Code Section
North Carolina > Elections And Election Laws > Regulation of Election Campaigns - Corrupt Practices and Other Offenses Against the Elective Franchise (§ § 163-259 through 163-278.329) In General (§ § 163-278.5 through 163-278.38y) Article 22A. Regulating Contributions and Expenditures in Political Campaigns (§ § 163-1 through 163-7)

§ 163-278.13B. Limitation on fund-raising during legislative session.

Overview of Statute

Section prohibits the subsequent contributions when the General Assembly is in session, unless such contribution was made to a limited contributee within three weeks prior to the day of second primary.

Statute

(a) Definitions.–For purposes of this section:

(1) “Limited contributor” means a lobbyist registered under Chapter 120C of the General Statutes, that lobbyist’s agent, that lobbyist’s principal as defined in G.S. 120C-100(21) or a political committee that employs or contracts with or whose parent entity employs or contracts with a lobbyist registered under Chapter 120C of the General Statutes.

(2) “Limited contributee” means a member of or candidate for the Council of State, a member of or candidate for the General Assembly, an affiliated party committee, or a Council of State affiliated party committee.

(3) The General Assembly is in “regular session” from the date set by law or resolution that the General Assembly convenes until the General Assembly either adjourns sine die or recesses or adjourns for more than 10 days.

(4) A contribution is “made” during regular session if the check or other instrument is dated during the session, or if the check or other instrument is delivered to the limited contributee during session, or if the limited contributor pledges during the session to deliver the check or other instrument at a later time.

(5) A contribution is “accepted” during regular session if the check or other instrument is dated during the session, or if the limited contributee receives the check or other instrument during session and does not return it within 10 days, or agrees during session to receive the check or other instrument at a later time.

(b) Prohibited Solicitations.–While the General Assembly is in regular session, no limited contributee or the real or purported agent of a limited contributee shall:

(1) Solicit a contribution from a limited contributor to be made to that limited contributee or to be made to any other candidate, officeholder, or political committee; or

(2) Solicit a third party, requesting or directing that the third party directly or indirectly solicit a contribution from a limited contributor or relay to the limited contributor the limited contributee’s solicitation of a contribution.

It shall not be deemed a violation of this section for a limited contributee to serve on a board or committee of an organization that makes a solicitation of a limited contributor as long as that limited contributee does not directly participate in the solicitation and that limited contributee does not directly benefit from the solicitation.

(c) Prohibited Contributions.–While the General Assembly is in regular session:

(1) No limited contributor shall make or offer to make a contribution to a limited contributee.

(2) No limited contributor shall make a contribution to any candidate, officeholder, or political committee, directing or requesting that the contribution be made in turn to a limited contributee.

(3) No limited contributor shall transfer any amount of money or anything of value to any entity, directing or requesting that the entity use what was transferred to contribute to a limited contributee.

(4) No limited contributee or the real or purported agent of a limited contributee prohibited from solicitation by subsection (b) of this section shall accept a contribution from a limited contributor.

(5) No limited contributor shall solicit a contribution from any individual or political committee on behalf of a limited contributee. This subdivision does not apply to a limited contributor soliciting a contribution on behalf of a political party executive committee or an affiliated party committee if the solicitation is solely for a separate segregated fund kept by the political party or affiliated party committee limited to use for activities that are not candidate-specific, including generic voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts, pollings, mailings, and other general activities and advertising that do not refer to a specific individual candidate.

(d) Exception.–The provisions of this section do not apply with regard to a limited contributee during the three weeks prior to the day of a second primary if that limited contributee is a candidate who will be on the ballot in that second primary.

