative who intends to seek the signatures of registered electors.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the following entities are not considered political committees for purposes of this chapter:

1. National political parties, the state and county executive committees of political parties, and affiliated party committees regulated by chapter 103.

2. Corporations regulated by chapter 607 or chapter 617 or other business entities formed for purposes other than to support or oppose issues or candidates, if their political activities are limited to contributions to candidates, political parties, affiliated party committees, or political committees or expenditures in support of or opposition to an issue from corporate or business funds and if no contributions are received by such corporations or business entities.

3. Electioneering communications organizations as defined in subsection (9). Fla. Stat. § 106.11(16).

 

Definition [Independent Expenditure]

(a) An expenditure by a person for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate or the approval or rejection of an issue, which expenditure is not controlled by, coordinated with, or made upon consultation with, any candidate, political committee, or agent of such candidate or committee. An expenditure for such purpose by a person having a contract with the candidate, political committee, or agent of such candidate or committee in a given election period is not an independent expenditure.

(b) An expenditure for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate which is made by the national, state, or county executive committee of a political party, including any subordinate committee of the political party, an affiliated party committee, a political committee, or any other person is not considered an independent expenditure if the committee or person:

1. Communicates with the candidate, the candidate’s campaign, or an agent of the candidate acting on behalf of the candidate, including a pollster, media consultant, advertising agency, vendor, advisor, or staff member, concerning the preparation of, use of, or payment for, the specific expenditure or advertising campaign at issue;

2. Makes a payment in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, at the request or suggestion of, or pursuant to a general or particular understanding with the candidate, the candidate’s campaign, a political committee supporting the candidate, or an agent of the candidate relating to the specific expenditure or advertising campaign at issue;

3. Makes a payment for the dissemination, distribution, or republication, in whole or in part, of a broadcast or a written, graphic, or other form of campaign material prepared by the candidate, the candidate’s campaign, or an agent of the candidate, including a pollster, media consultant, advertising agency, vendor, advisor, or staff member;

4. Makes a payment based on information about the candidate’s plans, projects, or needs communicated to a member of the committee or person by the candidate or an agent of the candidate, provided the committee or person uses the information in any way, in whole or in part, either directly or indirectly, to design, prepare, or pay for the specific expenditure or advertising campaign at issue;

5. After the last day of the qualifying period prescribed for the candidate, consults about the candidate’s plans, projects, or needs in connection with the candidate’s pursuit of election to office and the information is used in any way to plan, create, design, or prepare an independent expenditure or advertising campaign, with:

a. An officer, director, employee, or agent of a national, state, or county executive committee of a political party or an affiliated party committee that has made or intends to make expenditures in connection with or contributions to the candidate; or

b. A person whose professional services have been retained by a national, state, or county executive committee of a political party or an affiliated party committee that has made or intends to make expenditures in connection with or contributions to the candidate;

6. After the last day of the qualifying period prescribed for the candidate, retains the professional services of a person also providing those services to the candidate in connection with the candidate’s pursuit of election to office; or

7. Arranges, coordinates, or directs the expenditure, in any way, with the candidate or an agent of the candidate.

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded. Fla. Stat. § 101.5603(2).

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 [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(6).

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 224, Offenses relating to telephone and online computer solicitations

  • Lobbying, PACs, and Campaign Finance s 11:106, Special state issues