All US jurisdictions have laws covering the use of disclosure statements on political advertising. Specific items that both require a disclosure statement generally include billboards, bumper stickers, sample ballots, newspaper ads, TV and radio ads, magazines, mass mailings, pamphlets, fliers, palm cards, and even email.
For campaign websites, there are three standard disclaimers. Not only do they help you comply with the law, but they also help protect you legally.
Authorization Disclosure: The specific wording required varies but it is usually some variant of “Paid for and Authorized by” the candidate or political group. Adding that disclaimer to a campaign website is pretty simple, and most campaigns place this information in footer of each page.
Besides the “Paid for” disclaimer, consider adding the following disclaimers as well:
- Disclaimers: That the site materials are provided ‘as-is’.
- Limitations: Limiting liability for any user damages.
- Revisions: That the material on the site may not be accurate.
- Links: That you are not liable for any content on outside websites, and that there is no endorsement implied.
- Governing law: Of the appropriate state.
If you are unsure of what to add for your policies, you can use another site’s policy as a template, but be sure to modify it fully for your needs. In other words, don’t copy a policy from an online retailer; it will look pretty silly if you political website disclaimers include information about product returns and call center hours.
A number of free policy generators can be found online. You may also want to get legal help from an attorney in setting up you policies.Political Campaign Strategies That Stink
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