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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)

§ 163-278.6. Definitions.

Overview of Statute

The section defines the terms used throughout this Article.

Statute

When used in this Article:

(1) The term “affiliated party committee” means a General Assembly affiliated party committee as established by G.S. 163-278.8B or Council of State affiliated party committee as established by G.S. 163-278.8C.

(2) Reserved.

(3) The term “board” means the State Board of Elections 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 of Elections with respect to all statewide referenda and the county board of elections conducting all local referenda.

(4) Reserved.

(5) 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 1A of this Article are set forth in G.S. 163-278.38Z.

(6) Reserved.

(7) The term “business entity” means any partnership, joint venture, joint-stock company, company, firm, or any commercial or industrial establishment or enterprise.

(8) Reserved.

(9) The term “candidate” means any individual who, with respect to a public office listed in G.S. 163-278.6(18), 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. 163-278.38Z.

(10) Reserved.

(11) 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 1A of this Article are set forth in G.S. 163-278.38Z.

(12) Reserved.

(13) 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.

(14) to (19) Reserved.

(20) The term “coordinated expenditure” means an expenditure that is made in concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate campaign committee as defined in G.S. 163-278.3(3), the agent of the candidate, or the agent of the candidate campaign committee. An expenditure for the distribution of information relating to a candidate’s campaign, positions, or policies, that is obtained through publicly available resources, including a candidate campaign committee, is not a coordinated expenditure if it is not made in concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, the candidate campaign committee, the agent of the candidate, or the agent of the candidate campaign committee.

(21) Reserved.

(22) The term “coordination” means in concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of.

(23) Reserved.

(24) 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.

(25) Reserved.

(26) The term “costs of collection” means monies spent by the State Board in the collection of the penalties levied under this Article to the extent the costs do not constitute more than fifty percent (50%) of the civil penalty. The costs are presumed to be ten percent (10%) of the civil penalty unless otherwise determined by the State Board of Elections based on the records of expenses incurred by the State Board of Elections for its collection procedures.

(27) Reserved.

(28) The term “day” means calendar day.

(29) Reserved.

(30) 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.

(31) Reserved.

(32) The term “election cycle” means the period of time from January 1 after an election for an office through December 31 after the election for the next term of the same office. Where the term is applied in the context of several offices with different terms, “election cycle” means the period from January 1 of an odd-numbered year through December 31 of the next even-numbered year.

(33) to (40) Reserved.

(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 within 30 days of the 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.

(42) Reserved.

(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. 120C-100(a)(36) properly reported under Chapter 120C of the General Statutes.

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.

(44) to (48) Reserved.

(49) The term “enforcement costs” means salaries, overhead, and other monies spent by the State Board of Elections in the enforcement of the penalties provisions of this Article, including the costs of investigators, attorneys, travel costs for State Board employees and its attorneys, to the extent the costs do not constitute more than fifty percent (50%) of the sum levied for the enforcement costs and civil late penalty.

(50) Reserved.

(51) 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.

(52) Reserved.

(53) 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.

(54) Reserved.

(55) The term “individual” means a single individual or more than one individual.

(56) Reserved.

(57) The term “insurance company” means any person whose business is making or underwriting contracts of insurance, and includes mutual insurance companies, stock insurance companies, and fraternal beneficiary associations.

(58) Reserved.

(59) 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.

(60) to (69) Reserved.

(70) The term “mass mailing” means any mailing by United States mail or facsimile to 20,000 or more households, cumulative per election, in a statewide election or 2,500 households, cumulative per election, in any other election.

(71) Reserved.

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

(73) Reserved.

(74) 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. 163-278.19(b); 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. 163-278.38Z.

(75) Reserved.

(76) 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. 163-96. A special definition of “political party organization” that applies only in Part 1A of this Article is set forth in G.S. 163-278.38Z. An affiliated party committee is deemed a political party for this Article as set forth in G.S. 163-278.8B and G.S. 163-278.8C.

(77) Reserved.

(78) The term “professional association” means any trade association, group, organization, association, or collection of persons or individuals formed for the purposes of advancing, representing, improving, furthering or preserving the interests of persons or individuals having a common vocation, profession, calling, occupation, employment, or training.

(79) Reserved.

(80) The term “public office” means any office filled by election by the people on a statewide, county, municipal or district basis, and this Article shall be applicable to such elective offices whether the election therefor is partisan or nonpartisan.

(81) Reserved.

(82) 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.

(83) Reserved.

(84) 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.

(85) to (92) Reserved.

(93) The term “telephone bank” means telephone calls that are targeted to the relevant electorate, except when those telephone calls are made by volunteer workers, whether or not the design of the telephone bank system, development of calling instructions, or training of volunteers was done by paid professionals.

(94) Reserved.

