February 10, 2023, Covington Alert
Political committees, advertisers, and advertising platforms have operated under a cloud of uncertainty regarding which disclaimers, if any, must appear on internet-based advertisements. Existing Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) regulations and guidance left many unanswered questions about the disclaimers required for these increasingly important internet ads. The FEC has finally offered some clarity in this area, though some tough questions remain.
In December, the FEC voted to expand the agency’s political advertising disclaimer requirements to explicitly address internet-based ads, capping a winding rulemaking process that began over 11 years ago. These new rules go into effect on March 1, 2023. This client alert discusses how the disclaimer rules have changed, what ambiguities still exist, and what political committees, advertisers, and advertising platforms should expect going forward.
How did the FEC’s disclaimer rules change?
The new FEC disclaimer rules expand the scope of the types of internet-based communications that must have disclaimers, and also describe the content that such internet advertising disclaimers must include.
Expanded Scope. FEC regulations place disclaimer requirements on all “public communications” that (1) are made by political committees, (2) contain express advocacy, or (3) solicit a contribution. While the content of the general disclaimer requirements depends on the identity of the entity making the communication, all disclaimers must be “clear and conspicuous,” must indicate whether the entity is authorized by a candidate, and must identify the person who paid for the ad.
Continue Reading What You Need to Know about the FEC’s New Internet Communications Disclaimer Rules