This page is a part of NCSL’s comprehensive campaign finance portfolio. For related resources, visit the Campaign Finance Overview page. This webpage is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or in legal proceedings. If you have questions about your state's law, please contact an attorney in your state.
Expenditures are required to be reported by campaigns. However, not all expenditures in support of a campaign are conducted by the campaign itself, which is why many states define “independent expenditure” in the context of campaign finance regulation. In general, an independent expenditure is made for political communications, such as television, radio advertisements, direct mail or digital ads, that expressly advocate the election, passage or defeat of an identified candidate or ballot measure. Unlike contributions and campaign-related expenditures, independent expenditures are not coordinated with the candidate’s (or ballot measure’s) campaign. These expenditures are not determined with the cooperation, consultation or prior consent of the campaigns.
Some states require political committees, individuals and other entities that are required to register with the state to file disclosure reports for independent expenditures; other states only require disclosure reports after funding for or against ballot measures meet a specific threshold; some states don’t regulate independent expenditures at all.
This webpage provides independent expenditure definitions and disclosure requirements for all states and territories. For information on other disclosure requirements such as those relating to x, y and z, please visit our Disclosure Requirements page.
If you don't find the information you need, please contact our elections team at 303-364-7700 or email@example.com. NCSL staff can do specialized research for legislators and legislative staff.