GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2013

S                                                                                                                                                     1

SENATE BILL 702

 

 

Short Title:        Consolidate Elections, Ethics, Lobbying.

(Public)

Sponsors:

Senators Brock (Primary Sponsor); and Rabin.

Referred to:

Rules and Operations of the Senate.

April 4, 2013

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to consolidate the functions of elections, ethics, and lobbying into one state agency.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  The General Statutes are amended by adding a new Chapter to read:

"Chapter 163A.

"State Elections and Ethics Act.

"SUBCHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

"Article 1.

"Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

" 163A-100.  Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement established.

There is established the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

" 163A-101.  Membership.

(a)        The State Board shall consist of nine members. Three members shall be appointed by the Governor, no more than two of whom shall be of the same political party. Six members shall be appointed by the General Assembly, three upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, no more than two of whom shall be of the same political party, and three upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, no more than two of whom shall be of the same political party. Members shall serve for three year terms beginning January 1, 2014, except for the initial terms that shall be as follows:

(1)        One member appointed by the Governor shall serve an initial term of one year.

(2)        Two members appointed by the General Assembly, one upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, shall serve initial terms of one year.

(3)        One member appointed by the Governor shall serve an initial term of two years.

(4)        Two members appointed by the General Assembly, one upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one member upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, shall serve initial terms of two years.

(b)        Members shall be removed from the State Board only for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance. Members appointed by the Governor may be removed by the Governor. Members appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be removed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Speaker. Members appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall be removed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore.

(c)        Vacancies in appointments made by the Governor shall be filled by the Governor for the remainder of any unfulfilled term. Vacancies in appointments made by the General Assembly shall be filled in accordance with G.S. 120-122 for the remainder of any unfulfilled term.

(d)        No member while serving on the State Board or employee while employed by the State Board shall:

(1)        Hold or be a candidate for any other office or place of trust or profit under the United States, the State, or a political subdivision of the State.

(2)        Hold office in any political party above the precinct level.

(3)        Participate in or contribute to the political campaign of any covered person or any candidate for a public office as a covered person over which the Board would have jurisdiction or authority.

(4)        Otherwise be an employee of the State, a community college, or a local school administrative unit, or serve as a member of any other State board.

(e)        The Governor shall annually appoint a member of the Board to serve as chair of the State Board. The State Board shall elect a vice-chair annually from its membership. The vice-chair shall act as the chair in the chair's absence or if there is a vacancy in that position.

(f)         Members of the Board shall receive compensation for service on the Board.

" 163A-102.  Meetings and quorum.

The State Board shall meet at least quarterly and at other times as called by its chair or by four of its members. In the case of a vacancy in the chair, meetings may be called by the vice-chair. Five members of the State Board constitute a quorum.

" 163A-103.  Staff and offices.

The State Board may employ professional and clerical staff, including an Executive Director. The State Board shall be located within the Department of Administration for administrative purposes only, but shall exercise all of its powers, including the power to employ, direct, and supervise all personnel, independently of the Secretary of Administration. The State Board is subject to the direction and supervision of the Secretary of Administration only with respect to the management functions of coordinating and reporting.

" 163A-104.  Powers of the chair in the execution of State Board duties.

(a)        In the performance of the duties enumerated in this Chapter, the chair of the State Board shall have power to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, summon witnesses, and compel the production of papers, books, records, and other evidence.

(b)        Upon the written request or requests of two or more members of the State Board, the chair shall issue subpoenas for designated witnesses or identified papers, books, records, and other evidence.

(c)        In the absence of the chair or upon the chair's refusal to act, any two members of the State Board may issue subpoenas, summon witnesses, and compel the production of papers, books, records, and other evidence. In the absence of the chair or upon the chair's refusal to act, any member of the State Board may administer oaths.

(d)        The State Board may petition the Superior Court of Wake County for the approval to issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum as necessary to conduct investigations of violations of this Chapter. The court shall authorize subpoenas under this subsection when the court determines they are necessary for the enforcement of this Chapter. Subpoenas issued under this subsection shall be enforceable by the court through contempt powers. Venue shall be with the Superior Court of Wake County for any nonresident person, or that person's agent, who makes a reportable expenditure under this Chapter, and personal jurisdiction may be asserted under G.S. 1-75.4.