(95) The term “treasurer” means an individual appointed by a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee as provided in G.S. 163-278.7 or G.S. 163-278.40A.

(1973, c. 1272, s. 1; 1975, c. 798, ss. 5, 6; 1979, c. 500, s. 1; c. 1073, ss. 1-3, 19, 20; 1981, c. 837, s. 1; 1983, c. 331, s. 6; 1985, c. 352, ss. 1-3; 1997-515, ss. 4(a)-(c), 7(b)-(d); 1999-31, ss. 1(a), (b), 2(a)-(c), 3, 4(a); 1999-424, s. 6(a), (b); 2002-159, s. 55(n); 2003-278, s. 5; 2004-125, s. 3; 2004-127, s. 15; 2004-203, s. 12(b); 2005-430, s. 10; 2006-264, s. 23; 2007-391, s. 3; 2008-150, s. 6(a); 2008-187, s. 33(a); 2009-534, ss. 1, 3(a), (b); 2010-170, s. 1; 2011-31, s. 20; 2013-381, s. 50.1; 2015-66, s. 8(a); 2015-258, ss. 3(b), (b1); 2015-264, ss. 81(c), (d); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-144, s. 3.4(m); 2018-146, ss. 4.6, 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 [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 [Participate]

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

§ 163A-152 (58). 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 [coordination]

The term “coordination” means in concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of.

§ 163A-1411 (22). Definitions.

Definition [mass mailing]

The term “mass mailing” means any mailing by United States mail or facsimile to 20,000 or more households, cumulative per election, in a statewide election or 2,500 households, cumulative per election, in any other election.

§ 163A-1411 (70). Definitions.

Definition [Compensation]

Compensation. – Any money, thing of value, or economic benefit conferred
on or received by any covered person or filing person in return for services
rendered or to be rendered by that covered person or filing person or another.
This term does not include campaign contributions properly received and,
reported as required by Article 23 of this Chapter.

§ 163A-152 (13). Definitions.

Definition [public office]

The term “public office” means any office filled by election by the people on a statewide, county, municipal or district basis, and this Article shall be applicable to such elective offices whether the election therefor is partisan or nonpartisan.

§ 163A-1411 (80). Definitions.

Definition [United States]

“United States,” used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

§ 163A-1336 (8). Definitions.

Definition [telephone bank]

The term “telephone bank” means telephone calls that are targeted to the relevant electorate, except when those telephone calls are made by volunteer workers, whether or not the design of the telephone bank system, development of calling instructions, or training of volunteers was done by paid professionals.

§ 163A-1411 (93). Definitions.

Definition [business entity]

The term “business entity” means any partnership, joint venture, joint-stock company, company, firm, or any commercial or industrial establishment or enterprise.

§ 163A-1411 (7). 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 [enforcement costs]

The term “enforcement costs” means salaries, overhead, and other monies spent by the State Board in the enforcement of the penalties provisions of this Article, including the costs of investigators, attorneys, travel costs for State Board employees and its attorneys, to the extent the costs do not constitute more than fifty percent (50%) of the sum levied for the enforcement costs and civil late penalty.

§ 163A-1411 (49). Definitions.

Definition [insurance company]

The term “insurance company” means any person whose business is making or underwriting contracts of insurance, and includes mutual insurance companies, stock insurance companies, and fraternal beneficiary associations.

§ 163A-1411 (57). 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 [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 [Solicitation of others]

Solicitation of others. – A solicitation of members of the public to
communicate directly with or contact one or more designated individuals to
influence or attempt to influence legislative or executive action to further the
solicitor’s position on that legislative or executive action, when that request is
made by any of the following methods:
a. A broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission.
b. An e-mail communication or a Web site posting.
c. A communication delivered by print media as defined in
G.S. 163A-1475.
d. A letter or other written communication delivered by mail or by
comparable delivery service.
e. Telephone.
f. A communication at a conference, meeting, or similar event.
The term “solicitation of others” does not include communications made
by a person or by the person’s agent to that person’s stockholders, employees,
board members, officers, members, subscribers, or other recipients who have
affirmatively assented to receive the person’s regular publications or notices.
(b) Except as otherwise defined in this section, the definitions in Article 5 of this Chapter
apply in this Article. (1933, c. 11, s. 1; 1975, c. 820, s. 1; 1991, c. 740, s. 1.1; 2001-424, s.
6.10(b); 2005-456, s. 1.; 2006-201, s. 18; 2007-347, s. 6(b); 2007-348, ss. 7, 8(a), (b); 2008-213,
ss. 4-8, 90; 2009-129, s. 3; 2010-169, ss. 17(a)-(e); 2017-6, s. 3.)

