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Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Political Campaign Advertisements

§ 24.2-956.1 Requirements for print media advertisements sponsored by a person or political committee, other than a candidate campaign committee

Overview of Statute

This section outlines the requirements for print media advertisements sponsored by persons or political committees.

Statute

It shall be unlawful for any person or political committee to sponsor a print media advertisement that constitutes an expenditure or contribution required to be disclosed under Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) unless the following requirements are met:

1. It bears the legend or includes the statement: “Paid for by _______________ [Name of person or political committee].”

2. In an advertisement supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates, the sponsor states whether it is authorized by a candidate. The visual legend in the advertisement shall state either “Authorized by [Name of candidate], candidate for [Name of office]” or “Not authorized by a candidate.”

3. In an advertisement that identifies a candidate the sponsor is opposing, the sponsor must disclose in the advertisement the name of the candidate who is intended to benefit from the advertisement, if the sponsor coordinates with, or has the authorization of, the benefited candidate.

4. If an advertisement is jointly sponsored, the disclosure statement shall name all the sponsors.

5. Any disclosure statement required by this section shall be displayed in a conspicuous manner in a minimum font size of seven point.

6. Any print media advertisement appearing in electronic format shall display the disclosure statement in a minimum font size of seven point; however, if the advertisement lacks sufficient space for a disclosure statement in a minimum font size of seven point, the advertisement may meet disclosure requirements if, by clicking on the print media advertisement appearing in electronic format, the viewer is taken to a landing page or a home page that displays the disclosure statement in a conspicuous manner.

2002, c. 487, § 24.2-943; 2003, c. 237; 2004, cc. 55, 457; 2005, c. 369; 2006, cc. 787, 892; 2012, c. 519.

Definition [Expenditure]

Money and services of any amount, and any other thing of value, paid, loaned, provided, or in any other way disbursed by any candidate, campaign committee, political committee, or person for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or by any inaugural committee for the purpose of defraying the costs of the inauguration of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General.

See § 24.2-945.1.

Definition [Conspicuous]

So written, displayed, or communicated that a reasonable person ought to have noticed it.

See § 24.2-955.1.

Definition [Print media]

Billboards, cards, newspapers, newspaper inserts, magazines, printed material disseminated through the mail, pamphlets, fliers, bumper stickers, periodicals, website, electronic mail, yard signs, and outdoor advertising facilities. If a single print media advertisement consists of multiple pages, folds, or faces, the disclosure requirement of this section applies only to one page, fold, or face.

See § 24.2-955.1.

Definition [Contribution]

Money and services of any amount, in-kind contributions, and any other thing of value, given, advanced, loaned, or in any other way provided to a candidate, campaign committee, political committee, or person for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or to an inaugural committee for the purpose of defraying the costs of the inauguration of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General. “Contribution” includes money, services, or things of value in any way provided by a candidate to his own campaign and the payment by the candidate of a filing fee for any party nomination method.

See § 24.2-945.1.

Definition [Authorization]

Express approval or express consent by the candidate, the candidate’s campaign committee, or an agent of the candidate or his campaign committee after coordination.

See § 24.2-945.1.

Definition [Advertisement]

Any message appearing in the print media, on television, or on radio that constitutes a contribution or expenditure under Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.). “Advertisement” shall not include novelty items authorized by a candidate including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, magnets, and buttons to be attached to wearing apparel.

See § 24.2-955.1.

Definition [Authorized by]

Express approval or express consent by the candidate, the candidate’s campaign committee, or an agent of the candidate or his campaign committee after coordination.

See § 24.2-955.1.

Definition [Political committee]

Any political action committee, political party committee, referendum committee, or inaugural committee. The term shall not include: (i) a federal political action committee or out-of-state political committee; (ii) a campaign committee; (iii) a political party committee exempted pursuant to § 24.2-950.1; or (iv) a person who receives no contributions from any source and whose only expenditures are made solely from his own funds and are either contributions made by him which are reportable by the recipient pursuant to this chapter or independent expenditures which are reportable by him to the extent required by § 24.2-945.2, or a combination of such reportable contributions and independent expenditures.

For the purpose of applying the filing and reporting requirements of this chapter, the term “political committee” shall not include an organization holding tax-exempt status under § 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4), or 501(c) (6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code which, in providing information to voters, does not advocate or endorse the election or defeat of a particular candidate, group of candidates, or the candidates of a particular political party.

See § 24.2-945.1.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

See § 24.2-452.

Definition [Person]

Any individual or corporation, partnership, business, labor organization, membership organization, association, cooperative, or other like entity.

For the purpose of applying the filing and reporting requirements of this chapter, the term “person” shall not include an organization holding tax-exempt status under § 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4), or 501(c) (6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code which, in providing information to voters, does not advocate or endorse the election or defeat of a particular candidate, group of candidates, or the candidates of a particular political party.

See § 24.2-945.1.

Definition [Sponsor]

A candidate, candidate campaign committee, political committee, or person that purchases an advertisement.

See § 24.2-955.1.

Definition [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Candidate]

A person who seeks or campaigns for an office of the Commonwealth or one of its governmental units in a general, primary, or special election and who is qualified to have his name placed on the ballot for the office. “Candidate” shall include a person who seeks the nomination of a political party or who, by reason of receiving the nomination of a political party for election to an office, is referred to as its nominee. For the purposes of Chapters 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.), 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.), and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any write-in candidate. However, no write-in candidate who has received less than 15 percent of the votes cast for the office shall be eligible to initiate an election contest pursuant to Article 2 (§ 24.2-803 et seq.) of Chapter 8. For the purposes of Chapters 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any person who raises or spends funds in order to seek or campaign for an office of the Commonwealth, excluding federal offices, or one of its governmental units in a party nomination process or general, primary, or special election; and such person shall be considered a candidate until a final report is filed pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-947 et seq.) of Chapter 9.3.

See § 24.2-101.

Cases

virginia Cases

Case Name: Virginia Soc’y for Human Life, Inc. v. Caldwell

Citation: 500 S.E.2d 814

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/70eca3303eaf7fee014937abd57ff2cc

Case Summary: Holding that law requiring identification of authorship for writings only applies to those writings “made for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election for public office” and does not apply to writings that are limited to issue advocacy.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Virginia Soc. for Human Life, Inc. v. Caldwell

Citation: 906 F. Supp. 1071

Federal District Court: Western District of Virginia

Year: 1995

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/27512b32f8938b586f9a2aaeb6c9eaea

Case Summary: Holding that provision of Virginia’s Campaign Finance Disclosure Act requiring writing to plainly identify person responsible for it if writing concerns potential nominee or candidate violates First Amendment, because the author’s decision to remain anonymous is part of freedom of speech.