Article 4.

Ethical Standards for Covered Persons.

138A-31. Use of public position for private gain.

(a) Except as permitted under G.S. 138A-38, a covered person or legislative employee shall not knowingly use the covered person's or legislative employee's public position in an official action or legislative action that will result in financial benefit to the covered person or legislative employee, a member of the covered person's or legislative employee's extended family, or business with which the covered person or legislative employee is associated. This subsection shall not apply to financial or other benefits derived by a covered person or legislative employee that the covered person or legislative employee would enjoy to an extent no greater than that which other citizens of the State would or could enjoy, or that are so remote, tenuous, insignificant, or speculative that a reasonable person would conclude under the circumstances that the covered person's or legislative employee's ability to protect the public interest and perform the covered person's or legislative employee's official duties would not be compromised.

(b) A covered person shall not mention or authorize another person to mention the covered person's public position in nongovernmental advertising that advances the private interest of the covered person or others. The prohibition in this subsection shall not apply to any of the following:

(1) Political advertising.

(2) News stories and articles.

(3) The inclusion of a covered person's public position in a directory or a biographical listing.

(4) The inclusion of a covered person's public position in an agenda or other document related to a meeting, conference, or similar event when the disclosure could reasonably be considered material by an individual attending the meeting, conference, or similar event.

(5) The inclusion of a covered person's public position in a charitable solicitation for a nonprofit business entity qualifying under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).

(6) The disclosure of a covered person's position to an existing or prospective customer, supplier, or client when the disclosure could reasonably be considered material by the customer, supplier, or client.

(7) A letter of character reference for any of the following:

a. A student seeking admittance to a school or institution of higher education.

b. An individual seeking an academic scholarship.

c. An individual seeking leniency upon sentencing by the courts, or other matters related to probation or parole.

d. An individual seeking employment, at the request of that individual or in response to the inquiry of a potential employer as to the qualifications and character of that individual.

(c) Notwithstanding G.S. 163-278.16A, no covered person shall use or permit the use of State funds for any advertisement or public service announcement in a newspaper, on radio, television, magazines, or billboards, that contains that covered person's name, picture, or voice, except in case of State or national emergency and only if the announcement is reasonably necessary to the covered person's official function. This subsection shall not apply to fund-raising on behalf of and aired on public radio or public television. (2006-201, s. 1; 2009-549, s. 16; 2011-393, s. 1; 2015-208, s. 1.)