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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)

§ 163-278.14A. Evidence that communications are “to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates.”

Overview of Statute

Section defines “communication(s)” subject to the campaign rules herein, but excludes communication which appears in a news story, commentary, or editorial by means not affiliated with the political party, and communication distributed by an organization solely to its members from such regulation as a contribution or expenditure.

Statute

(a) The following shall be means of proving that an individual or other entity acted “to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates”: presenting evidence of financial sponsorship of communications to the general public that use phrases such as “vote for”, “reelect”, “support”, “cast your ballot for”, “(name of candidate) for (name of office)”, “(name of candidate) in (year)”, “vote against”, “defeat”, “reject”, “vote pro-(policy position)” or “vote anti-(policy position)” accompanied by a list of candidates clearly labeled “pro-(policy position)” or “anti-(policy position)”, or communications of campaign words or slogans, such as posters, bumper stickers, advertisements, etc., which say “(name of candidate)’s the One”, “(name of candidate) ’98”, “(name of candidate)!”, or the names of two candidates joined by a hyphen or slash.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a communication shall not be subject to regulation as a contribution or expenditure under this Article if it:

(1) Appears in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, or magazine, unless those facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee;

(2) Is distributed by a corporation solely to its stockholders and employees; or

(3) Is distributed by any organization, association, or labor union solely to its members or to subscribers or recipients of its regular publications, or is made available to individuals in response to their request, including through the Internet.

(1999-453, s. 3(a); 2008-150, s. 6(b); 2015-258, s. 3(k); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)

Definition [corporation]

The term “corporation” means any corporation established under either domestic or foreign charter, and includes a corporate subsidiary and any business entity in which a corporation participates or is a stockholder, a partner or a joint venturer. The term applies regardless of whether the corporation does business in the State of North Carolina.

§ 163A-1411 (24). Definitions.

Definition [expenditure]

The terms “expend” or “expenditure” mean any purchase, advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, payment, gift, pledge or subscription of money or anything of value whatsoever, whether or not made in an election year, and any contract, agreement, or other obligation to make an expenditure, to support or oppose the nomination, election, or passage of one or more clearly identified candidates, or ballot measure. An expenditure forgiven by a person or entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a contribution from that person or entity. Supporting or opposing the election of clearly identified candidates includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a clearly identified political party. The term “expenditure” also includes any payment or other transfer made by a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee.

§ 163A-1411 (51). Definitions.

Definition [labor union]

The term “labor union” means any union, organization, combination or association of employees or workmen formed for the purposes of securing by united action favorable wages, improved labor conditions, better hours of labor or work-related benefits, or for handling, processing or righting grievances by employees against their employers, or for representing employees collectively or individually in dealings with their employers. The term includes any unions to which Article 10, Chapter 95 applies.

§ 163A-1411 (59). Definitions.

Definition [Expenditure]

Expenditure. – An expenditure means any purchase, advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, payment, gift,pledge, subscription of money, anything of value whatsoever, and any contract, agreement, promise, or other obligation to make an expenditure, by a legal defense fund for a permitted use as provided in G.S. 163A-1570. An expenditure forgiven by a person or entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a legal expense donation.

§ 163A-1550 (3). 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 [Advertisement]

“Advertisement” means any message appearing in the print media, on television, or on radio that constitutes a contribution or expenditure under this Article.

§ 163A-1475 (1). 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 [broadcasting station]

The term “broadcasting station” means any commercial radio or television station or community antenna radio or television station. Special definitions of “radio” and “television” that apply only in Part 2 of this Article are set forth in G.S. 163A-1475.

§ 163A-1411 (5). Definitions.

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 [expend]

The terms “expend” or “expenditure” mean any purchase, advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, payment, gift, pledge or subscription of money or anything of value whatsoever, whether or not made in an election year, and any contract, agreement, or other obligation to make an expenditure, to support or oppose the nomination, election, or passage of one or more clearly identified candidates, or ballot measure. An expenditure forgiven by a person or entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a contribution from that person or entity. Supporting or opposing the election of clearly identified candidates includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a clearly identified political party. The term “expenditure” also includes any payment or other transfer made by a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee.

§ 163A-1411 (51). 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 [Sponsor]

“Sponsor” means a candidate, candidate committee, political party organization, political action committee, referendum committee, individual, or other entity that purchases an advertisement.

§ 163A-1475 (10). Definitions.

Definition [election]

The term “election” means any general or special election, a first or second primary, a run-off election, or an election to fill a vacancy. The term “election” shall not include any local or statewide referendum.

§ 163A-1411 (30). Definitions.

Definition [Election]

“Election” means the event in which voters cast votes in ballot items concerning proposals or candidates for office in this State or the United States. The term includes primaries, general elections, referenda, and special elections.

§ 163A-1095 (4). Definition

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 [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

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

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

Citation: 525 F.3d 274

Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court

Year: 2008

Case PDF: 525_F.3d_274

Case Summary: The Court of Appeals held that “context” provision was unconstitutionally overbroad and vague; statutory definition of regulable “political committee” also violated First Amendment on its face; and dollar limit on campaign contributions infringed First Amendment when applied to independent-expenditure political committee.

Case Name: Citizens United v. FEC

Citation: 558 U.S. 310

Federal District Court:

Year: 2010

Case PDF: 130_S.Ct._876

Case Summary: The Supreme Court held that government may not, under the First Amendment, suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker's corporate identity, overruling Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce; federal statute barring independent corporate expenditures for electioneering communications violated First Amendment, overruling McConnell v. Federal Election Com'n; disclaimer and disclosure provisions of Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 did not violate First Amendment, as applied to nonprofit corporation's film and three advertisements for the film.