44.11.605 ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATION
(1) An electioneering communication is a paid communication that:
(a) is publicly distributed by one or more of the modes of communication listed in the statute;
(b) is made within 60 days of the initiation of voting in an election;
(c) does not support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue, as "support or oppose" is defined in 13-1-101, MCA;
(d) can be received by more than 100 recipients in the district voting on the candidate or ballot issue;
(e) meets one or more of the following criteria:
(i) refers to one or more clearly identified candidates in the election;
(ii) depicts the name, image, likeness, or voice of one or more clearly identified candidates in the election; or
(iii) refers to a political party, ballot issue, or other question submitted to the voters in the election.
(2) In (1)(b) the phrase "made within 60 days of the initiation of voting in an election" shall mean the following:
(a) in the case of mail ballot elections, the initiation of voting occurs when official ballot packets are mailed to qualified electors pursuant to 13-19-206, MCA;
(b) in other elections the initiation of voting occurs when absentee ballot packets are mailed to or otherwise delivered to qualified electors pursuant to 13-13-214, MCA.
(3) An electioneering communication does not mean any communication that is excluded from the definition of the term in 13-1-101, MCA. In addition, an electioneering communication does not mean:
(a) a communication that refers to or depicts the name, image, likeness, or voice of one or more clearly identified candidates, but that is susceptible to no reasonable interpretation other than as unrelated to the candidacy or the election;
(b) a communication that refers to a political party, ballot issue, or other question submitted to the voters at an election, but that is susceptible to no reasonable interpretation other than as unrelated to the issue or the election;
(c) the voter information pamphlet prepared and distributed by the Secretary of State; or
(d) any other regular or normal communication by a local government or a state agency that includes information about a candidate, ballot issue, or election including sample ballots and the time, place, or manner of an upcoming election. Any other communication may be subject to reporting and disclosure as an electioneering communication. For purposes of this rule the terms local government and state agency shall have the same meaning as the definitions of the terms in 2-2-102, MCA.
(4) An electioneering communication may also be an independent expenditure.
(5) The determination whether a particular communication is an electioneering communication or is excluded from the definition of the term will be based on the purpose, timing, and distribution of the communication.
(6) Upon request, the commissioner may issue a letter to a group or person reporting the cost of electioneering communications under these rules. The letter may state that the reporting and disclosure required for an electioneering communication does not mean or imply that an express advocacy determination was made as to the communication that is covered by the cost reported.
(7) A person who makes an electioneering communication is subject to the reporting and disclosure requirements of Title 13, chapters 35 and 37, MCA, and these rules.
(8) The COPP shall maintain a form which will allow a political committee to report an electioneering communication without designating the expenditure as in support of or in opposition to candidate(s) or issue(s).
History: 13-37-114, MCA; IMP, 13-1-101, 13-37-225, 13-37-226, 13-37-229, 13-37-232, MCA; NEW, 2016 MAR p. 28, Eff. 1/9/16; AMD, 2017 MAR p. 2342, Eff. 12/9/17.