Section 2 of the bill addresses independent expenditures, meaning purchases expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate that are not controlled by or coordinated with a candidate. Under current law, a major independent expenditure that is broadcast, printed, mailed, or delivered must be accompanied by a disclaimer statement. Section 2 expands these forms of communication necessitating the disclosure statement to include communication placed on a website, streaming media service, or online forum for a fee. Section 2 additionally replaces the term 'circulated' with 'distributed' to modify all other forms of communication triggering the disclaimer requirement.
Section 2 also modifies the components of the disclaimer statement to:
- Include online video or audio communication in addition to broadcast communication; and
- Clarify that nonbroadcast communication includes online communications.
Under current law, an issue committee making an expenditure in excess of $1,000 on a communication that supports or opposes a statewide ballot issue or ballot question and that is broadcast by television or radio, printed in a newspaper or on a billboard, directly mailed or delivered by hand to personal residences, or otherwise distributed must disclose in the communication produced by the expenditure the name of the issue committee making the expenditure.
Section 3 modifies these disclosure requirements by:
- Imposing the disclosure requirements on all candidate committees, political committees, issue committees, small donor committees, political organizations, political parties, and other persons, and not just issue committees, by requiring those committees, organizations, parties, and other persons spending in excess of $1,000 per calendar year on certain communications to include in the communication a disclaimer statement; and
- Expanding the nature of the communication triggering a disclaimer statement from a communication supporting or opposing a statewide ballot issue or ballot question and that is broadcast by television or radio, printed in a newspaper or on a billboard, directly mailed or delivered by hand to personal residences, or otherwise distributed to any communication that is broadcast, printed, mailed, delivered, placed on a website, streaming media service, or online forum for a fee, or that is otherwise distributed.
Section 3 also requires any person who expends $1,000 or more per calendar year on any electioneering communication or any regular biennial school electioneering communication to include in such communication a disclaimer statement for communications for which disclosure is required.
Current law also requires that the disclaimer be printed on the communication clearly and legibly in a conspicuous manner. Section 3 requires that the disclaimer statement conform to the requirements specified in current law for disclaimers for large independent expenditures with respect to content, size, duration, and placement. The bill deletes other existing requirements pertaining to the disclaimer.
Any person who believes that a violation has occurred of disclaimer requirements is authorized to file a complaint with the secretary of state in accordance with existing statutory provisions governing enforcement of the state's campaign finance laws.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)