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AO 2013-13 Joint Fundraising Disclaimers Must List Participating Candidates

Freshman Hold’em, a joint fundraising committee (JFC), must list its participating federal candidates in required disclaimers on public messages. Merely disclosing the joint fundraising committee’s shortened name and website URL does not give the public enough information to identity the candidates paying for the communications.

Background
Freshman Hold’em, Stutzman for Congress, Gardner for Cognress 2012, Tom Reed for Congress, Denham for Congress, Benishek for Congress, Inc., Rodney for Congress, Duffy for Congress, Chris Gibson for Congress, Friends of Joe Heck, Friends of Dave Joyce, Pat Meehan for Congress, Scott Rigell for Congress, Rothfus for Congress, Jon Runyan for Congress, Inc., VoteTipton.com, Valadao for Congress, and Walorski for Congress Inc. Joint Fundraising Committee is a joint fundraising committee currently raising funds on behalf of 18 participating candidates and a nonconnected political committee. The Committee asks whether it may list only “Freshman Hold’em JFC” and the URL of its website in the required disclaimers on emails, web pages and other printed solicitations.

Analysis
Under the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) and FEC regulations, campaign committees, PACs, party committees and other groups that are not separate segregated funds may engage in joint fundraising. The participants may establish a separate political committee to serve as the joint fundraising representative or one of the participating committees may act in that capacity. 11 CFR 102.17(a).

The Act and regulations require all political committees to include disclaimers on their (1) “public communications;” (2) electronic mail of more than 500 substantially similar communications; and (3) websites available to the general public. 11 CFR 100.26 and 110.11. The disclaimer must indentify who paid for the message and indicate whether it was authorized by a candidate’s campaign.

Freshman Hold’em JFC’s proposal to use only “Freshman Hold’em” and its URL to identify itself in its disclaimers on its public messages would not satisfy the disclaimer requirements because it would not “give the reader … adequate notice of the identity of the person or political committee that paid for … the communication.” 11 CFR 110.11(c)(1). The participating candidates must be listed.

Date Issued: November 14, 2013; 4 pages.

(Posted 11/20/2013: By: Alex Knott)

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The FEC Record is produced by the Information Division, Office of Communications. Toll free 800-424-9530; Local 202-694-1100; Email info@fec.gov. Greg Scott, Director; Alex Knott, Senior Writer/Editor; Dorothy Yeager, Production Manager