" 163A-105.  Executive Director of the State Board.

(a)        There is hereby created the position of Executive Director of the State Board, who shall perform all duties imposed by statute and such duties as might be assigned by the State Board.

(b)        The State Board shall appoint an Executive Director for a term of four years with compensation to be determined by the Department of Personnel. The Executive Director shall serve, unless removed for cause, until a successor is appointed. In the event of a vacancy, the vacancy shall be filled for the remainder of the term.

(c)        The Executive Director shall be responsible for staffing, administration, execution of the State Board's decisions and orders, and shall perform such other responsibilities as may be assigned by the State Board.

"SUBCHAPTER II. ETHICS AND LOBBYING.

"Article 2.

"Definitions; General Provisions.

" 163A-200.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Subchapter:

(1)        Blind trust. - A trust established by or for the benefit of a covered person or a member of the covered person's immediate family for divestiture of all control and knowledge of assets. A trust qualifies as a blind trust under this subdivision if the covered person or a member of the covered person's immediate family has no knowledge of the holdings and sources of income of the trust, the trustee of the trust is independent of and not associated with or employed by the covered person or a member of the covered person's immediate family and is not a member of the covered person's extended family, and the trustee has sole discretion as to the management of the trust assets.

(2)        Board. - Any State board, 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.

(3)        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.

(4)        a.         Business with which associated. - A business in which the covered person or filing person, or any member of that covered person's or filing person's immediate family, does any of the following:

1.         Is an employee.

2.         Holds a position as a director, officer, partner, proprietor, or member or manager of a limited liability company, irrespective of the amount of compensation received or the amount of the interest owned.

3.         Owns a legal, equitable, or beneficial interest of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more in the business or five percent (5%) of the business, whichever is less, other than as a trustee on a deed of trust.

4.         Is a lobbyist registered under this Chapter.

b.         For purposes of this subdivision, the term "business" shall not include a widely held investment fund, including a mutual fund, regulated investment company, or pension or deferred compensation plan, if all of the following apply:

1.         The covered person, filing person, or a member of the covered person's or filing person's immediate family neither exercises nor has the ability to exercise control over the financial interests held by the fund.

2.         The fund is publicly traded or the fund's assets are widely diversified.

(5)        Committee. - The Legislative Ethics Committee, as created in Part 3 of Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes.

(6)        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 Subchapter V of this Chapter.

(7)        Confidential information. - Information defined as confidential by the law.

(8)        Constitutional officers of the State. - Officers whose offices are established by Article III of the North Carolina Constitution.

(9)        Contract. - Any agreement, including sales and conveyances of real and personal property and agreements for the performance of services.

(10)      Covered person. - A legislator, public servant, or judicial officer, as identified by the State Board under G.S. 163A-208.

(11)      Designated individual. - A legislator, legislative employee, or public servant.

(12)      Employing entity. - For public servants, any of the following bodies of State government of which the public servant is an employee or a member or over which the public servant exercises supervision: agencies, authorities, boards, commissions, committees, councils, departments, offices, institutions and their subdivisions, and constitutional offices of the State. For legislators, it is the house of which the legislator is a member. For legislative employees, it is the authority that hired the individual. For judicial employees, it is the Chief Justice.

(13)      Executive action. - The preparation, research, drafting, development, consideration, modification, amendment, adoption, approval, tabling, postponement, defeat, or rejection of a policy, guideline, request for proposal, procedure, regulation, or rule by a public servant purporting to act in an official capacity. This term does not include any of the following:

a.         Present, prior, or possible proceedings of a contested case hearing under Chapter 150B of the General Statutes of a judicial nature or of a quasi-judicial nature.

b.         A public servant's communication with a person, or another person on that person's behalf, with respect to any of the following:

1.         Applying for a permit, license, determination of eligibility, or certification.

2.         Making an inquiry about or asserting a benefit, claim, right, obligation, duty, entitlement, payment, or penalty.

3.         Making an inquiry about or responding to a request for proposal made under Chapter 143 of the General Statutes.