(e) Prosecution.–A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

(1997-515, s. 9(b); 1999-31, s. 5(d); 1999-453, s. 6(a); 2000-136, s. 1; 2006-201, s. 21; 2015-258, ss. 3(i), (s); 2015-264, s. 81(e); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)

Definition [contribute]

The terms “contribute” or “contribution” mean any advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, payment, gift, pledge or subscription of money or anything of value whatsoever, made to, or in coordination with, a candidate to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates, to a political committee, to a political party, to an affiliated party committee, or to a referendum committee, whether or not made in an election year, and any contract, agreement, or other obligation to make a contribution. An expenditure forgiven by a person or entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a contribution from that person or entity. These terms include, without limitation, such contributions as labor or personal services, postage, publication of campaign literature or materials, in-kind transfers, loans or use of any supplies, office machinery, vehicles, aircraft, office space, or similar or related services, goods, or personal or real property. These terms also include, without limitation, the proceeds of sale of services, campaign literature and materials, wearing apparel, tickets or admission prices to campaign events such as rallies or dinners, and the proceeds of sale of any campaign-related services or goods. Notwithstanding the foregoing meanings of “contribution,” the word shall not be construed to include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. The term “contribution” does not include an “independent expenditure.” If:

a. Any individual, person, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals, including but not limited to, a political organization (as defined in section 527(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) makes, or contracts to make, any disbursement for any electioneering communication, as defined in this section; and

b. That disbursement is coordinated with a candidate, an authorized political committee of that candidate, a State or local political party or committee of that party, an affiliated party committee, or an agent or official of any such candidate, party, or committee that disbursement or contracting shall be treated as a contribution to the candidate supported by the electioneering communication or that candidate’s party and as an expenditure by that candidate or that candidate’s party.

§ 163A-1411 (13). Definitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definition [Participate]

Participate. – To take part in, influence, or attempt to influence, including
acting through an agent or proxy.

§ 163A-152 (58). Definitions.

Definition [contribution]

The terms “contribute” or “contribution” mean any advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, payment, gift, pledge or subscription of money or anything of value whatsoever, made to, or in coordination with, a candidate to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates, to a political committee, to a political party, to an affiliated party committee, or to a referendum committee, whether or not made in an election year, and any contract, agreement, or other obligation to make a contribution. An expenditure forgiven by a person or entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a contribution from that person or entity. These terms include, without limitation, such contributions as labor or personal services, postage, publication of campaign literature or materials, in-kind transfers, loans or use of any supplies, office machinery, vehicles, aircraft, office space, or similar or related services, goods, or personal or real property. These terms also include, without limitation, the proceeds of sale of services, campaign literature and materials, wearing apparel, tickets or admission prices to campaign events such as rallies or dinners, and the proceeds of sale of any campaign-related services or goods. Notwithstanding the foregoing meanings of “contribution,” the word shall not be construed to include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. The term “contribution” does not include an “independent expenditure.” If:

a. Any individual, person, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals, including but not limited to, a political organization (as defined in section 527(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) makes, or contracts to make, any disbursement for any electioneering communication, as defined in this section; and

b. That disbursement is coordinated with a candidate, an authorized political committee of that candidate, a State or local political party or committee of that party, an affiliated party committee, or an agent or official of any such candidate, party, or committee that disbursement or contracting shall be treated as a contribution to the candidate supported by the electioneering communication or that candidate’s party and as an expenditure by that candidate or that candidate’s party.

 

§ 163A-1411 (13). Definitions.

 

 

 

 

Definition [political party]

The term “political party” means any political party organized or operating in this State, whether or not that party is recognized under the provisions of G.S. 163A-950. A special definition of “political party organization” that applies only in Part 2 of this Article is set forth in G.S. 163A-1475. An affiliated party committee is deemed a political party for this Article as set forth in G.S. 163A-1416 and G.S. 163A-1417.

§ 163A-1411 (76). Definitions.

Definition [political committee]

The term “political committee” means a combination of two or more individuals, such as any person, committee, association, organization, or other entity that makes, or accepts anything of value to make, contributions or expenditures and has one or more of the following characteristics:

a. Is controlled by a candidate;

b. Is a political party or executive committee of a political party or is controlled by a political party or executive committee of a political party;

c. Is created by a corporation, business entity, insurance company, labor union, or professional association pursuant to G.S. 163A-1436(d); or

d. Has the major purpose to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates; [or]

e. Is an affiliated party committee. Supporting or opposing the election of clearly identified candidates includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a clearly identified political party. If the entity qualifies as a “political committee” under sub-subdivision a., b., c., or d. of this subdivision, it continues to be a political committee if it receives contributions or makes       expenditures or maintains assets or liabilities. A political committee ceases to exist when it winds up its operations, disposes of its assets, and files its final report. The term “political committee” includes the campaign of a candidate who serves as his or her own treasurer. Special definitions of “political action committee” and “candidate campaign committee” that apply only                  in Part 2 of this Article are set forth in G.S. 163A-1475.