§ 163A-250 (36). Definitions

Definition [coordinated expenditure]

The term “coordinated expenditure” means an expenditure that is made in concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate campaign committee as defined in G.S. 163A-1475(3), the agent of the candidate, or the agent of the candidate campaign committee. An expenditure for the distribution of information relating to a candidate’s campaign, positions, or policies, that is obtained through publicly available resources, including a candidate campaign committee, is not a coordinated expenditure if it is not made in concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, the candidate campaign committee, the agent of the candidate, or the agent of the candidate campaign committee.

§ 163A-1411 (20). 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 [professional association]

The term “professional association” means any trade association, group, organization, association, or collection of persons or individuals formed for the purposes of advancing, representing, improving, furthering or preserving the interests of persons or individuals having a common vocation, profession, calling, occupation, employment, or training.

§ 163A-1411 (78). 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 [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 [Gift]

Gift. – Anything of monetary value given or received without valuable
consideration by or from a lobbyist, lobbyist principal, liaison personnel, or a
person described under G.S. 163A-212(d)(1), (2), or (3). The following shall
not be considered gifts under this subdivision:
a. Anything for which fair market value, or face value if shown, is paid
by the covered person or legislative employee.
b. Commercially available loans made on terms not more favorable than
generally available to the general public in the normal course of
business if not made for lobbying.
c. Contractual arrangements or commercial relationships or arrangements
made in the normal course of business if not made for lobbying.
d. Academic or athletic scholarships based on the same criteria as applied
to the public.
e. Anything of value properly reported as required under Article 23 of
this Chapter.
f. Expressions of condolence related to a death of an individual, sent
within a reasonable time of the death, if the expression is one of the
following:
1. A sympathy card, letter, or note.
2. Flowers.
3. Food or beverages for immediate consumption.
4. Donations to a religious organization, charity, the State or a
political subdivision of the State, not to exceed a total of two
hundred dollars ($200.00) per death per donor.

§ 163A-152 (32). 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 [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 [person]

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

§ 163A-1411 (72). 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 [Payment]

Payment. – Any money, thing of value, or economic benefit conveyed to the
lobbyist for lobbying, other than reimbursement of actual travel,
administrative expenses, or subsistence.

§ 163A-250 (32). 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 [Business]

Business. – Any of the following organized for profit:
a. Association.
b. Business trust.
c. Corporation.
d. Enterprise.
e. Joint venture.
f. Organization.
g. Partnership.
h. Proprietorship.
i. Vested trust.
j. Every other business interest, including ownership or use of land for
income.

§ 163A-152 (5). 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 [treasurer]

The term “treasurer” means an individual appointed by a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee as provided in G.S. 163A-1412 or G.S. 163A-1496. (1973, c. 1272, s. 1; 1975, c. 798, ss. 5, 6; 1979, c. 500, s. 1; c. 1073, ss. 1-3, 19, 20; 1981, c. 837, s. 1; 1983, c. 331, s. 6; 1985, c. 352, ss. 1-3; 1997-515, ss. 4(a)-(c), 7(b)-(d); 1999-31, ss. 1(a), (b), 2(a)-(c), 3, 4(a); 1999-424, s. 6(a), (b); 2002-159, s. 55(n); 2003-278, s. 5; 2004-125, s. 3; 2004-127, s. 15; 2004-203, s. 12(b); 2005-430, s. 10; 2006-264, s. 23; 2007-391, s. 3; 2008-150, s. 6(a); 2008-187, s. 33(a); 2009-534, ss. 1, 3(a), (b); 2010-170, s. 1; 2011-31, s. 20; 2013-381, s. 50.1; 2015-66, s. 8(a); 2015-258, ss. 3(b), (b1); 2015-264, ss. 81(c), (d); 2017-6, s. 3.)

§ 163A-1411 (95). 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: Fuller v. Easley

Citation: 553 S.E.2d 43

Year: 2001

Case PDF: Fuller v. Easley

Case Summary: Taxpayer, on challenge to state attorney general's filing of lawsuits and use of proceeds, in action against attorney general, state treasurer, and unknown boards of education, had standing to sue to enforce state election laws through injunctions or other equitable relief, where taxpayer alleged that he was registered voter of county in which suit was filed.

Case Name: State v. Bolt

Citation: 344 S.E.2d 51

Year: 1986

Case PDF: State v. Bolt

Case Summary: Statute governing prosecution for violations of article within election laws regulating contributions and expenditures in political campaigns is clearly mandatory in its language.

Case Name: State v. Charlotte Liberty Mut. Ins. Co.

Citation: 251 S.E.2d 867, 39 N.C.App. 557

Year: 1978

Case PDF: State v. Charlotte Liberty Mut. Ins. Co.

Case Summary: Where election of public officer had been certified at time contribution was made by insurance company to breakfast held in his honor, the officer was no longer a "candidate" for political office and therefore summons were insufficient to charge criminal offense under the statute. Affirmed 258 S.E.2d 343, 298 N.C. 270.

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.

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.