One common mistake made by new candidates in local elections is not including their political campaign committee disclaimer on materials that are paid for from their campaign fund. Let’s take a quick look at political campaign disclaimer requirements to make sure that you don’t run afoul of election ethics laws in your state.
A printed political campaign disclaimer is simply a sentence included on campaign materials that states what campaign committee paid for its creation, the name of a representative from the campaign, and the address where they can be reached. While it may seem silly to some first-time local political candidates that they have to include their campaign disclaimer on even the smallest materials, the law is in place to ensure a couple of important things.
The first reason that political campaign disclaimers are important is because they help keep track of all materials that are paid for by a specific campaign committee, and help identify mistakes or violations in campaign finance reports. Secondly, political campaign disclaimers help identify exactly who funds election materials that might present false, slanderous or inaccurate information about political candidates.
Making sure that your election materials follow the rules when it comes to political campaign disclaimer requirements is pretty easy to do (keep in mind that the election laws may be different in your state, and make sure that you do research to find out the specific campaign disclaimer rules that apply to your race).
On printed materials like yard signs, flyers, brochures, literature, mailers, door cards, post cards, hand cards, newspaper and website ads, and any other political campaign trinkets, you must make sure that your disclaimer is printed clearly. It doesn’t have to be huge, and in fact it’s often better to make sure that your campaign disclaimers is small and doesn’t take away from your material message.
In my case, I simply have to include “Paid for by Vote Van Treuren, Phil Van Treuren, Candidate, 171 Harris Street, Amherst, OH, 44001″ somewhere on my campaign materials. This political disclaimer includes the name of my campaign committee, the name of a representative of my campaign (in this case, the candidate himself), and the address of record for the campaign committee.
As I mentioned before, the election ethics laws might be different in your state regarding disclaimers, so please check them out before following my specific advice.
Another option would be to include the name of my campaign treasurer or chairman instead of the candidate’s name on my disclaimer. In fact, many political candidates make an effort to get a well-known incumbent politician or trusted local figure to sign on as their campaign treasurer, since it will ensure that their name will be included on their disclaimer.
Always ere on the side of caution when it comes to your political disclaimer, and try to include it on any materials that are produced by your campaign if at all possible. While many local political opponents might not notice or care if you don’t include your disclaimer on one small flier or sign, there are always adversaries out there who will gladly file a campaign ethics violation report against you for the smallest infraction.