United States: New York Enhances Disclosure Of Online Political Ads And Requires Online Platforms To Create Archives

On April 18, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Democracy Protection Act—which expands the disclosure obligations for online political advertising in the State of New York and requires television, satellite, cable, radio stations, and providers, as well as online platforms—to verify advertiser registration with the New York State Board of Elections and, in the case of online platforms, to create an online archive of political advertisements. The legislation became effective immediately upon signing, and is modeled on similar federal legislation, the Honest Ads Act, pending before Congress. Noncompliance could trigger penalties for those affected. In key part, the Act:

1. Expands the definition of political advertising to include paid online and digital ads targeted to as few as 50 persons.

  • The Act amends the definition of “political communication” to cover “paid internet or digital” advertisements, and amends the definition of “independent expenditure” (a term referring to political ads run independently of candidates and political parties) to include “any paid internet or digital advertisement targeted to fifty or more members of a general public audience.” Other forms of communication (television, radio, print) must target 500 or more members of the general public to be deemed an independent expenditure, so in this way the Act singles out online advertisements for stricter regulation.

2. Requires more individuals and entities to register before engaging in political advertising.

  • New York law already required individuals and entities to register as independent expenditure committees with the State Board of Elections prior to purchasing paid Internet advertisements targeted to 500 or more members of the general public. The Act clarifies that this requirement now applies to any form of “paid internet or digital” advertisements, and reduces the targeting threshold from 500 to 50. Importantly, under existing New York law, to be deemed an “independent expenditure,” a communication must (i) contain express advocacy (words such as “vote,” “elect,” “support, “defeat,” etc.) and be distributed during any period of time; (ii) refer to and advocate for or against a clearly identified candidate or ballot proposal in the year of the election; or (iii) simply refer to a candidate or ballot proposal during the 60 days before a general or special election or within 30 days before a primary election. This means that under the Act, an online advertisement, such as a promoted social media post, that merely references a New York candidate or ballot proposal and is targeted to as few as 50 people could require the sponsor to register and comply with complex disclosure requirements.

3. Requires television and radio broadcast stations, cable and satellite television providers, and online platforms to verify advertiser registration and create an archive of political ads.

  • The Act requires stations, providers, and online platforms to require independent expenditure committees to provide them with a copy of their Board of Elections registration “upon the purchase of an independent expenditure.” Online platforms are further required to maintain and make available to the public a detailed record of independent expenditure purchases going back at least five years. This record must be made available online and include a copy of each advertisement as well as information regarding the targeted audience, costs, views, referenced candidates and ballot proposals, run dates, and the name, address, and phone number of the purchaser. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation.

4. Effectively bars foreign nationals, governments, instrumentalities, and agents from engaging in political advertising.

  • Foreign entities (any “foreign national, government, instrumentality, or agent”) may not form an independent expenditure committee for the purpose of making independent expenditures in any New York state or local election. As noted above, such registration is required before making independent expenditures, so this provision seeks to effectively prohibit foreign entities from engaging in political advertising. The Act is silent on what type of activity could cause an individual or organization to be deemed a foreign instrumentality or agent.

5. Requires “paid for by” disclaimers on most online political advertisements.

  • Internet and digital ads must now contain a “paid for by” disclaimer printed in “an appropriate legible form” that states “Paid for by:” followed by the name of the political committee or independent expenditure committee making the expenditure.

  • An internet or digital advertisement that advertises for or against a particular candidate, election, or ballot measure and which limits “the content of such communication to the name, office, and brief message” is not required contain a “paid for by” disclaimer if the advertisement is “unable” to contain the disclaimer “due to its small size” and it instead links to a webpage that prominently displays a “paid for by” disclaimer.

  • Independent political ads must also include a statement that the ad was not authorized by any candidate.

This article is designed to give general information on the developments covered, not to serve as legal advice related to specific situations or as a legal opinion. Counsel should be consulted for legal advice.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions