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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) Disclosure Requirements for Media Advertisements (§ § 163-278.38z through 163-278.39c) Article 22A. Regulating Contributions and Expenditures in Political Campaigns (§ § 163-1 through 163-7)

§ 163-278.39. Basic disclosure requirements for all political advertisements.

Overview of Statute

The statute defines the requirements for sponsor names included in campaign advertising.

Statute

(a) Basic Requirements.–It shall be unlawful for any sponsor to sponsor an advertisement in the print media or on radio or television that constitutes an expenditure, independent expenditure, electioneering communication, or contribution required to be disclosed under this Article unless all the following conditions are met:

(1) It bears the legend or includes the statement: “Paid for by ………….. [Name of candidate, candidate campaign committee, political party organization, political action committee, referendum committee, individual, or other sponsor].” In television advertisements, this disclosure shall be made by visual legend.

(2) The name used in the labeling required in subdivision (1) of this subsection is the name that appears on the statement of organization as required in G.S. 163-278.7(b)(1) or G.S. 163-278.12(a).

(3) In a print media advertisement supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates, the sponsor states whether it is authorized by a candidate. The visual legend in the advertisement shall state either “Authorized by [name of candidate], candidate for [name of office]” or “Not authorized by a candidate.” This subdivision does not apply if the sponsor of the advertisement is the candidate the advertisement supports or that candidate’s campaign committee.

(4) In a print media advertisement that identifies a candidate the sponsor is opposing, the sponsor discloses in the advertisement the name of the candidate who is intended to benefit from the advertisement. This subdivision applies only when the sponsor coordinates or consults about the advertisement or the expenditure for it with the candidate who is intended to benefit.

If an advertisement described in this section is jointly sponsored, the disclosure statement shall name all the sponsors.

(b) Size Requirements.–In a print media advertisement covered by subsection (a) of this section, the height of all disclosure statements required by that subsection shall constitute at least five percent (5%) of the height of the printed space of the advertisement, provided that the type shall in no event be less than 12 points in size. In an advertisement in a newspaper or a newspaper insert, the total height of the disclosure statement need not constitute five percent of the printed space of the advertisement if the type of the disclosure statement is at least 28 points in size. If a single advertisement consists of multiple pages, folds, or faces, the disclosure requirement of this section applies only to one page, fold, or face. In a television advertisement covered by subsection (a) of this section, the visual disclosure legend shall constitute four percent (4%) of vertical picture height in size, and where the television advertisement that appears is paid for by a candidate or candidate campaign committee, the visual disclosure legend shall appear simultaneously with an easily identifiable photograph of the candidate for at least two seconds. In a radio advertisement covered by subsection (a) of this section, the disclosure statement shall last at least two seconds, provided the statement is spoken so that its contents may be easily understood.

(c) Misrepresentation of Authorization.–Notwithstanding G.S. 163-278.27(a), any candidate, candidate campaign committee, political party organization, political action committee, referendum committee, individual, or other sponsor making an advertisement in the print media or on radio or television bearing any legend required by subsection (a) of this section that misrepresents the sponsorship or authorization of the advertisement is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(1999-453, s. 2(a); 2001-317, s. 1; 2001-353, s. 5; 2010-170, s. 8; 2013-381, ss. 44.2, 56.1; 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)

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 [Television]

“Television” means any television broadcast station, cable television system, wireless-cable multipoint distribution system, satellite company, or telephone company transmitting video programming that is subject to the provisions of 47 U.S.C. §§ 315 and 317.

§ 163A-1475 (11). 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 [Print media]

“Print media” means billboards, cards, newspapers, newspaper inserts, magazines, mass mailings, pamphlets, fliers, periodicals, and outdoor advertising facilities.

§ 163A-1475 (7). 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 [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 [Political action committee]

“Political action committee” has the same meaning as “political committee” in G.S. 163A-1411(74), except that “political action committee” does not include any political party, political party organization, or affiliated party committee.

§ 163A-1475 (5). 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 [Candidate campaign committee]

“Candidate campaign committee” means any political committee organized by or under the direction of a candidate, except for an affiliated party committee as defined in G.S. 163A-1411(1).

§ 163A-1475 (3). Definitions.

Definition [Political party organization]

“Political party organization” means any political party executive committee or any political committee that operates under the direction of a political party executive committee or political party chair, or any affiliated party committee.

§ 163A-1475 (6). 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 [Radio]

“Radio” means any radio broadcast station that is subject to the provisions of 47 U.S.C. §§ 315 and 317.

§ 163A-1475 (8). 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 [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.