PROPOSED RULES

At its June 11, 2015, meeting, the Texas Ethics Commission voted to propose an amendment to the following rule. The Ethics Commission invites public comment on the proposals. A written statement should be mailed or delivered to Natalia Luna Ashley, Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070, or by facsimile (FAX) to (512) 463-5777. A person who wants to offer spoken comments to the commission concerning the proposed rule may do so during the public comment period at any commission meeting when the commission considers the proposed rule. Information concerning the time and location of commission meetings is available at http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tec/meetings.htm or by telephoning (512) 463-5800.

§ 20.1. Meaning of “In Connection with a Campaign”
Text of Proposed Rule


§ 20.1. Meaning of “In Connection with a Campaign”
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 20. REPORTING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Subchapter A. GENERAL RULES

20.1. Definitions

(21) In connection with a campaign:

(A) An expenditure is made in connection with a campaign for an elective office if it is:

(i) made for a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate by:

(I) using such words as “vote for,” “elect,” “support,” “vote against,” “defeat,” “reject,” “cast your ballot for,” or “Smith for city council;” or

(II) using such phrases as “elect the incumbent” or “reject the challenger,” or such phrases as “vote pro-life” or “vote pro-choice” accompanied by a listing of candidates described as “pro-life” or “pro-choice;”

(ii) made for a communication broadcast by radio, television, cable, or satellite or distributed by print or electronic media, including any print publication, mailing, Internet website, electronic mail, or automated phone bank, that:

(I) refers to a clearly identified candidate;

(II) is distributed within 30 days before a contested election for the office sought by the candidate;

(III) targets a mass audience or group in the geographical area the candidate seeks to represent; and

(IV) includes images, sounds, or words that, without consideration of the intent of the person making the communication, are susceptible of no other reasonable interpretation than to urge the election or defeat of the candidate;

(iii) made by a candidate or political committee to support or oppose a candidate; or

(iv) a campaign contribution to:

(I) a candidate; or

(II) a group that, at the time of the contribution, already qualifies as a political committee.

(B) An expenditure is made in connection with a campaign on a measure if it is:

(i) made for a communication that expressly advocates the passage or defeat of a clearly identified measure by using such words as “vote for,” “support,” “vote against,” “defeat,” “reject,” or “cast your ballot for;”

(ii) made for a communication broadcast by radio, television, cable, or satellite or distributed by print or electronic media, including any print publication, mailing, Internet website, electronic mail, or automated phone bank, that:

(I) refers to a clearly identified measure;

(II) is distributed within 30 days before the election in which the measure is to appear on the ballot;

(III) targets a mass audience or group in the geographical area in which the measure is to appear on the ballot; and

(IV) includes images, sounds, or words that, without consideration of the intent of the person making the communication, are susceptible of no other reasonable interpretation than to urge the passage or defeat of the measure;

(iii) made by a political committee to support or oppose a measure; or

(iv) a campaign contribution to a group that, at the time of the contribution, already qualifies as a political committee.

(C) Any cost incurred for covering or carrying a news story, commentary, or editorial by a broadcasting station or cable television operator, Internet website, or newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, including an Internet or other electronic publication, is not a campaign expenditure if the cost for the news story, commentary, or editorial is not paid for by, and the medium is not owned or controlled by, a candidate or political committee.

(D) For purposes of this section:

(i) a candidate is clearly identified by a communication that includes the candidate’s name, office sought, office held, likeness, photograph, or other apparent and unambiguous reference; and

(ii) a measure is clearly identified by a communication that includes the measure’s name or ballot designation (such as “Proposition 1”), purposes, election date, or other apparent and unambiguous reference.