Electioneering Issue Advocacy
Genuine Issue Advocacy
Issue advocacy has historically been viewed as political advertising intended to influence a political issue, legislative proposal or public policy—not to advocate the election or defeat of candidates. Because of this, issues ads have fallen outside the definition of campaign advertisements and beyond the realm of most state and federal campaign regulations. In recent years, the nature of issue advocacy has come under increasing scrutiny, as empirical evidence of television advertising questions whether many such ads are in reality electioneering advertisements—"electioneering (sham) issue ads"—disguised as issue advocacy just to evade campaign finance and disclosure laws. To learn more, visit our primer located in "In the Spotlight."