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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of April 22, 2014

Title 11: Federal Elections
PART 114—CORPORATE AND LABOR ORGANIZATION ACTIVITY


§114.15   Permissible use of corporate and labor organization funds for certain electioneering communications.

(a) Permissible electioneering communications. Corporations and labor organizations may make an electioneering communication, as defined in 11 CFR 100.29, to those outside the restricted class unless the communication is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified Federal candidate.

(b) Safe harbor. An electioneering communication is permissible under paragraph (a) of this section if it:

(1) Does not mention any election, candidacy, political party, opposing candidate, or voting by the general public;

(2) Does not take a position on any candidate's or officeholder's character, qualifications, or fitness for office; and

(3) Either:

(i) Focuses on a legislative, executive or judicial matter or issue; and

(A) Urges a candidate to take a particular position or action with respect to the matter or issue, or

(B) Urges the public to adopt a particular position and to contact the candidate with respect to the matter or issue; or

(ii) Proposes a commercial transaction, such as purchase of a book, video, or other product or service, or such as attendance (for a fee) at a film exhibition or other event.

(c) Rules of interpretation. If an electioneering communication does not qualify for the safe harbor in paragraph (b) of this section, the Commission will consider whether the communication includes any indicia of express advocacy and whether the communication has an interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified Federal candidate in order to determine whether, on balance, the communication is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified Federal candidate.

(1) A communication includes indicia of express advocacy if it:

(i) Mentions any election, candidacy, political party, opposing candidate, or voting by the general public; or

(ii) Takes a position on any candidate's or officeholder's character, qualifications, or fitness for office.

(2) Content that would support a determination that a communication has an interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified Federal candidate includes content that:

(i) Focuses on a public policy issue and either urges a candidate to take a position on the issue or urges the public to contact the candidate about the issue; or

(ii) Proposes a commercial transaction, such as purchase of a book, video or other product or service, or such as attendance (for a fee) at a film exhibition or other event; or

(iii) Includes a call to action or other appeal that interpreted in conjunction with the rest of the communication urges an action other than voting for or against or contributing to a clearly identified Federal candidate or political party.

(3) In interpreting a communication under paragraph (a) of this section, any doubt will be resolved in favor of permitting the communication.

(d) Information permissibly considered. In evaluating an electioneering communication under this section, the Commission may consider only the communication itself and basic background information that may be necessary to put the communication in context and which can be established with minimal, if any, discovery. Such information may include, for example, whether a named individual is a candidate for office or whether a communication describes a public policy issue.

(e) Examples of communications. A list of examples derived from prior Commission or judicial actions of communications that have been determined to be permissible and of communications that have been determined not to be permissible under paragraph (a) of this section is available on the Commission's Web site, http://www.fec.gov.

(f) Reporting requirement. Corporations and labor organizations that make electioneering communications under paragraph (a) of this section aggregating in excess of $10,000 in a calendar year shall file statements as required by 11 CFR 104.20.

[72 FR 72914, Dec. 26, 2007]



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