4.         Rate making.

c.         Internal administrative functions, including those functions exempted from the definition of "rule" in G.S. 150B-2(8a).

d.         Ministerial functions.

e.         A public servant's communication with a person or another person on that person's behalf with respect to public comments made at an open meeting, or submitted as written comment, on a proposed executive action in response to a request for public comment, provided the identity of the person on whose behalf the comments are made is disclosed as part of the public participation and no reportable expenditure is made.

(14)      Extended family. - Spouse, lineal descendant, lineal ascendant, sibling, spouse's lineal descendant, spouse's lineal ascendant, spouse's sibling, and the spouse of any of these individuals.

(15)      Filing person. - An individual required to file a statement of economic interest under this Subchapter.

(16)      Financial benefit. - A direct pecuniary gain or loss to the legislator, the public servant, or a person with which the legislator or public servant is associated, or a direct pecuniary loss to a business competitor of the legislator, the public servant, or a person with which the legislator or public servant is associated.

(17)      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-402(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.         Any campaign contribution properly received and reported as required under Subchapter V 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.

(18)      Governmental unit. - A political subdivision of the State, and any other entity or organization created by a political subdivision of the State.

(19)      Honorarium. - Payment for services for which fees are not legally or traditionally required.

(20)      Immediate family. - An unemancipated child of the covered person residing in the household and the covered person's spouse, if not legally separated. A member of a covered person's extended family shall also be considered a member of the immediate family if actually residing in the covered person's household.

(21)      In session. - One of the following:

a.         The General Assembly is in extra session from the date the General Assembly convenes until the General Assembly:

1.         Adjourns sine die.

2.         Recesses or adjourns for more than 10 days.

b.         The General Assembly is in regular session from the date set by law or resolution that the General Assembly convenes until the General Assembly:

1.         Adjourns sine die.

2.         Recesses or adjourns for more than 10 days.

(22)      Judicial employee. - The director and assistant director of the Administrative Office of the Courts and any other individual, designated by the Chief Justice, employed in the Judicial Department whose annual compensation from the State is sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) or more.

(23)      Judicial officer. - Justice or judge of the General Court of Justice, district attorney, clerk of court, or any individual elected or appointed to any of these positions prior to taking office.

(24)      Legislative action. - The preparation, research, drafting, introduction, consideration, modification, amendment, approval, passage, enactment, tabling, postponement, defeat, or rejection of a bill, resolution, amendment, motion, report, nomination, appointment, or other matter, whether or not the matter is identified by an official title, general title, or other specific reference, by a legislator or legislative employee acting or purporting to act in an official capacity. It also includes the consideration of any bill by the Governor for the Governor's approval or veto under Section 22(1) of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution or for the Governor to allow the bill to become law under Section 22(7) of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution.

(25)      Legislative employee. - Employees and officers of the General Assembly, consultants and counsel to committees of either house of the General Assembly or of legislative commissions, who are paid by State funds, and students at an accredited law school while in an externship program at the General Assembly approved by the Legislative Services Commission, but not including legislators, members of the Council of State, nonsupervisory employees of the Administrative Division's Facility Maintenance and Food Services staff, or pages.

(26)      Legislator. - A member or presiding officer of the General Assembly, or an individual elected or appointed a member or presiding officer of the General Assembly before taking office.

(27)      Liaison personnel. - Any State employee, counsel employed under G.S. 147-17, or officer whose principal duties, in practice or as set forth in that individual's job description, include lobbying legislators or legislative employees.

(28)      Lobby or lobbying. - Any of the following:

a.         Influencing or attempting to influence legislative or executive action, or both, through direct communication or activities with a designated individual or that designated individual's immediate family.

b.         Developing goodwill through communications or activities, including the building of relationships, with a designated individual or that designated individual's immediate family with the intention of influencing current or future legislative or executive action, or both.

The terms "lobby" or "lobbying" do not include communications or activities as part of a business, civic, religious, fraternal, personal, or commercial relationship which is not connected to legislative or executive action, or both.

(29)      Lobbyist. - An individual who engages in lobbying for payment and meets any of the following criteria:

a.         Represents another person or governmental unit but is not directly employed by that person or governmental unit.

b.         Contracts for payment for lobbying.

c.         Is employed by a person and a significant part of that employee's duties include lobbying. In no case shall an employee be considered a lobbyist if in no 30-day period less than five percent (5%) of that employee's actual duties include engaging in lobbying as defined in sub-subdivision (28)a. of this section or if in no 30-day period less than five percent (5%) of that employee's actual duties include engaging in lobbying as defined in sub-subdivision (28)b. of this section.

