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)

§ 163-278.22. Duties of State Board.

Overview of Statute

Section enumerates the following as duties to the State Board of Elections: (1) create, produce, and furnish necessary forms in furtherance of the Articles herein; (2) file any information supplied that exceeds the requirements of this Article; (3) develop a filing, coding, and indexing system consistent with the Articles herein; (4) make statements and information filed with the Board available for public inspection; (5) preserve reports and statements required under this Article; (6) prepare and furnish reports as deemed appropriate; (7) conduct investigations to the extent the Board deems necessary when inspecting records under this Article and upon notice of challenges; (8) upon investigating, to report apparent violations to the individuals subject to notice; (9) produce and furnish materials to the county board of elections required to be filed with the county board; (10) instruct election officials of their respective duties and responsibilities; (11) require certification of late filings from the county boards of elections and conduct the required subsequent actions; (12) assist count boards of elections in resolving questions regarding the Articles herein; (13) to require county boards to hold hearings, mandate investigations, and reports to the State Board of Elections; (14) calculate, assess, and collect penalties pursuant to this Article; (15) create a process for determining whether communication is an expenditure pursuant to the findings of the Executive Director.

Statute

It shall be the duty and power of the State Board:

(1) To prescribe forms of statements and other information required to be filed by this Article, to furnish such forms to the county boards of elections and individuals, media or others required to file such statements and information, and to prepare, publish and distribute or cause to be distributed to all candidates at the time they file notices of candidacy a manual setting forth the provisions of this Article and a prescribed uniform system for accounts required to file statements by this Article.

(2) To accept and file any information voluntarily supplied that exceeds the requirements of this Article.

(3) To develop a filing, coding, and cross-indexing system consonant with the purposes of this Article.

(4) To make statements and other information filed with it available to the public at a charge not to exceed actual cost of copying.

(5) To preserve reports and statements filed under this Article. Such reports and statements, after a period of two years following the election year, may be transferred to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Office of Archives and History, and shall be preserved for a period of 10 years.

(6) To prepare and publish such reports as it may deem appropriate.

(7) To make investigations to the extent the State Board deems necessary with respect to statements filed under the provisions of this Article and with respect to alleged failures to file any statement required under the provisions of this Article or Article 22M of [this Chapter of] the General Statutes and, upon complaint, signed and sworn under oath or affirmation, by any registered voter, with respect to alleged violations of any part of this Article or Article 22M of [this Chapter of] the General Statutes. All investigations shall be confidential, and no investigation shall be initiated more than four years from the earliest of the following dates:The State Board shall conclude all investigations no later than one year from the date of the start of the investigation, unless the State Board has reported an apparent violation to the proper district attorney and additional investigation of the apparent violation is deemed necessary by the State Board.

a. The facts constituting the violation are known to the State Board or county board with jurisdiction.

b. The facts constituting the violation can be determined from the public record.

c. The complainant knew or should have known of the conduct upon which the complaint is based.

(7a) To request and receive confidential recommendations from the State Ethics Commission regarding the appropriateness of a criminal referral of campaign finance violations.

(8) After investigation and receipt of the confidential recommendations regarding the appropriateness of a criminal referral for campaign finance violations, to report apparent violations by candidates, political committees, referendum committees, legal expense funds, individuals or persons to the proper district attorney as provided in G.S. 163-278.27.

(9) To prescribe and furnish forms of statements and other material to the county boards of elections for distribution to candidates and committees required to be filed with the county boards.

(10) To instruct the chairman and director of elections of each county board as to their respective duties and responsibilities relative to the administration of this Article.

(11) To require appropriate certification of delinquent or late filings from the county boards of elections and to execute the same responsibilities relative to such reports as provided in G.S. 163-278.27.

(12) To assist county boards of elections in resolving questions arising from the administration of this Article.

(13) To require county boards of elections to hold such hearings, make such investigations, and make reports to the State Board as the State Board deems necessary in the administration of this Article.

(14) To calculate, assess, and collect civil penalties pursuant to this Article.

(15) To establish a process for determination as to whether communication is an expenditure, independent expenditure, or electioneering communication prior to the airing or distribution of that communication when so requested by an individual or person producing a communication. The responsibility for the determination may be delegated to the Executive Director. If the responsibility is delegated to the Executive Director, the process established by the State Board shall require a written determination by the Executive Director to include stated findings and an opportunity for immediate appeal to the State Board of the determination by the Executive Director.

(1973, c. 1272, s. 1; 1975, c. 798, s. 8; 1977, c. 626, s. 1; 1979, c. 500, ss. 9, 12, 13; c. 1073, s. 18; 1995, c. 243, s. 1; 1997-515, s. 7(e); 2002-159, s. 35(n); 2007-349, ss. 2, 3; 2010-170, s. 6; 2015-241, s. 14.30(s); 2016-125, 4th Ex. Sess., s. 5(k); 2017-6, ss. 2, 3, 7(k); 2018-146, ss. 4.2(b), 3.1(a), (b), 4.11(c).)

