Political season is nearing so here’s a primer on political advertising laws

I saw a story earlier this week that with March approaching, it’s time to watch political rates start skyrocketing. Made me think that whoever believes that doesn’t know what Kentucky’s law states. That’s because the law specifically prohibits charging a candidate in excess of the lowest rate charged to other advertisers. So there’s no price gouging when election season rolls around.

Two questions that always come up during political season are:

“We’re having a wet-dry election. What disclaimer is required?”

The answer is none. Political advertising is defined as “any communication intended to support or defeat a candidate (person).” So a wet-dry vote is an “issue” and not included for the disclaimer.

The other question pertains to the disclaimer as well: “What information is required in a disclaimer?”

In 121.190, it expressly states: “…shall be identified by the words “paid for by” followed by the name and address of the individual or committee which paid for the communication; except that if paid for by a candidate, slate of candidates, or campaign committee, it shall be identified only by the words “paid for by” followed by the name of the candidate, slate of candidates, or campaign committee, whichever is applicable.”

Below are KRS 121.065 on political ad rates and 121.190 on the identification of contributors and advertisers.

Now you’re ready as those political ads (we hope) roll in the front door.

121.065 Limitation of political advertising rates; injunction

(1) No publisher of newspapers, magazines, handbills, or other printed matter, owner or lessor of billboards, radio or television station or network, or any other person, company, corporation, or organization offering its communications services for hire to the public shall be permitted to charge fees for political advertising in excess of the lowest rate charged to other advertisers at the time the political advertising is purchased.

(2) Political advertising means any communication intended to support or defeat a candidate for public office.

(3) An action to enjoin violations of this section shall be in the Circuit Court of the county where the complaining candidate resides.

 

121.190 Identification of contributors and advertisers

(1) All newspaper or magazine advertising, posters, circulars, billboards, handbills, sample ballots, and paid-for television or radio announcements which expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, slate of candidates, or group of candidates for nomination or election to any public office shall be identified by the words “paid for by” followed by the name and address of the individual or committee which paid for the communication; except that if paid for by a candidate, slate of candidates, or campaign committee, it shall be identified only by the words “paid for by” followed by the name of the candidate, slate of candidates, or campaign committee, whichever is applicable. For television and radio broadcasts, compliance with Federal Communications Commission regulations regarding sponsored programs and broadcasts by candidates for public office shall be considered compliance with this section.

(2) The management of newspapers and magazines shall keep a one (1) year record of all statements, articles, or advertisements referred to in subsection (1) of this section, that appear in their publications, however, nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall be construed to require editors or editorial writers of newspapers and magazines to identify themselves in the manner therein required with any article or editorial written by them as part of their duties as an employee or employer.

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