“Independent expenditure” means any expenditure by a person for a communication expressly advocating the election, passage or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or measure that is not made with the cooperation or with the prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request of a suggestion of, a candidate or any agent or authorized committee of the candidate or political committee supporting or opposing a measure. As used in this subsection, “expressly advocating” means any communication containing a message advocating election, passage or defeat including, but not limited to, the name of the candidate or measure, or expression such as “vote for,” “elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for,” “vote against,” “defeat” or “reject.”
Express advocacy (candidate advocacy) means that the communication includes a message that unmistakably urges election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidates(s).
Section 67-6602(g), Idaho Code, defines “express advocacy” by the use of certain magic words.
When an expenditure for a communication expressly advocating a candidate's election or defeat is made under the circumstances described below, it results in an in-kind contribution rather than an independent expenditure and therefore counts against the spender's contribution limit for the candidate's election.
A person making an independent expenditure should be aware that making certain types of in-kind contributions to a particular candidate may jeopardize that person's ability, in the future, to make independent expenditures on behalf of that same candidate. For example, if a committee provided paid staff or services to a candidate's primary campaign, then the committee would have direct knowledge of the candidate's campaign strategy, plans or needs. Therefore, expenditures by that committee during the election could not be considered independent.
An individual, not previously involved in Candidate Smith's campaign and without ever contacting any of his campaign staff, purchases a newspaper advertisement supporting Smith. The payment for the ad is an independent expenditure. If, however, before purchasing the ad, the person consults with Candidate Smith or his campaign staff as to how he or she can help the campaign or when Smith wants the newspaper ad to appear, the person makes an in-kind contribution. Or, if the person pays for a campaign ad that uses text actually prepared by Smith's campaign, the person makes an in-kind contribution to the candidate (An in-kind contribution, when combined with all other contributions from the same person, is limited to $1,000 per legislative and district judge candidates and $5,000 per statewide candidates, per election.