When does a political communication or advertisement need to include a disclaimer?

When issuing a communication or advertisement, PACs (and other organizations and people) need to consider whether the inclusion of a disclaimer is required. The contents of disclaimers vary depending upon the substantive content of the communication itself, the messenger and the method of communication.

The following communications must include disclaimers:

  • All communication made by a political committee by means of any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mass mailing, or telephone bank to the general public.
  • All communications by any means described above by any person that expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.
  • All communications by any means described above that solicit a contribution.
  • All electioneering communications.

The contents and appearance of disclaimers are regulated in great detail, even, in some instances, down to the font size. As a matter of course, all political communications should be vetted for compliance before distribution.