Advisory Opinion 04-03
The Campaign Spending Commission by this advisory opinion responds to questions that arise often in the course of an election. Section 11-215, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) provides that all advertisements, as defined under section 11-191, HRS, shall include a disclaimer containing the name and address of the candidate, committee, or party paying for the advertisement. The purpose of the disclaimer is to clearly identify to the public the person or persons behind an advertisement and where they can be contacted.
The disclaimer requirement applies to all advertisements, which includes any communication, exclusive of bumper stickers or other sundry items, that advocates for or against a candidate or ballot issue. A communication is broadly considered as published, broadcast, televised, or otherwise circulated and distributed.
Where a candidate or committee pays for the advertisement directly associated with a candidate, only the name and address of the candidate or committee is required. Similarly, an advertisement sponsored by a ballot issue committee must only include the name and address of the person paying for the advertisement.
Where the advertisement is not paid for by a candidate or committee directly associated with a candidate, but is with the approval and authority of a candidate, the advertisement shall contain the name and address of the person paying for the advertisement and a notice in a prominent location that the advertisement is “with the approval and authority of [the candidate*]” . The disclaimer notice shall be clearly legible, visible or audible as applicable.
Where the advertisement is not paid for by a candidate or committee directly associated with a candidate, but is without the approval of the candidate, the advertisement shall contain the name and address of the person paying for the advertisement and a notice in a prominent location that the advertisement is “without the approval and authority of [the candidate*]”. The disclaimer notice shall be clearly legible, visible, or audible as applicable.
The name or names of the person or persons paying for the advertisement shall be the true name of the person who owns the money or who supplied the money or property. Addresses shall be complete and the regular mailing address of the person paying for the advertisement. Post office box numbers are not permissible unless the post office box number is the usual mailing address as evidenced by a committee’s registration. Section 11-215(c), HRS, requires a penalty for failure to include a proper disclaimer on advertisements.
This Advisory Opinion is provided by the Commission as a means of stating its current interpretation of the Hawaii Election Campaign Contributions and Expenditures laws provided under HRS section 11-191, et seq. and the administrative rules of the Commission provided in chapter 2-14, Hawaii Administrative Rules. The Commission may adopt, revise, or revoke this Advisory Opinion upon the enactment of amendments to the Hawaii Revised Statutes or the adoption of administrative rules by the Commission.
Dated: Honolulu, Hawaii, July 14, 2004.
CAMPAIGN SPENDING COMMISSION
A. Duane Black
Steven E. Olbrich
Gino L. Gabrio