§ 163A-1411 (74). Definitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definition [Limited contributor]

“Limited contributor” means a lobbyist registered under Article 8 of this Chapter, that lobbyist’s agent, that lobbyist’s principal as defined in G.S. 163A-250(21) or a political committee that employs or contracts with or whose parent entity employs or contracts with a lobbyist registered under Article 8 of this Chapter.

§ 163A-1426. Limitation on fund-raising during legislative session. (a) Definitions (1)

Definition [affiliated party committee]

The term “affiliated party committee” means a General Assembly affiliated party committee as established by G.S. 163A-1416 or Council of State affiliated party committee as established by G.S. 163A-1417.

§ 163A-1411 (1).  Definitions.

Definition [board]

The term “board” means the State Board with respect to all candidates for State, legislative, and judicial offices and the county board of elections with respect to all candidates for county and municipal offices. The term means the State Board with respect to all statewide referenda and the county board of elections conducting all local referenda.

§ 163A-1411 (3). Definitions.

 

 

 

 

Definition [Board]

Board. – Any State board, commission, council, committee, task force,
authority, or similar public body, however denominated, created by statute or
executive order, as determined and designated by the State Board, except for
those public bodies that have only advisory authority.

§ 163A-152 (3). Definitions

Definition [State]

“State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

§ 163A-1336 (5). Definitions.

Definition [Ballot]

(Effective until January 1, 2018 or September 1, 2019 – see note) “Ballot” means an instrument on which a voter indicates that voter’s choice for a ballot item so that it may be recorded as a vote for or against a certain candidate or referendum proposal. The term “ballot” may include a paper ballot to be counted by hand, a paper ballot to be counted on an electronic
scanner, the face of a lever voting machine, the image on a direct record electronic unit, or a ballot used on any other voting system.

(Effective January 1, 2018 or September 1, 2019 – see note) “Ballot” means an instrument on which a voter indicates that voter’s choice for a ballot item so that it may be recorded as a vote for or against a certain candidate or referendum proposal, and is evidenced by an individual paper document that bears marks made by the voter by hand or through electronic
means, whether preprinted or printed in the voting enclosure.

§ 163A-1095 (1). Definitions.

Definition [Office]

(4) Office. – The elected office for which the candidate has filed or petitioned.
(2006-155, s. 1; 2006-259, s. 48(a); 2017-6, s. 3.)

§ 163A-1025 (4). Definitions.

Definition [Lobbyist]

Lobbyist. – An individual who engages in lobbying for payment and meets
any of the following criteria:
a. Represents another person or governmental unit, but is not directly
employed by that person or governmental unit.
b. Contracts for payment for lobbying.
c. Is employed by a person and a significant part of that employee’s
duties include lobbying. In no case shall an employee be considered a
lobbyist if in no 30-day period less than five percent (5%) of that
employee’s actual duties include engaging in lobbying as defined in
subdivision (17)a. of this section or if in no 30-day period less than
five percent (5%) of that employee’s actual duties include engaging in
lobbying as defined in subdivision (17)b. of this section.
The term “lobbyist” shall not include individuals who are specifically
exempted from this Article by G.S. 163A-365 or registered as liaison
personnel under Part 5 of this Article.

§ 163A-250 (19). Definitions

Definition [Contract]

Contract. – Any agreement, including sales and conveyances of real and
personal property, and agreements for the performance of services.

§ 163A-152 (19). Definitions.