Definition [referendum]

The term “referendum” means any question, issue, or act referred to a vote of the people of the entire State by the General Assembly, a unit of local government, or by the people under any applicable local act and includes constitutional amendments and State bond issues. The term “referendum” includes any type of municipal, county, or special district referendum and any initiative or referendum authorized by a municipal charter or local act. A recall election shall not be considered a referendum within the meaning of this Article.

§ 163A-1411 (82). Definitions.

Definition [Referendum]

“Referendum” means the event in which voters cast votes for or against ballot questions other than the election of candidates to office.

§ 163A-1095 (7). 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 [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 [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 [referendum committee]

The term “referendum committee” means a combination of two or more individuals such as a committee, association, organization, or other entity or a combination of two or more business entities, corporations, insurance companies, labor unions, or professional associations such as a committee, association, organization, or other entity the primary purpose of which is to support or oppose the passage of any referendum on the ballot. If the entity qualifies as a “referendum committee” under this subdivision, it continues to be a referendum committee if it receives contributions or makes expenditures or maintains assets or liabilities. A referendum committee ceases to exist when it winds up its operations, disposes of its assets, and files its final report.

§ 163A-1411 (84). Definitions.

Definition [independent expenditure]

The term “independently expend” or “independent expenditure” means an expenditure to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates that is not a coordinated expenditure. Supporting or opposing the election of clearly identified candidates includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a clearly identified political party. A contribution is not an independent expenditure. As applied to referenda, the term “independent expenditure” applies if consultation or coordination does not take place with a referendum committee that supports a ballot measure the expenditure supports, or a referendum committee that opposes the ballot measure the expenditure opposes.

§ 163A-1411 (53). Definitions.

Definition [electioneering communication]

(41) The term “electioneering communication” means any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, or mass mailing, or telephone bank that has all the following characteristics:

a. Refers to a clearly identified candidate for elected office.

b. In the case of the general election in November of the even-numbered year is aired or transmitted after September 7 of that year, and in the case of any other election is aired or transmitted within 60 days of the time set for absentee voting to begin pursuant to G.S. 163A-1300, 163A-1301, 163A-1302, 163A-1303, and 163A-1304 in an election for that office.

c. May be received by either:

1. 50,000 or more individuals in the State in an election for statewide office or 7,500 or more  individuals in any other election if in the form of broadcast, cable, or satellite communication.

2. 20,000 or more households, cumulative per election, in a statewide election or 2,500 households, cumulative per election, in any other election if in the form of mass mailing or telephone bank.

(43) The term “electioneering communication” does not include any of the following:

a. A communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, unless those facilities are owned or controlled by any  political party, affiliated party committee, political committee, or candidate.

b. A communication that constitutes an expenditure or independent expenditure under this Article.

c. A communication that constitutes a candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to rules adopted by the Board or that solely promotes that debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring the debate or forum.

d. A communication made while the General Assembly is in session which, incidental to advocacy for or against a specific piece of legislation pending before the General Assembly, urges the audience to communicate with a member or members of the General Assembly concerning that piece of legislation or a solicitation of others as defined in G.S. 163A-250(a)(36) properly reported under Article 8 of this Chapter.

e. A communication that meets all of the following criteria:

1. Does not mention any election, candidacy, political party, opposing candidate, or voting by the general public.

2. Does not take a position on the candidate’s character or qualifications and fitness for office.

3. Proposes a commercial transaction.

f. A public opinion poll conducted by a news medium, as defined in G.S. 8-53.11(a)(3), conducted by an organization whose primary purpose is to conduct or publish public opinion polls, or contracted for by a person to be conducted by an organization whose primary purpose is to conduct or publish public opinion polls. This sub-subdivision shall not apply to a push poll. For      the purpose of this sub-subdivision, “push poll” shall mean the political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a public opinion poll.

g. A communication made by a news medium, as defined in G.S. 8-53.11(a)(3), if the communication is in print.

 

§ 163A-1411 (41,43). 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 [media]

The term “communications media” or “media” means broadcasting stations, carrier current stations, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, outdoor advertising facilities, billboards, newspaper inserts, and any person or individual whose business is polling public opinion, analyzing or predicting voter behavior or voter preferences. Special definitions of “print media,” “radio,” and “television” that apply only in Part 2 of this Article are set forth in G.S. 163A-1475.

§ 163A-1411 (11). 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 [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 [person]

The term “person” means any business entity, corporation, insurance company, labor union, or professional association.

§ 163A-1411 (72). 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 [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

Case Name: Batdorff v. North Carolina State Bd. of Elections

Citation: 150 N.C.App. 108, 563 S.E.2d 43

Year: 2002

Case PDF: Batdorff v. North Carolina State Board of Elections

Case Summary: Voter failed to state claim for mandatory injunction to compel board of elections to hold a hearing on his allegations that a political committee had violated state campaign finance laws. The board had investigated the allegations and concluded that no hearing was required.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Regulations & Guidance

North Carolina Administrative Code