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Attribution Information

Attribution Information 

(See Mont. Code Ann. § 13-35-225 and 44.11.601(2), ARM for legal details)

All election and electioneering communications are legally required to include attribution that identifies the entity that paid for the communication. 

Who must comply with attribution requirements? 

  1. 1. Candidates,
  2. 2. Committees,
  3. 3. Individuals who are not a candidate, and 
  4. 4. Individuals who are not required to register as a political committee.

To understand how to report paid communications in campaign finance reports, candidates and committees should reference the Expenditures: Paid Communications page. 

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Attribution Information 101: What is an election communication?

Attribution Information – (See Mont. Code Ann. § 13-35-225 and 44.11.601(2), ARM for legal details)

All election and electioneering communications are legally required to include attribution that identifies the entity that paid for the communication. Candidates, committees, and individuals who are not a candidate or individuals who are not required to register as a political committee must comply with attributions requirements. 

What is an election communication?  An "Election communication" means the following forms of communication to support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue:

  • -a paid advertisement broadcast over radio, television, cable, or satellite; 
    -a paid placement of content on the internet or other electronic communication network;
    -a paid advertisement published in a newspaper or periodical or on a billboard;
    -a mailing; or printed materials;
    -a paid texting campaign.

The term does not mean:

  • -an activity or communication for the purpose of encouraging individuals to register to vote or to vote, if that activity or communication does not mention or depict a clearly identified candidate or ballot issue;
    -a communication that does not support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue;
    -a bona fide news story, commentary, blog, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, internet website, or other periodical publication of general circulation;
    -a communication by any membership organization or corporation to its members, stockholders, or employees; or a communication that the commissioner determines by rule is not an election communication

What is an electioneering communication? 'Electioneering communication' means a paid communication that is publicly distributed by radio, television, cable, satellite, website, newspaper, periodical, billboard, mail, or any other distribution of materials, that is made within 60 days of an election, that does not support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue, that can be received by more than 100 recipients in the district voting on the candidate or ballot issue, and that:

  1. -Refers to one or more clearly-identified candidates in the election
  2. -Depicts the name, image, likeness, or voice of a candidate
  3. -Refers to a political party, ballot issue, or other question on the ballot.

What must an attribution say and where must it be placed?

What must the attribution say?

The attribution must clearly identify the name and mailing address of the entity that paid for the communication. Committee attribution must also include the name of the Treasurer.  All attributions must include the words "paid for by" followed by the appropriate identifying information. 

For election materials financed by a candidate or a candidate's campaign, the attribution must include: 

  1. 1. The name and address of the candidate or the name and address of the candidate's campaign;
  2. 2. In partisan elections, candidates must also state their party affiliation or include the party symbol.
  3. * An attribution using the name of the candidate's campaign must include the first and last name of the candidate if the name of the campaign does not include at least the candidate's last name. 
  4. * Additional information, such as the name of the campaign treasurer, may be included with the attribution language, but it is not required. 
  5. * Material that contains information about another candidate's voting record must include all the information specified in 13-35-225(3)(a), MCA
  6. Paid for by Williams for Senate
    P.O. Box 123 Tennis racket and ball(
    ßparty symbol)
    Helena, MT 59604

For election materials financed by a political committee, the attribution must include: 

  1. 1. The name of the committee;
  2. 2. The name of the committee treasurer; and
  3. 3. The address of either the committee or its treasurer. 
    * In partisan candidate elections, materials financed by a political committee organized on the candidate's behalf must state either the candidate's party affiliation or include the party's symbol. Acceptable party designation guidance is available at 4.11.601(4)(a), ARM.
  4. * Material that contains information about another candidate's voting record must include all the information specified in 13-35-225(3)(a), MCA
  5. * A political committee that is a corporation or a union must also include: 1) the name of the corporation or union, its chief executive officer or equivalent, and the physical address of the corporation or union's principal place of business. 
  6. Paid for by Montanans for Minnows
    Carol Caddis, Treasurer
    1000 Dry Fly Drive
    Helena, MT 59601

    Paid for by Montana Grocery Workers Union
    James Legume, President
    2000 Produce Way
    Helena, MT 59601

