Political Advertising Requirements
For comprehensive review of political advertising requirements, please refer to the Political Advertising Guide, available on our website. For answers to frequently asked questions, see below.
What is “Political Advertising”?
“Political advertising” means a communication supporting or opposing a candidate for nomination or election to a public office or office of a political party, a political party, a public officer, or a measure that:
(A) in return for consideration, is published in a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical or is broadcast by radio or television; or
(i) in a pamphlet, circular, flier, billboard or other sign, bumper sticker, or similar form of written communication; or
(ii) on an Internet website (including a communication appearing on a social media website).
When can I begin advertising?
Candidates may begin advertising once they have a campaign treasurer appointment on file. The laws under the Commission’s jurisdiction do not address when and where candidates may place signs. Questions about the 90-day timeline for placing signs must be directed to the Texas Department of Transportation.
What are the requirements of a disclosure statement?
A political advertising disclosure statement must contain the words “political advertising” or any recognizable abbreviation, and must:
(1) appear on one line of text or on successive lines of text on the face of the political advertising; or
(2) be clearly spoken in the political advertising if the political advertising does not include written text.
The disclosure statement must contain the full name of:
(1) the person who paid for the political advertising;
(2) the political committee authorizing the political advertising; or
(3) the candidate or specific-purpose committee supporting the candidate, if the political advertising is authorized by the candidate.
A disclosure statement is not required on:
(1) tickets or invitations to political fund-raising events;
(2) campaign buttons, pins, or hats, or on objects whose size makes printing the disclosure impractical, such as t-shirts, balloons, buttons, emery boards, hats, lapel stickers, small magnets, pencils, pens, pins, wooden nickels, and candy wrappers;
(3) circulars or flyers that cost in the aggregate less than $500 to publish and distribute.
(4) an envelope that is used to transmit political advertising, provided that the political advertising in the envelope includes the disclosure statement; or
(5) letterhead stationery if the letterhead contains the full name of one of the following:
(a) the person who paid for the political advertising;
(b) the political committee authorizing the political advertising; or
(c) the candidate authorizing the political advertising.
(6) postings or re-postings on an Internet website if the person posting or re-posting is not an officeholder, candidate, or political committee and did not make an expenditure exceeding $100 in a reporting period for political advertising beyond the basic cost of hardware messaging software and bandwidth;
(7) an Internet social media profile webpage of a candidate or officeholder, if the webpage clearly and conspicuously displays the full name of the candidate or officeholder; and
(8) postings or re-postings on an Internet website if the advertising is posted with a link to a publicly viewable Internet webpage that either contains the disclosure statement or is an Internet social media profile webpage of a candidate or officeholder that clearly and conspicuously displays the candidate’s or officeholder&srquo;s full name.
What are the requirements of a “Highway Right-of-Way Notice”?
Political advertising signs must contain the following statement, in verbatim:
“NOTICE: IT IS A VIOLATION OF STATE LAW (CHAPTERS 392 AND 393, TRANSPORTATION CODE), TO PLACE THIS SIGN IN THE RIGHT-OF-WAY OF A HIGHWAY.”
The highway right-of-way notice may appear on the reverse-side of a sign.