The term "lobbyist" shall not include individuals who are specifically exempted from this Subchapter under Part 5 of Article 5 of this Chapter or registered as liaison personnel under Part 4 of Article 5 of this Chapter.

(30)      Lobbyist principal and principal. - The person or governmental unit on whose behalf the lobbyist lobbies and who makes payment for the lobbying. In the case where a lobbyist is paid by a law firm, consulting firm, or other entity retained by a person or governmental unit for lobbying, the principal is the person or governmental unit whose interests the lobbyist represents in lobbying. In the case of a lobbyist employed or retained by an association or other organization, the lobbyist principal is the association or other organization, not the individual members of the association or other organization.

The term "lobbyist principal" shall not include those designating registered liaison personnel under Part 4 of Article 5 of this Chapter.

(31)      Nonprofit corporation or organization with which associated. - Any not-for-profit corporation, organization, or association, incorporated or otherwise, that is organized or operating in the State primarily for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, public health and safety, or educational purposes and of which the covered person, filing person, or any member of the covered person's or filing person's immediate family is a director, officer, governing board member, employee, lobbyist registered under this Subchapter, or independent contractor. Nonprofit corporation or organization with which associated shall not include any board, entity, or other organization created by this State or by any political subdivision of this State.

(32)      Official action. - Any decision, including administration, approval, disapproval, preparation, recommendation, the rendering of advice, and investigation, made or contemplated in any proceeding, application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, investigation, charge, or rule making.

(33)      Participate. - To take part in, influence, or attempt to influence, including acting through an agent or proxy.

(34)      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.

(35)      Permanent designee. - An individual designated by a public servant to serve and vote in the absence of the public servant on a regular basis on a board on which the public servant serves.

(36)      Person. - Any individual, firm, partnership, committee, association, corporation, business, or any other organization or group of persons acting together. The term "person" does not include the State, a political subdivision of the State, a board, or any other entity or organization created by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

(37)      Person with which the legislator is associated. - Any of the following:

a.         A member of the legislator's extended family.

b.         A client of the legislator.

c.         A business with which the legislator or a member of the legislator's immediate family is associated.

d.         A nonprofit corporation or association with which the legislator or a member of the legislator's immediate family is associated.

e.         The State, a political subdivision of the State, a board, or any other entity or organization created by the State or a political subdivision of the State that employs the legislator or a member of the legislator's immediate family.

(38)      Person with which the public servant is associated. - Any of the following:

a.         A member of the public servant's extended family.

b.         A client of the public servant.

c.         A business with which the public servant or a member of the public servant's immediate family is associated.

d.         A nonprofit corporation or association with which the public servant or a member of the public servant's immediate family is associated.

e.         The State, a political subdivision of the State, a board, or any other entity or organization created by the State or a political subdivision of the State that employs the public servant or a member of the public servant's immediate family.

(39)      Political party. - Either of the two largest political parties in the State based on statewide voter registration at the applicable time.

(40)      Public servants. - All of the following:

a.         Constitutional officers of the State and individuals elected or appointed as constitutional officers of the State prior to taking office.

b.         Employees of the Office of the Governor.

c.         Heads of all principal State departments, as set forth in G.S. 143B-6, who are appointed by the Governor.

d.         The chief deputy and chief administrative assistant of each individual designated under sub-subdivision a. or c. of this subdivision.

e.         Confidential assistants and secretaries as defined in G.S. 126-5(c)(2) to individuals designated under sub-subdivision a., c., or d. of this subdivision.

f.          Employees in exempt positions designated in accordance with G.S. 126-5(d)(1), (2), or (2a) and confidential secretaries to these individuals.

g.         Any other employees or appointees in the principal State departments as may be designated by the Governor to the extent that the designation does not conflict with the State Personnel Act.

h.         Judicial employees.

i.          All voting members of boards, including ex officio members, permanent designees of any voting member, and members serving by executive, legislative, or judicial branch appointment.

j.          For The University of North Carolina, the voting members of the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina, the president, the vice presidents, the chancellors, the vice-chancellors, and voting members of the boards of trustees of the constituent institutions.

