Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 9. POLITICAL REFORM [81000 - 91014]

  ( Title 9 added June 4, 1974, by initiative Proposition 9. )

CHAPTER 4. Campaign Disclosure [84100 - 84511]

  ( Chapter 4 added June 4, 1974, by initiative Proposition 9. )

ARTICLE 5. Disclosure in Advertisements [84501 - 84511]
  ( Article 5 added November 5, 1996, by initiative Proposition 208, Sec. 37. )

84501.
  

For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:

(a) (1) “Advertisement” means any general or public communication that is authorized and paid for by a committee for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate or candidates for elective office or a ballot measure or ballot measures.

(2) “Advertisement” does not include any of the following:

(A) A communication from an organization, other than a political party, to its members.

(B) A campaign button smaller than 10 inches in diameter; a bumper sticker smaller than 60 square inches; or a small tangible promotional item, such as a pen, pin, or key chain, upon which the disclosure required cannot be conveniently printed or displayed.

(C) Wearing apparel.

(D) Sky writing.

(E) An electronic media communication for which inclusion of the disclosures required by Section 84502, 84503, or 84506.5, is impracticable or would severely interfere with the committee’s ability to convey the intended message because of the nature of the technology used to make the communication.

(F) Any other communication as determined by regulations of the Commission.

(b) “Cumulative contributions” means the cumulative amount of contributions received by a committee beginning 12 months before the date of the expenditure and ending seven days before the time the advertisement is sent to the printer or broadcaster.

(c) (1) “Top contributors” means the persons from whom the committee paying for an advertisement has received its three highest cumulative contributions of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more.

(2) If two or more contributors of identical amounts qualify as top contributors, the most recent contributor of that amount shall be listed as the top contributor in any disclosure required by Section 84503.

(3) If a committee primarily formed to support or oppose a state candidate or ballot measure contributes funds to another committee primarily formed to support or oppose the same state candidate or ballot measure and the funds used for the contribution were earmarked to support or oppose that candidate or ballot measure, the committee receiving the earmarked contribution shall disclose the contributors who earmarked their funds as the top contributor or contributors on the advertisement if the definition of top contributor provided for in paragraph (1) is otherwise met. If the committee receiving the earmarked contribution contributes any portion of the contribution to another committee primarily formed to support or oppose the specifically identified ballot measure or candidate, that committee shall disclose the true source of the contribution to the new committee receiving the earmarked funds. The new committee shall disclose the contributor on the new committee’s advertisements if the definition of top contributor provided for in paragraph (1) is otherwise met.

(A) The primarily formed committee making the earmarked contribution shall provide the primarily formed committee receiving the earmarked contribution with the name and address of the contributor or contributors who earmarked their funds and the amount of the earmarked contribution from each contributor at the time the contribution is made. If the committee making the contribution received earmarked contributions that exceed the amount contributed or received contributions that were not earmarked, the committee making the contribution shall use a reasonable accounting method to determine which top contributors to identify pursuant to this subparagraph, but in no case shall the same contribution be disclosed more than one time to avoid disclosure of additional contributors who earmarked their funds.

(B) The committee receiving the earmarked contribution may rely on the information provided pursuant to subparagraph (A) for purposes of complying with the disclosure required by Section 84503 and shall be considered in compliance with Section 84503 if the information provided pursuant to subparagraph (A) is disclosed as otherwise required.

(C) For purposes of this paragraph, funds are considered “earmarked” if any of the circumstances described in subdivision (b) of Section 85704 apply.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 6. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29. Note: This section was added on Nov. 5, 1996, by initiative Prop. 208.)

84502.
  

(a) (1) Any advertisement paid for by a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall include the words “Paid for by” followed by the name of the committee as it appears on the most recent Statement of Organization filed pursuant to Section 84101.

(2) Any advertisement paid for by a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013 that is a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate shall include the words “Paid for by” followed by the name of the committee as it appears on the most recent Statement of Organization filed pursuant to Section 84101 if the advertisement is any of the following:

(A) Paid for by an independent expenditure.

(B) An advertisement supporting or opposing a ballot measure.

(C) A radio or television advertisement.

(b) Any advertisement paid for by a committee pursuant to subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 82013 shall include the words “Paid for by” followed by the name that the filer is required to use on campaign statements pursuant to subdivision (o) of Section 84211.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 8. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84503.
  

