Code Section

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) An electronic media communication addressed to recipients, such as email messages or text messages, from an organization to persons who have opted in or asked to receive messages from the organization. This subparagraph does not apply to a customer who has opted in to receive communications from a provider of goods or services, unless the customer has provided express approval to receive political messages from that provider of goods or services.

(C) Any communication that was solicited by the recipient, including, but not limited to, acknowledgments for contributions or information that the recipient communicated to the organization, or responses to an electronic message sent by the recipient to the same mobile number or email address.

(D) 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.

(E) Wearing apparel.

(F) Sky writing.

(G) Any other type of communication, as determined by regulations of the Commission, for which inclusion of the disclosures required by Sections 84502 to 84509, inclusive, is impracticable or would severely interfere with the committee’s ability to convey the intended message due to the nature of the technology used to make the communication.

(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) A tie between two or more contributors qualifying as top contributors shall be resolved by determining the contributor who made the most recent contribution to the committee, in which case the most recent contributor shall be listed before any other contributor of the same amount.

(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, address, occupation, and employer, if any, or principal place of business, if self-employed, 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.

(4) If an advertisement paid for by a committee supports or opposes a candidate, the determination of top contributors pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not include any nonprofit organization exempt from federal income taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code or any person who has prohibited in writing the use of that person’s contributions to support or oppose candidates if the committee does not use such contributions to support or oppose candidates.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 558, Sec. 2. (AB 864) Effective January 1, 2020. Note: This section was added on Nov. 5, 1996, by initiative Prop. 208.)