seec: FAQ Ad Book Exception

 
 
{SEEC}  What is the ad purchase exception? (rev. 12/5/13)
 
Under the advertising space purchase exception, a business entity may purchase advertising space in a program for or on signs at a fundraising affair held by a municipal candidate committee, party committee, or political committee (other than an exploratory committee) if the aggregate purchase price does not exceed $250 per calendar year (or per election cycle in the case of a municipal candidate committee).  Other “persons,” including individuals, other committees, and organizations, may purchase space as well, though they are limited to $50 per calendar year (or per election cycle in the case of an ad book by a municipal candidate committee).
 

Note that prior to the passage of Public Act 13-180, only municipal candidate committees and town committees were eligible for the exception.

The advertising space purchase exception applies cumulatively to all purchases by the same business entity or person.  Moreover, in order to utilize this exception, the event must be a bona fide fundraising event for the committee, intended to make a profit exclusive of any receipts from the sale of ads, and there must be an actual program (i.e., an “ad book”) and/or a sign at the fundraising event.

 
{SEEC}  What if a business entity purchases an ad for over $250 or a person purchases an ad for over $50? (rev. 12/5/13)
 
The entire amount is considered a contribution which may be permissible if the purchaser is permitted to make a contribution to your committee and the cost of it, when aggregated with their other contributions, is within the permissible limits.  For example, a business entity’s purchase of a $300 ad would be deemed a prohibited business contribution in the amount of $300 while an individual’s $100 ad purchase could be deemed a $100 permissible contribution assuming it does not put him over his applicable contribution limit.
 
 
Communicator lobbyists, members of their immediate family, state contractors, prospective state contractors, and principals of state contractors or prospective state contractors may not purchase ad space under the exception from party committees or political committees.  They may purchase them in municipal candidate committee ad books.   Client lobbyists are permitted to make ad book purchases from party committees, political committees, and municipal candidate committees.
 
 
No, the ad book exception prohibits ad purchases from these individuals regardless of whether your political committee may accept contributions from them.  If they give your committee money and you give them space in the ad book, the money should be treated as a contribution from them.
 
{SEEC}  A communicator lobbyist is not permitted to purchase an ad under the ad book exception from my committee but he is permitted to contribute up to $100 per year to my committee.  Could he purchase an ad in our ad book for $100 and have it counted as a contribution? (rev. 12/5/13)
 
Yes, while the ad book exception will not allow you to count this as an exception to the definition of contribution, you are still permitted to count it as a contribution and accept it as long as it is within the permissible contribution limits (i.e., so long as the cost of the ad plus any other contributions made by the communicator lobbyist to your committee does not exceed $100 per calendar year).
 
{SEEC}  May we accept an ad purchase from a lobbying firm?  (rev. 12/5/13)
 

You are only prohibited from accepting ad book purchases from communicator lobbyists.  A “communicator lobbyist” is defined as “a lobbyist who communicates directly or solicits others to communicate with an official or his staff in the legislative or executive branch of government or in a quasi-public agency for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action,” while a “lobbyist” is generally defined as a “a person who in lobbying and in furtherance of lobbying makes or agrees to make expenditures, or receives or agrees to receive compensation, reimbursement, or both, and such compensation, reimbursement or expenditures are two thousand dollars or more in any calendar year or the combined amount thereof is two thousand dollars or more in any such calendar year.”  See General Statutes §§ 1-91 (l) & (v), 9-601 (16).

With respect to whether a lobbying firm meets the definition of “communicator lobbyist,” please contact the Office of State Ethics at 860-263-2400 or visit their website.

 
{SEEC}  I am a registered communicator lobbyist and one of the business entities I lobby for would like to purchase an ad in a town committee ad program.  Is this allowed? (rev. 12/5/13)
 

A client lobbyist is a lobbyist on behalf of whom lobbying takes place and who makes expenditures for lobbying and in furtherance of lobbyingSee General Statutes §§ 1-91 (l) & (v), 9-601 (16).  The prohibition on ad book purchases extends only to communicator lobbyists, not client lobbyists.  If this business entity is a client lobbyist, it may purchase an ad up to $250 per calendar year from the town committee.  For more information on who is a client lobbyist or a communicator lobbyist, please contact the Office of State Ethics at 860-263-2400 or visit their website.

 
{SEEC}  I am a registered communicator lobbyist.  May I solicit ad book purchases from my clients for a party committee or political committee ad book? (rev. 12/5/13)
 

You may not solicit ad book purchases in a town committee ad book from any individual who is a member of the board of directors of, an employee of or partner in, or who has an ownership interest of five percent or more in any client lobbyist you lobby on behalf of, but the law does not restrict you from soliciting ad book purchases from such individuals for a state central committee or political committee ad book.  While Public Act 13-180 expanded the ad book exception to state central and political committees, it did not expand the lobbyist solicitation restriction for ad book purchases outlined in General Statutes § 9-610 (h) to such committees.

 
{SEEC}  Our committee is having a golf tournament to raise funds.  May we give ad purchasers signs in exchange for their purchase and not have an ad book or are we required to have an actual ad book? (rev. 12/5/13)
 

You must give them either an advertisement in a program distributed at the event or a sign at the event.  If you would like to give all of the purchasers signs at the event rather than ads in a program, that would be permissible.  Keep in mind that it must be a bona fide fundraising event intended to make a profit exclusive of any receipts from the sale of the signs.

 
{SEEC}  What is the maximum amount of ad space a trade or professional association may purchase in our ad book? (rev. 12/5/13)
 

It depends how the trade or professional association is funded.  If it receives its funds exclusively from membership dues, it is considered an organization under the law and therefore may only purchase advertising up to $50 per calendar year from your committee (or per election cycle in the case of a municipal candidate committee).  If the association receives funds from both membership dues and other sources, it is considered a business entity under the law and may purchase advertising up to $250 per year (or per election cycle in the case of a municipal candidate committee).

 
{SEEC}  What is the maximum amount of ad space a nonprofit may purchase in our ad book? (rev. 12/5/13)
 

Since a nonprofit does not fall within the definition of “business entity,” it may purchase advertising up to $50 per calendar year (or per election cycle in the case of a municipal candidate committee).

 




Content Last Modified on 9/19/2017 10:30:45 AM