(a) Any advertisement paid for by a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall include the words “committee major funding from” followed by the names of the top contributors to the committee paying for the advertisement. If fewer than three contributors qualify as top contributors, only those contributors that qualify shall be disclosed pursuant to this section. If there are no contributors that qualify as top contributors, this disclosure is not required.

(b) The disclosure of a top contributor pursuant to this section need not include terms such as “incorporated,” “committee,” “political action committee,” or “corporation,” or abbreviations of these terms, unless the term is part of the contributor’s name in common usage or parlance.

(c) If this article requires the disclosure of the name of a top contributor that is a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013 and is a sponsored committee pursuant to Section 82048.7 with a single sponsor, only the name of the single sponsoring organization shall be disclosed.

(d) This section does not apply to a committee as defined by subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 82013.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 10. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84504.
  

(a) An advertisement paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, that is disseminated over the radio or by telephonic means shall include the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5 at the beginning or end of the advertisement, read in a clearly spoken manner and in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement, and shall last no less than three seconds.

(b) Notwithstanding the definition of “top contributors” in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 84501, radio and prerecorded telephonic advertisements shall disclose only the top two contributors of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more unless the advertisement lasts 15 seconds or less or the disclosure statement would last more than eight seconds, in which case only the single top contributor of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more shall be disclosed.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 12. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84504.1.
  

(a) An advertisement paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, that is disseminated as a video, including advertisements on television and videos disseminated over the Internet, shall include the disclosures required by Sections 84502 and 84503 at the beginning or end of the advertisement.

(b) The disclosure required by subdivision (a) shall be written and displayed for at least five seconds of a broadcast of 30 seconds or less or for at least 10 seconds of a broadcast that lasts longer than 30 seconds.

(1) The written disclosure required by subdivision (a) shall appear on a solid black background on the entire bottom one-third of the television or video display screen, or bottom one-fourth of the screen if the committee does not have or is otherwise not required to list top contributors, and shall be in a contrasting color in Arial equivalent type, and the type size for the smallest letters in the written disclosure shall be 4 percent of the height of the television or video display screen. The top contributors, if any, shall each be disclosed on a separate horizontal line, in descending order, beginning with the top contributor who made the largest cumulative contributions on the first line. The name of each of the top contributors shall be centered horizontally. The written disclosures shall be underlined, except for the names of the top contributors, if any.

(2) If using a type size of 4 percent of the height of the television or video display screen causes the name of any of the top contributors to exceed the width of the screen or causes the disclosures to exceed one-third of the television or video display screen, the type size of the name of the top contributor shall be reduced until the top contributor’s name fits on the width of the screen or the entire disclosure fits within one-third of the television or video display screen, but in no case shall the type size be smaller than 2.5 percent of the height of the screen.

(c) An advertisement that is an independent expenditure supporting or opposing a candidate shall include the appropriate statement from Section 84506.5 in the solid black background described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) below all other text required to appear in that area in a contrasting color and in Arial equivalent type no less than 2.5 percent of the height of the television or video display screen.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 13. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84504.2.
  

(a) A print advertisement paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall include the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5, displayed as follows:

(1) The disclosure area shall have a solid white background and shall be in a printed or drawn box on the bottom of at least one page that is set apart from any other printed matter. All text in the disclosure area shall be in contrasting color.

(2) The text shall be in an Arial equivalent type with a type size of at least 10-point for printed advertisements designed to be individually distributed, including, but not limited to, mailers, flyers, and door hangers.

(3) The top contributors, if any, shall each be disclosed on a separate horizontal line, in descending order, beginning with the top contributor who made the largest cumulative contributions on the first line. The name of each of the top contributors shall be centered horizontally in the disclosure area.

(4) Immediately below the text described in paragraph (3), committees subject to Section 84223 shall include the text “Funding Details At [insert Commission Internet Web site].” The text shall be in an Arial equivalent type with a type size of at least 10-point for printed advertisements designed to be individually distributed, including, but not limited to, mailers, flyers, and door hangers.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraphs (2) and (4) of subdivision (a), the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5 on a printed advertisement that is larger than those designed to be individually distributed, including, but not limited to, yard signs or billboards, shall be in Arial equivalent type with a total height of at least five percent of the height of the advertisement, and printed on a solid background with sufficient contrast that is easily readable by the average viewer. The text may be adjusted so it does not appear on separate horizontal lines, with the top contributors separated by a comma.