k.         For the North Carolina Community College System, the voting members of the State Board of Community Colleges, the president and the chief financial officer of the North Carolina Community College System, the president, chief financial officer, and chief administrative officer of each community college, and voting members of the boards of trustees of each community college.

l.          Members of the State Board and the directors under G.S. 163A-9.

m.        Individuals under contract with the State working in or against a position included under this subdivision.

n.         The director of the Office of State Personnel.

o.         The State Controller.

p.         The chief information officer, deputy chief information officers, chief financial officers, and general counsel of the Office of Information Technology Services.

q.         The director of the North Carolina Museum of Art.

r.          The executive director of the Agency for Public Telecommunications.

s.          The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

t.          The Commissioner of Banks and the Chief Deputy Commissioner of Banks.

u.         The executive director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

v.         The executive director, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.

(41)      Reportable expenditure. - Any of the following that directly or indirectly is made to, at the request of, for the benefit of, or on the behalf of a designated individual or that individual's immediate family member:

a.         Any advance, contribution, conveyance, deposit, distribution, payment, gift, retainer, fee, salary, honorarium, reimbursement, loan, pledge, or thing of value greater than ten dollars ($10.00) per designated individual per single calendar day.

b.         A contract, agreement, promise, or other obligation, whether or not legally enforceable.

(42)      State agency. - An agency in the executive branch of the government of this State, including the Governor's Office, a board, a department, a division, and any other unit of government in the executive branch.

(43)      State Board. - The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement as established by this Chapter.

(44)      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-4570.

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.

(45)      Vested trust. - A trust, annuity, or other funds held by a trustee or other third party for the benefit of the covered person or a member of the covered person's immediate family, except a blind trust. A vested trust shall not include a widely held investment fund, including a mutual fund, regulated investment company, or pension or deferred compensation plan, if both of the following apply:

a.         The covered person or a member of the covered person's immediate family neither exercises nor has the ability to exercise control over the financial interests held by the fund.

b.         The fund is publicly traded or the fund's assets are widely diversified.

" 163A-201.  Application to the Lieutenant Governor.

For purposes of this Subchapter, the Lieutenant Governor shall be considered a legislator when carrying out the Lieutenant Governor's duties under Section 13 of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution and a public servant for all other purposes.

" 163A-202.  Application to candidates to certain offices.

For purposes of this Subchapter, the term "legislator" and the term "public servant" shall include an individual having filed a notice of candidacy or otherwise qualified to have that individual's name on the ballot for such office under this Chapter.

" 163A-203.  Education programs.

(a)        The State Board shall develop and implement an ethics and lobbying education and awareness program designed to instill in all covered persons and legislative employees a keen and continuing awareness of their ethical obligations and a sensitivity to situations that might result in real or potential conflicts of interest.

(b)        The State Board shall offer basic ethics and lobbying education and awareness presentations to all public servants upon their election, appointment, or employment and shall offer periodic refresher presentations as the State Board deems appropriate. Every public servant shall participate in an ethics and lobbying presentation approved by the State Board within six months of the public servant's election, reelection, appointment, or employment and shall attend refresher ethics education presentations at least every two years thereafter in a manner as the State Board deems appropriate. This subsection shall not apply to judicial officers.

(c)        A public servant appointed to a board determined and designated as nonadvisory under G.S. 163A-208(a)(3) shall attend an ethics and lobbying presentation approved by the State Board within six months of notification of the designation by the State Board and at least every two years thereafter in a manner as the State Board deems appropriate.

(d)        The State Board, jointly with the Committee, shall make basic ethics and lobbying education and awareness presentations to all legislators and legislative employees upon their election, reelection, appointment, or employment and shall offer periodic refresher presentations as the State Board and the Committee deem appropriate. Every legislator shall participate in an ethics and lobbying presentation approved by the State Board and Committee within two months of either the convening of the General Assembly to which the legislator is elected or within two months of the legislator's appointment, whichever is later. Every legislative employee shall participate in an ethics and lobbying presentation approved by the State Board and Committee within three months of employment and shall attend refresher ethics education presentations at least every two years thereafter in a manner as the State Board and Committee deem appropriate.

