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Pending Rulings/Statements

Date of Request:  8/5/2022
Requestor:  Robert LaBrant
Questions Presented:  

  • If a Super PAC pays for the placement of an internet advertisement on a third party’s site which expressly advocates to the general public the election or defeat of a candidate, is that advertisement required to have the identification or disclaimer required of a print or broadcast advertisement under Section 47 of the MCFA?
  • Is a Super PAC internet paid advertisement on a third party’s site that expressly advocates the election of a candidate permitted to include a “hyperlink,“ which when clicked takes the ad’s viewer directly to a candidate’s own website?

On the candidate’s website, the internet user may learn more information about the candidate, such as the candidate’s biography, and position on issues. The viewer may also be asked to donate to the candidate’s committee, volunteer as a campaign worker, or request a yard sign, etc.

  • Boyle held a hyperlink has ascertainable monetary value. Does a hyperlink’s inclusion on a Super PAC internet paid advertisement become a prohibited in-kind contribution by a Super PAC to a candidate committee?
  • If the “ independence” between a candidate and Super PAC is defeated, does the expenditure revert from independent expenditure status to an expenditure prohibited under Section 54 of the MCFA?
  • Boyle was issued before Super PACs were recognized in the MCFA. Back in 2001, Boyle said a labor organization, like the MEA, could provide a hyperlink on its website to a candidate’s website if the MEA were reimbursed in advance by the MEA-PAC, at the actual or fair market value of creating and placing the hyperlink.

Confirm whether or not this interpretation is valid today.

Does the MCFA permit a candidate committee to reimburse a Super PAC in advance to place a hyperlink on a Super PAC internet paid advertisement to the general public to the candidate’s website?

Would reimbursement itself defeat the independent nature of an independent expenditure under Section 24c by meeting the very definition of coordination: cooperation, consultation, or in concert between a Super PAC and a candidate, or a candidate committee? 

Public comments on request due to the Bureau of Elections by 5:00 pm on August 22nd