For election materials financed by an individual acting on their own behalf, the attribution must include:

  1. 1. The name of the individual who paid for the materials, 
  2. 2. The address of the individual who paid for the materials. 
  3. * Material that contains information about another candidate's voting record must include all the information specified in 13-35-225(3)(a), MCA

Attribution placement

All election materials are required by 13-35-225, MCA to clearly and conspicuously include the appropriate attribution language.  The attribution should be easy to find on the communication, and have a sufficient text size and contrast to be clearly readable.  Attributions on one-sided campaign signs should include the attribution on the printed “front” side of the sign. Read and familiarize yourself with the specific attribution requirements at 44.11.601, ARM

If your campaign material is too small to include an attribution, you must file a copy of the material or item with the Commissioner of Political Practices with attribution at the time the material is published. Reference 44.11.601(6), ARM and 13-35-225(4), MCA

If you fail to attribute an election communication, the person financing the communication must notify the Commissioner of Political Practices within two days of discovering the error and make every reasonable effort to bring the material into compliance. No materials should be disseminated that are not in compliance. Any communications must be pulled until they have been corrected.

Attribution FAQs: Texts and Unattributed Materials

Q: Are paid political texts legal?

A: Certain paid texts, mass texts, or robo-texts without attribution that relate to state or local candidates or issue violates Montana law. A separate federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC accepts complaints about robo-texts and enforces federal law.

On October 19, 2018, the Commissioner sent out this information in response to local concerns over political robotexts. The press release reiterated that Montana law requires that all election communications, electioneering communications, and independent expenditures include an attribution disclosing who the communication is funded by, and contact information for the source (Mont. Code Ann. § 13-35-225).  The Commissioner will enforce the requirements of the attribution laws on all political communications including text messages.

Robo-texts are regulated by the federal TCPA law. Under the TCPA, restrictions on political campaign-related robocalls or robotexts vary based on whether a call is delivered to a landline telephone, a cell phone, or certain protected telephone lines such as emergency or toll-free lines, or lines serving hospitals or similar facilities. Political campaign-related autodialed or prerecorded voice calls, including autodialed live calls, prerecorded voice messages, and text messages, are: 

-Not allowed to cell phones, pagers, or other mobile devices without the called party's prior express consent.
-Not allowed to protected phone lines such as emergency or toll-free lines, or lines serving hospitals or similar facilities, unless made with the called party's prior express consent.
-Allowed when made to landline telephones, even without prior express consent.

Robotexts - text messages generated through autodialing - are considered a type of call and fall under all robocall rules. As text messages generally go to mobile phones, they require the called party's prior express consent if they are generated using autodialing.

Q: Who do I contact if I receive an election communication without attribution?

A: If the materials come from a state or local candidate or ballot issue, contact the candidate, the committee, or the Commissioner of Political Practices at 406-444-2942 or email cpphelp@mt.gov. If the material is for a federal congressional candidate, contact the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Please note that FEC attribution requirements differ from Montana’s statute.

 

Attribution Information for Non-Attributed Materials

Attribution Information for Non-Attributed Materials 

According to 13-35-225(4), MCA, if a document or other article of advertising is too small for the requirements of subsections (1) through (3) to be conveniently included, the candidate responsible for the material or the person financing the communication shall file a copy of the article with the commissioner of political practices, together with the required information or statement, at the time of its public distribution. - or - Reported, self-reported, and non-compliant attribution corrections provided to the Commissioner, 13-35-225(7)  

2020 Attribution Information

Albert Olszewski; Circular card  and COPP response 

Jon Bennion; Lapel stickers and hand carved sign; Badge

I-187 2020; Button Sticker, image

2019 Attribution Information

Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee, 4/9/19 Lincoln Reagan dinner, keychain, shot and wine glass

2018 General Election  - October 2018 

YES for Responsible Mining Oct 13 SMS Communication

Montana Women Votes - I-185 SMS Communication

Montana Human Rights Network - I-185 SMS Communication 

Gallatin County Democrats - Sticky Notes 'Your Voice is Your Vote'

2018 General Election - November 2018

Chase Reynolds - Intro Mailer