(e)        The State Board shall develop and implement a lobbying education and awareness program designed to instill in lobbyists and lobbyists' principals a keen and continuing awareness of their obligations and sensitivity to situations that might result in real or potential violation of this Subchapter or other related laws. The State Board shall make lobbying education and awareness programs available to lobbyists and lobbyists' principals.

(f)         Upon request, the State Board shall assist each State agency in developing in-house ethics and lobbying education programs and procedures necessary or desirable to meet the State agency's particular needs for ethics education, conflict identification, and conflict avoidance.

(g)        Each State agency head shall designate an ethics liaison who shall maintain active communication with the State Board on all State agency ethics and lobbying issues. The ethics liaison shall attend ethics and lobbying education and awareness programs as provided under this section. The ethics liaison shall continuously assess and advise the State Board of any issues or conduct which might reasonably be expected to result in a conflict of interest and seek advice and rulings from the State Board as to their appropriate resolution.

(h)        The State Board shall publish a newsletter containing summaries of the State Board's opinions, policies, procedures, and interpretive bulletins with respect to ethics and lobbying as issued from time to time. The newsletter shall be distributed to all covered persons and legislative employees. Publication under this subsection may be done electronically.

(i)         The State Board shall assemble and maintain a collection of relevant State laws, rules, and regulations and set forth ethical standards applicable to covered persons and lobbying laws and regulations. This collection shall be made available electronically as resource material.

" 163A-204.  Requests for advice.

(a)        At the written request of any public servant or legislative employee, any individual who is responsible for the supervision or appointment of a public servant or legislative employee, legal counsel for any public servant or legislative employee, any ethics liaison under this Subchapter, or any member of the State Board, the State Board shall render advice on specific questions involving the meaning and application of this Subchapter and the public servant's or legislative employee's compliance therewith. This subsection shall apply to judicial officers only for advice related to Article 3 of this Chapter.

(b)        At the request of a legislator, the State Board shall render recommended advice on specific questions involving the meaning and application of this Subchapter and Part 1 of Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes and the legislator's compliance therewith. Any recommended formal advisory opinion issued to a legislator under this subsection shall immediately be delivered to the chairs of the Committee, together with a copy of the request. Except for the Lieutenant Governor, the immunity granted under this section shall not apply after the time the Committee modifies or overrules the advisory opinion of the State Board in accordance with G.S. 120-104.

(c)        At the written request of any person, State agency, or governmental unit affected by Article 5 of this Subchapter, the State Board shall render advice on specific questions involving the meaning and application of Article 5 of this Subchapter and that person's, State agency's, or governmental unit's compliance therewith.

(d)        On its own motion, the State Board may render advisory opinions on specific questions involving the meaning and application of this Subchapter.

(e)        All written requests for advice and advice rendered in response to those requests shall relate prospectively to real or reasonably anticipated fact settings or circumstances.

(f)         A request for a formal advisory opinion under subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section shall be in writing, electronic or otherwise. The State Board shall issue formal advisory opinions having prospective application only. Any individual, person, or governmental unit who relies upon the advice provided on a specific matter addressed by the requested formal advisory opinion shall be immune from all of the following:

(1)        Investigation by the State Board, except for an inquiry under G.S. 163A-206(c)(3).

(2)        Any adverse action by the employing entity.

(g)        At the request of the State Auditor, the State Board shall render advisory opinions on specific questions involving the meaning and application of this Subchapter, Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes, and an affected person's compliance therewith. The request shall be in writing, electronic or otherwise, and relate to real fact settings and circumstances. Except when the question involves a question governed by subsection (b) of this section, the State Board shall issue an advisory opinion under this subsection within 60 days of the receipt of all information deemed necessary by the State Board to render an opinion. If the question involves a question governed by subsection (b) of this section, the State Board shall comply with the provisions of that section prior to responding to the State Auditor by delivering the recommended advisory opinion to the Committee within 60 days of the receipt of all information deemed necessary by the State Board to render an opinion. The Committee shall act on the opinion within 30 days of receipt, and the Committee shall deliver the opinion to the State Auditor. If the Committee fails to act on a recommended advisory opinion under this subsection within 30 days of receipt, the State Board shall deliver its recommended advisory opinion to the State Auditor. Notwithstanding subsection (k) of this section, the State Auditor may release only those portions of the advisory opinion necessary to comply with the requirements of G.S. 147-64.6(c)(1).

