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Issue ads are television or radio advertisements that discuss matters of public policy and encourage voters to act on this information by, for example, contacting their congressman, requesting more information, or merely considering their own position on the matter. The U.S. Supreme Court has always deemed the expenditure of money on issue advertisements an exercise of free speech. As such, the amount of money spent on issue ads and the sources of the money spent have never been restricted by federal law, although federal laws have increasingly required public disclosure of such expenditures. The difference between “pure” issue ads, which are legitimately aimed only at influencing legislation and are often aired far from the date of any election, and “electioneering” ads, which connect individual politicians ...

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