(c) Notwithstanding the definition of “top contributors” in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 84501, newspaper, magazine, or other public print advertisements that are 20 square inches or less shall be required to disclose only the single top contributor of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 14. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84504.3.
  

(a) An electronic media advertisement, other than an Internet Web site, paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall comply with both of the following:

(1) Include the text “Who funded this ad?” in a contrasting color and a font size that is easily readable by the average viewer.

(2) Such text shall be a hyperlink to an Internet Web site containing the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5 in a contrasting color and in no less than 8 point font.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the text required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) is not required if including the language would be impracticable. In such circumstances the advertisement need only include a hyperlink to an Internet Web site containing the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), an Internet Web site paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall include the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5 in a contrasting color and in no less than 8 point font.

(d) An Internet Web site that is hyperlinked as provided for in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall remain online and available to the public until 30 days after the date of the election in which the candidate or ballot measure supported or opposed by the advertisement was voted upon.

(e) An advertisement made via a form of electronic media that is audio only and therefore cannot include either of the disclaimers in subdivision (a) shall comply with the disclaimer requirements for radio advertisements in Section 84504.

(f) An advertisement made via a form of electronic media that allows users to engage in discourse and post content, or any other type of social media, shall only be required to include the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5 in a contrasting color and in no less than 8 point font on the committee’s profile, landing page, or similar location and shall not be required to include the disclaimer required by subdivision (a) on each individual post, comment, or other similar communication.

(g) The disclaimer required by this section does not apply to advertisements made via social media for which the only expense or cost of the communication is compensated staff time unless the social media account where the content is posted was created only for the purpose of advertisements governed by this title.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 15. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84504.4.
  

A radio or television advertisement that is paid for by a political party or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, and that does not support or oppose a ballot measure and is not paid for by an independent expenditure, shall include the disclosure required by Section 84502 subject to the following requirements:

(a) In a radio advertisement, the words shall be included at the beginning or end of the advertisement and read in a clearly spoken manner and in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement.

(b) In a television advertisement, the words shall appear in writing for at least four seconds with letters in a type size that is greater than or equal to 4 percent of the height of the screen.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 16. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84504.5.
  

An advertisement that is an independent expenditure and paid for by a political party or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate shall include the disclosures required by Sections 84502 and 84506.5. An advertisement that supports or opposes a ballot measure and is paid for by a political party or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate shall include the disclosure required by Section 84502. A disclosure that is included in an advertisement pursuant to this section is subject to the following requirements:

(a) A radio or telephone advertisement shall include the required disclosures at the beginning or end of the advertisement and be read in a clearly spoken manner and in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement, and shall last no less than three seconds.

(b) A video advertisement, including television and videos disseminated over the Internet, shall include the required disclosures in writing at the beginning or end of the advertisement in a text that is of sufficient size to be readily legible to an average viewer and in a color that has a reasonable degree of contrast with the background of the advertisement for at least four seconds. The required disclosure must also be spoken during the advertisement if the written disclosure appears for less than five seconds of a broadcast of thirty seconds or less or for less than ten seconds of a broadcast of sixty seconds or more.

(c) (1) A print advertisement shall include the required disclosures in no less than 10 point font and in a color that has a reasonable degree of contrast with the background of the advertisement.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the required disclosures on a print advertisement that is larger than those designed to be individually distributed, such as a yard sign or billboard, shall in total constitute no less than five percent of the total height of the advertisement and shall appear in a color that has a reasonable degree of contrast with the background of the advertisement.

(d) An electronic media advertisement shall include the disclosures required by Section 84504.3.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 17. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84505.
  

(a) In addition to the requirements of Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5, the committee placing the advertisement or persons acting in concert with that committee shall be prohibited from creating or using a noncandidate-controlled committee or a nonsponsored committee to avoid, or that results in the avoidance of, the disclosure of any individual, industry, business entity, controlled committee, or sponsored committee as a top contributor.

(b) Written disclosures required by Sections 84503 and 84506.5 shall not appear in all capital letters, except that capital letters shall be permitted for the beginning of a sentence, the beginning of a proper name or location, or as otherwise required by conventions of the English language.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 18. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29. Note: This section was added on Nov. 5, 1996, by initiative Prop. 208.)