(h)        Staff to the State Board may issue advice, but not formal or recommended formal advisory opinions, under procedures adopted by the State Board.

(i)         The State Board shall publish its formal advisory opinions within 30 days of issuance. These formal advisory opinions shall be edited for publication purposes as necessary to protect the identities of the individuals requesting formal advisory opinions. When the State Board issues a recommended formal advisory opinion to a legislator under subsection (b) of this section, the State Board shall publish only the edited formal advisory opinion of the Committee within 30 days of receipt of the edited opinion from the Committee.

(j)         Except as provided under subsections (g), (i), and (k) of this section, a request for advice, any advice provided by State Board staff, any formal or recommended formal advisory opinions, any supporting documents submitted or caused to be submitted to the State Board or State Board staff, and any documents prepared or collected by the State Board or State Board staff in connection with a request for advice are confidential. The identity of the individual making the request for advice, the existence of the request, and any information related to the request may not be revealed without the consent of the requestor. An individual who requests advice or receives advice, including a formal or recommended formal advisory opinion, may authorize the release of the request, the advice, or any supporting documents to any other person, the State, or any governmental unit.

For purposes of this section, "document" is as defined in G.S. 120-129. Requests for advice, any advice, and any documents related to requests for advice are not "public records" as defined in G.S. 132-1.

(k)        Staff to the State Board may share with staff to the Committee all information and documents related to requests for advice made by legislators under this section. The information and documents in the possession of staff to the Committee are confidential and are not public records.

(l)         Requests for advice may be withdrawn by the requestor at any time prior to the issuance of the advice.

" 163A-205.  Identify and publish names of covered persons and legislative employees.

The State Board shall identify and publish at least quarterly a listing of the names and positions of all individuals subject to this Chapter as covered persons or legislative employees. The State Board shall also identify and publish at least annually a listing of all boards to which this Chapter applies. This listing may be published electronically on a public Internet Web site maintained by the State Board.

" 163A-206.  Inquiries by the State Board.

(a)        Jurisdiction. - The State Board may receive complaints alleging unethical conduct by covered persons and legislative employees and shall conduct inquiries of complaints alleging unethical conduct by covered persons and legislative employees, as set forth in this section.

(b)        Notice of Allegation. - Upon receipt by the State Board of a written allegation of unethical conduct by a covered person or legislative employee, or the initiation by the State Board of an inquiry into unethical conduct under subsection (c) of this section, the State Board shall immediately notify the covered person or legislative employee subject to the allegation or inquiry in writing.

(c)        Institution of Proceedings. - On its own motion, in response to a signed and sworn complaint of any individual filed with the State Board, or upon the written request of any public servant or those responsible for the hiring, appointing, or supervising of a public servant, the State Board shall conduct an inquiry into any of the following:

(1)        The application or alleged violation of this Chapter.

(2)        For legislators, the application or alleged violation of Part 1 of Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes.

(3)        An alleged violation of the criminal law by a covered person in the performance of that individual's official duties.

(4)        An alleged violation of G.S. 126-14.

Upon receipt of a referral under G.S. 147-64.6B or a report under G.S. 147-64.6(c)(19), the State Board may conduct an inquiry under this section on its own motion. Allegations of violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct shall be referred to the Judicial Standards Commission without investigation.

(d)        Complaints on Its Own Motion. - An investigation initiated by the State Board on its own motion or upon written request of any public servant or those responsible for the hiring, appointing, or supervising of a public servant instituted under subsection (e) of this section shall be treated as a complaint for purposes of this section and need not be sworn or verified.

(e)        Complaint. -

(1)        A sworn complaint filed under this Chapter shall state the name, address, and telephone number of the individual filing the complaint, the name and job title or appointive position of the covered person or legislative employee against whom the complaint is filed, and a concise statement of the nature of the complaint and specific facts indicating that a violation of this Chapter or Chapter 120 of the General Statutes or G.S. 126-14 or the criminal law in the performance of that individual's official duties has occurred, the date the alleged violation occurred, and either (i) that the contents of the complaint are within the knowledge of the individual verifying the complaint or (ii) the basis upon which the individual verifying the complaint believes the allegations to be true.

