An Overview of Political Advertising Rules: Candidate Ads vs. Independent Expenditures vs. Electioneering Communications vs. Issue Ads


The airwaves across the country are flooded with political advertisements and it’s only going to increase as Election Day approaches.  Candidate ads, independent expenditure ads, electioneering communications and issue ads are everywhere.  What are they? Who can fund them?  What are they required to disclose about their funding to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)? A new easy-to-read chart from the Campaign Legal Center has the answers all in one place.

The chart breaks down the types of ads, their permitted funding sources, FEC and FCC disclosure requirements and other rules that apply to each type of broadcast advertisement.  

To view the “Federal Rules for Political Advertising on Television and Radio” chart, click here.

To view a related chart defining the types of outside groups (527s and the various 501(c) organizations) and outlining their tax status, permitted activities, and disclosure requirements under federal tax and election laws, click here.