What is an Independent Expenditure?#
An independent expenditure is:
- the payment of money by any person for the purpose of advocating the election, defeat, or recall of a candidate, which expenditure is not controlled by, or coordinated with, any candidate or any agent of a candidate,
- expenditures for political messages which unambiguously refer to any specific public office or candidate for such office,
- the payment of money by any person for supporting or opposing a ballot issue or ballot question that is not controlled by, or coordinated with, an issue committee or small-scale issue committee.
An independent expenditure includes, but is not limited to, advertisements placed for a fee on another person's website or advertisement space provided for no fee or a reduced fee where a fee ordinarily would have been charged.
Independent expenditure does not include:
- Expenditures made by persons in the regular course and scope of their business and political messages sent solely to their members; or
- Expenditures made by small-scale issue committees; or
- Any news articles, editorial endorsements, opinion or commentary writings, or letters to the editor printed in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical not owned or controlled by the candidate, or communications other than advertisements posted or published on the internet for no fee.
Any person, excluding a committee required to register pursuant to Chapter 7, Article V, of the City Code, who makes an independent expenditures in connection with any particular ballot totaling in the aggregate more than $250.00, must report any such independent expenditures made after that threshold is met no later than three (3) business days after the day that funds are obligated to pay for said independent expenditure.
Funds are considered to be obligated as soon as an agreement is reached for the provision of the property, materials or services in question, regardless of when payment is to be made for such property or services.
All independent expenditures must be documented and all records pertaining to independent expenditures, including but not limited to invoices, receipts, instruments of payment, and copies of any public communications produced as a result of the expenditure, must be maintained for one (1) year following any election in which the funds were expended unless a complaint has been filed under Subsection 7-145(a) of the City Code alleging a violation of the provisions of Chapter 7, Article V of the Code, or the person has received notice of an investigation or prosecution of a violation of said Article by the City or other law enforcement authority, in which case they must be maintained until final disposition of the complaint and any consequent court proceedings. Such records must be made available within three (3) business days upon request of the City and subject to inspection in connection with any hearing held pursuant to this Chapter 7, Article V of the City Code.
Any person or persons, excluding a committee otherwise required to register under Chapter 7, Article V of the City Code, who makes or make independent expenditures in connection with any particular City election totaling in the aggregate $2,500 or more, must register as an issue committee within 3 business days of having made expenditures in excess of such threshold. The initial report of an issue committee registered pursuant to this provision must include the dates of any independent expenditures previously made and the source of funds for those expenditures.