84506.5.
  

An advertisement supporting or opposing a candidate that is paid for by an independent expenditure shall include a statement that it was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate. If the advertisement was authorized or paid for by a candidate for another office, the expenditure shall instead include a statement that “This advertisement was not authorized or paid for by a candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a candidate for this office.”

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 20. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84509.
  

If the order of top contributors required to be disclosed pursuant to this article changes or a new contributor qualifies as a top contributor, the disclosure in the advertisement shall be updated as follows:

(a) A television, radio, telephone, electronic billboard, or other electronic media advertisement shall be updated to reflect the new top contributors within five business days. A committee shall be deemed to have complied with this subdivision if the amended advertisement is delivered, containing a request that the advertisement immediately be replaced, to all affected broadcast stations or other locations where the advertisement is placed no later than the fifth business day.

(b) A print media advertisement, including nonelectronic billboards, shall be updated to reflect the new top contributors before placing a new or modified order for additional printing of the advertisement.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 24. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29.)

84510.
  

(a) (1) In addition to the remedies provided for in Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 91000) of this title, any person who violates Section 84503 or 84506.5 is liable in a civil or administrative action brought by the Commission or any person for a fine up to three times the cost of the advertisement, including placement costs.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), any person who intentionally violates any provision of Sections 84504 to 84504.3, inclusive, or Section 84504.5, for the purpose of avoiding disclosure is liable in a civil or administrative action brought by the Commission or any person for a fine up to three times the cost of the advertisement, including placement costs.

(b) The remedies provided in subdivision (a) shall also apply to any person who purposely causes any other person to violate any of the sections described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a) or who aids and abets any other person in a violation.

(c) If a judgment is entered against the defendant or defendants in an action brought under this section, the plaintiff shall receive 50 percent of the amount recovered. The remaining 50 percent shall be deposited in the General Fund of the state. In an action brought by a local civil prosecutor, 50 percent shall be deposited in the account of the agency bringing the action and 50 percent shall be paid to the General Fund of the state.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 25. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29. Note: This section was added on Nov. 5, 1996, by initiative Prop. 208.)

84511.
  

(a) This section applies to a committee that does either of the following:

(1) Makes an expenditure of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more to an individual for his or her appearance in an advertisement that supports or opposes the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot measure.

(2) Makes an expenditure of any amount to an individual for his or her appearance in an advertisement that supports or opposes the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot measure and that states or suggests that the individual is a member of an occupation that requires licensure, certification, or other specialized, documented training as a prerequisite to engage in that occupation.

(b) A committee described in subdivision (a) shall file, within 10 days of the expenditure, a report that includes all of the following:

(1) An identification of the measure that is the subject of the advertisement.

(2) The date of the expenditure.

(3) The amount of the expenditure.

(4) The name of the recipient of the expenditure.

(5) For a committee described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), the occupation of the recipient of the expenditure.

(c) An advertisement paid for by a committee described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall include a disclosure statement stating “(spokesperson’s name) is being paid by this campaign or its donors” in highly visible font shown continuously if the advertisement consists of printed or televised material, or spoken in a clearly audible format if the advertisement is a radio broadcast or telephonic message. If the advertisement is a television or video advertisement, the statement shall be shown continuously, except when the disclosure statement required by Section 84504.1 is being shown.

(d) (1) An advertisement paid for by a committee described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall include a disclosure statement stating “Persons portraying members of an occupation in this advertisement are compensated spokespersons not necessarily employed in those occupations” in highly visible font shown continuously if the advertisement consists of printed or televised material, or spoken in a clearly audible format if the advertisement is a radio broadcast or telephonic message.

(2) A committee may omit the disclosure statement required by this subdivision if all of the following are satisfied with respect to each individual identified in the report filed pursuant to subdivision (b) for that advertisement:

(A) The occupation identified in the report is substantially similar to the occupation portrayed in the advertisement.

(B) The committee maintains credible documentation of the appropriate license, certification, or other training as evidence that the individual may engage in the occupation identified in the report and portrayed in the advertisement and makes that documentation immediately available to the Commission upon request.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 26. (AB 249) Effective October 7, 2017. Operative January 1, 2018, by Stats. 2017, Ch. 546, Sec. 29. Note: Before it was repealed and added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 868, this section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

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