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Communication Expenditures

Communications Expenditure Form

Federal Political Action Committees and Federal Candidate Committees do not have to file a Communication Expenditure with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office. There is nothing in South Dakota codified law that requires that filing.  Those federal committees are required to file an Independent Expenditure with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).  Contact the FEC if you have additional questions.

12-27-16 states the Top 5 contributors must be listed on the disclaimer.  We do not give legal advice and will only offer to you what the statute says.  What we say isn’t the final say as the penalty for non-compliance is criminal which would fall to a State’s Attorney or the Attorney General to enforce.

SDCL 12-27-16 and 12-27-16.1 apply to both types of communications: independent or upon consultation with.  

  • The red language below pertains to an independent communication expenditure from statute.

SDCL 12-27-16.1- Any political committee, entity, or person that makes a communication clearly identifying a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political committee, other than an independent communication expenditure that is not controlled by, coordinated with, requested by, or made upon consultation with that candidate, political committee, or agent of a candidate or political committee, shall append to or include in each communication a disclaimer that:
             (1)      Identifies the political committee, entity, or person making the communication; and
             (2)      States the address or website address, if applicable, of the political committee, entity, or person.

               If the communication is an independent expenditure made by a person or entity, then the disclaimer shall include the following: "This communication is independently funded and not made in consultation with any candidate, political party, or political committee." If the independent expenditure is undertaken by an entity not including a candidate, public office holder, political party, or political committee, then the following notation must also be included: "Top Five Contributors," including a listing of the names of the five persons making the largest contributions to an entity during the twelve months preceding that communication. Any person or entity making a communication under this section has the same reporting requirements as 12-27-16. Any political committee making a communication under this section shall include each communication as an expenditure on the campaign finance disclosure report.   
A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Any subsequent offense within a calendar year is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

  • Removing the red portion of SDCL 12-27-16.1 leaves the following which applies to communications “made upon consultation with” and describes the reporting requirements:

“Any political committee, entity, or person that makes a communication clearly identifying a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political committee, made upon consultation with that candidate, political committee, or agent of a candidate or political committee, shall append to or include in each communication a disclaimer that:
              (1)      Identifies the political committee, entity, or person making the communication; and
             (2)      States the address or website address, if applicable, of the political committee, entity, or person.

             Any person or entity making a communication under this section has the same reporting requirements as 12-27-16. Any political committee making a communication under this section shall include each communication as an expenditure on the campaign finance disclosure report.”