§ 106.03 Registration of political committees and electioneering communications organizations.
Overview of Statute
This statute governs the process by which political committees and electioneering communications organizations register in Florida. All political committees that receive more than $500 in contributions or expend the same amount must file a statement of organization within 10 days after organizing. Electioneering communications organizations have 24 hours after making expenditures for electioneering communications that cost more than $5,000. The statute then provides the details needed for the statement of organization.
(a) Each political committee that receives contributions or makes expenditures during a calendar year in an aggregate amount exceeding $500 or that seeks the signatures of registered electors in support of an initiative shall file a statement of organization as provided in subsection (3) within 10 days after its organization. If a political committee is organized within 10 days of any election, it shall immediately file the statement of organization required by this section.
(2) The statement of organization shall include:
(f) The name, address, office sought, and party affiliation of:
(7) The Division of Elections shall adopt rules to prescribe the manner in which committees and electioneering communications organizations may be dissolved and have their registration canceled. Such rules shall, at a minimum, provide for:
s. 3, ch. 73-128; s. 3, ch. 74-200; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 41, ch. 77-175; s. 18, ch. 79-365; s. 25, ch. 81-304; s. 1, ch. 82-143; s. 36, ch. 84-302; s. 5, ch. 89-256; s. 27, ch. 90-315; s. 3, ch. 2006-300; s. 21, ch. 2010-167; ss. 8, 30, ch. 2011-6; s. 57, ch. 2011-40; HJR 7105, 2011 Regular Session; s. 7, ch. 2013-37.
1. Definition for Supervisor
The supervisor of elections. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(36).
2. Definition for 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).
3. Definition for Contribution
(a) A gift, subscription, conveyance, deposit, loan, payment, or distribution of money or anything of value, including contributions in kind having an attributable monetary value in any form, made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election or making an electioneering communication.
(b) A transfer of funds between political committees, between electioneering communications organizations, or between any combination of these groups.
(c) The payment, by a person other than a candidate or political committee, of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a candidate or political committee without charge to the candidate or committee for such services.
(d) The 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, and the term includes interest earned on such account or certificate.
Notwithstanding the foregoing meanings of “contribution,” the term may not be construed to include services, including, but not limited to, legal and accounting services, provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or political committee or editorial endorsements. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(5).
4. Definition for Public Office
Any federal, state, county, municipal, school, or other district office or position which is filled by vote of the electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(32).
5. Definition for Public Office
A state, county, municipal, or school or other district office or position that is filled by vote of the electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(32).
6. Definition for Filing Officer
The person before whom a candidate qualifies or the agency or officer with whom a political committee or an electioneering communications organization registers. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(11).
7. Definition for Primary Election
An election held preceding the general election for the purpose of nominating a party nominee to be voted for in the general election to fill a national, state, county, or district office. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(29).
8. Definition for 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).
9. Definition for Special Primary Election
A special nomination election designated by the Governor, called for the purpose of nominating a party nominee to be voted on in a general or special election.
10. Definition for 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.
11. Definition for Electioneering Communications Organization
Any group, other than a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee, whose election-related activities are limited to making expenditures for electioneering communications or accepting contributions for the purpose of making electioneering communications and whose activities would not otherwise require the group to register as a political party or political committee under this chapter.
12. Definition for Issue
A proposition that is required by the State Constitution, by law or resolution of the Legislature, or by the charter, ordinance, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state to be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection at an election, or a proposition for which a petition is circulated in order to have such proposition placed on the ballot at an election. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(13).
13. Definition for Elector
“Elector” is synonymous with the word “voter” or “qualified elector or voter,” except where the word is used to describe presidential electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(15).
14. Definition for Division
The Division of Elections of the Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(8).
15. Definition for Election
Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).
16. Definition for Candidate
Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:
Case Name: Browning v. Florida Hometown Democracy, Inc., PAC
Citation: 29 So.3d 1053
Case Summary: Browning v. Florida Hometown Democracy, Inc., PAC held that the statute establishing petition signature revocation procedures violated the citizen initiative provision of the state constitution and as such were unconstitutional, since it was neither neutral nor nondiscriminatory, nor was it necessary to ensure ballot integrity. The case further held that the state supreme court had mandatory appellate jurisdiction because the district court of appeal implemented regulations that impacted the citizen initiative process.
Case Name: Falzone v. State
Citation: 500 So.2d 1337
Case Summary: Falzone v. State held that Florida's Campaign Finance Law was constitutional, and that the petitioner, a political committee member, committed a misdemeanor in knowingly failing to file a statement of organization as required by the Law.
Case Name: State v. Greco
Citation: 479 So.2d 786
Case Summary: State v. Greco held that the filing statute was constitutional as applied to appellees, who failed to file a statement of organization as a political committee.
Case Name: Worley v. Florida Secretary of State
Citation: 717 F.3d 1238
Federal Circuit Court: 11th Circuit Court
Case Summary: Worley v. Florida Secretary of State held that Florida's disclosure and disclaimer requirements in its campaign finance statutes were constitutional.
Case Name: National Organization for Marriage, Inc. v. Roberts
Citation: 753 F.Supp.2d 1217
Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida
Case Summary: National Organization for Marriage, Inc. v. Roberts held that Florida's "appeal to vote" statutory test was not void for vagueness even if it might be difficult in some circumstances to determine whether an ad was only susceptible to determination that it was an appeal to vote for or against a certain candidate.
Case Name: Worley v. Roberts
Citation: 749 F.Supp.2d 1321
Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida
Case Summary: Worley v. Roberts held that a preliminary injunction was not warranted as to disclosure of contributors, but that a preliminary injunction was warranted as to barring enforcement of limitations on spending contributions received in the final 5 days before an election.
Case Name: Let’s Help Florida v. McCrary
Citation: 621 F.2d 195
Federal Circuit Court: 5th Circuit Court
Case Summary: Let's Help Florida v. McCrary held that statutory restrictions on the size of contributions to political committees in a referendum elections are unconstitutional because they abridged contributors' right to freedom of association under the 1st Amendment and the state had no compelling interest in abridging that right.
Regulations & Guidance
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 100, Political committees
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 110, Reports by campaign treasurer
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 234, Constitutional amendments
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 235, Constitutional amendments-Procedure for placement on ballot
Lobbying, PACs, and Campaign Finance s 11:71, Overview
Lobbying, PACs, and Campaign Finance s 11:102, Registration-in-state PACs
Lobbying, PACs, and Campaign Finance s 11:103, Registration-Out-of-state PACs
0020 SurveyCheck 4; Establishing and Registering a Political Action Committee (PAC)