Definition [candidate]

The term “candidate” means any individual who, with respect to a public office listed in G.S. 163A-1411(80), has taken positive action for the purpose of bringing about that individual’s nomination, retention, or election to public office. Examples of positive action include any of the following:

a. Filing a notice of candidacy, filing a notice to be retained, or a petition requesting to be a candidate.

b. Being certified as a nominee of a political party for a vacancy.

c. Otherwise qualifying as a candidate in a manner authorized by law.

d. Making a public announcement of a definite intent to run for public office in a particular election.

e. Receiving funds or making payments or giving the consent for anyone else to receive funds or transfer anything of value for the purpose of bringing about that individual’s nomination or election to office. Transferring anything of value includes incurring an obligation to transfer anything of value. Status as a candidate for the purpose of this Article continues if the individual is receiving contributions to repay loans or cover a deficit or is making expenditures to satisfy obligations from an election already held. Special definitions of “candidate” and “candidate campaign committee” that apply only in Part 2 of this Article are set forth in G.S. 163A-1475.

§ 163A-1411 (9). Definitions.

Definition [principal]

Lobbyist principal and principal. – The person or governmental unit on whose
behalf the lobbyist lobbies and who makes payment for the lobbying. In the
case where a lobbyist is paid by a law firm, consulting firm, or other entity
retained by a person or governmental unit for lobbying, the principal is the
person or governmental unit whose interests the lobbyist represents in
lobbying. In the case of a lobbyist employed or retained by an association or
other organization, the lobbyist principal is the association or other
organization, not the individual members of the association or other
organization.
The term “lobbyist principal” shall not include those designating
registered liaison personnel under Part 5 of this Article.

§ 163A-250 (21). Definitions

Definition [Committee]

Committee. – The Legislative Ethics Committee as created in Part 3 of Article
14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes.

§ 163A-152 (11). Definitions.

Definition [Candidate]

“Candidate” means any individual who, with respect to a public office listed in G.S. 163A-1411(80), has filed a notice of candidacy, notice of retention, or a petition requesting to be a candidate, or has been certified as a nominee of a political party for a vacancy, or has otherwise qualified as a candidate in a manner authorized by law, or has filed a statement of organization under G.S. 163A-1412 and is required to file periodic financial disclosure statements under G.S. 163A-1418.

§ 163A-1475 (2). Definitions.

Cases

North Carolina Cases

Case Name: Winborne v. Easley

Citation: 136 N.C. App. 191, 523 S.E.2d 149

Year: 1999

Case PDF: Winborne v. Easley

Case Summary: A statute that prohibited independent political committees from accepting contributions on behalf of members of or candidates for the General Assembly or Council of State while General Assembly was in session was an impermissible restriction on free political speech because the statute was not narrowly tailored to serve compelling governmental interests in preventing corruption or appearance of corruption. Appeal dismissed 351 N.C. 480, 543 S.E.2d 511 Stay denied 351 N.C. 480, 543 S.E.2d 512  

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: North Carolina Right to Life, Inc. v. Bartlett

Citation: 168 F.3d 705

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 1999

Case PDF: North Carolina Right to Life, Inc. v. Bartlett

Case Summary: North Carolina statutes prohibiting corporate expenditures or contributions for political purposes were substantially overbroad and unconstitutionally vague because there was no exception for non-profit corporations that presented a minimal risk of distorting the political process. Certiorari denied 120 S.Ct. 1156, 528 U.S. 1153, 145 L.Ed.2d 1069.

Case Name: North Carolina Right to Life, Inc. v. Bartlett (District Court Decision)

Citation: 3 F. Supp.2d 675

Federal District Court: Eastern District of North Carolina

Year: 1998

Case PDF: North Carolina Right to Life, Inc. v. Bartlett (District Court Decision)

Case Summary: A North Carolina statute prohibiting state legislators or candidates from soliciting contributions from lobbyists was not narrowly tailored to advance purpose of preventing corruption or appearance of corruption.

Regulations & Guidance

Advisory Opinion

  • Op. Atty. Gen., Southerland, May 4, 1998 The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 preempts North Carolina law prohibiting a member of hte General Assembly from accepting contributions from lobbyists while running for Congress.