(2)        Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, a complaint filed under this Chapter shall be filed within two years of the date the complainant knew or should have known of the conduct upon which the complaint is based.

(3)        The State Board may decline to accept, refer, or conduct an inquiry into any complaint that does not meet all of the requirements set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection, or the State Board may, in its sole discretion, request additional information to be provided by the complainant within a specified period of time of no less than five business days.

(4)        In addition to subdivision (3) of this subsection, the State Board may decline to accept, refer, or conduct an inquiry into a complaint if it determines that any of the following apply:

a.         The complaint is frivolous or brought in bad faith.

b.         The covered person or legislative employee and conduct complained of have already been the subject of a prior complaint.

c.         The conduct complained of is primarily a matter more appropriately and adequately addressed and handled by other federal, State, or local agencies or authorities, including law enforcement authorities. If other agencies or authorities are conducting an investigation of the same actions or conduct involved in a complaint filed under this section, the State Board may stay its complaint inquiry pending final resolution of the other investigation.

(5)        The State Board shall send a copy of the complaint to the covered person or legislative employee who is the subject of the complaint and the employing entity within 10 business days of the filing.

(f)         Conduct of Inquiry of Complaints by the State Board. - The State Board shall conduct an inquiry into all complaints properly before the State Board in a timely manner. The State Board shall initiate an inquiry into a complaint within 10 business days of the filing of the complaint. The State Board is authorized to initiate inquiries upon request of any member of the State Board if there is reason to believe that a covered person or legislative employee has or may have violated this Chapter. Complaint inquiries under this section shall be initiated within two years of the date the State Board knew of the conduct upon which the complaint is based, except when the conduct is material to the continuing conduct of the duties in office. In determining whether there is reason to believe that a violation has or may have occurred, a member of the State Board may take general notice of available information even if not formally provided to the State Board in the form of a complaint. The State Board may utilize the services of a hired investigator when conducting inquiries.

(g)        Covered Person and Legislative Employees Cooperation With Inquiry. - Covered persons and legislative employees shall promptly and fully cooperate with the State Board in any State Board-related inquiry. Failure to cooperate fully with the State Board in any inquiry shall be grounds for sanctions as set forth in G.S. 163A-250.

(h)        Dismissal of Complaint After Preliminary Inquiry. - The State Board shall conclude the preliminary inquiry within 20 business days. The State Board shall dismiss the complaint if at the end of its preliminary inquiry the State Board determines that any of the following apply:

(1)        The individual who is the subject of the complaint is not a covered person or legislative employee subject to the State Board's jurisdiction and authority under this Chapter.

(2)        The complaint does not allege facts sufficient to constitute a violation within the jurisdiction of the State Board under subsection (e) of this section.

(3)        The complaint is determined to be frivolous or brought in bad faith.

(i)         State Board Inquiries. - If at the end of its preliminary inquiry, the State Board determines to proceed with further inquiry into the conduct of a covered person or legislative employee, the State Board shall provide written notice to the individual who filed the complaint and the covered person or legislative employee as to the fact of the inquiry and the charges against the covered person or legislative employee. The covered person or legislative employee shall be given an opportunity to file a written response with the State Board.

(j)         Action on Inquiries. - The State Board shall conduct inquiries into complaints to the extent necessary to either dismiss the complaint for lack of probable cause of a violation under this section, or:

(1)        For public servants, decide to proceed with a hearing under subsection (k) of this section.

(2)        For legislators, except the Lieutenant Governor, refer the complaint to the Committee.

(3)        For judicial officers, refer the complaint to the Judicial Standards Commission for complaints against justices and judges, to the senior resident superior court judge of the district or county for complaints against district attorneys, or to the chief district court judge for the district or county for complaints against clerks of court.

(4)        For legislative employees, refer the complaint to the employing entity.

(k)        Hearing. -

(1)        The State Board shall give full and fair consideration to all complaints received against a public servant. If the State Board determines that the complaint cannot be resolved without a hearing, or if the public servant requests a hearing, a hearing shall be held.

(2)        The State Board shall send a notice of the hearing to the complainant and the public servant. The notice shall contain the time and place for a hearing on the matter, which shall begin no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days after the date of the notice.

(3)        The State Board shall make available to the public servant or that public servant's private legal counsel all documents or other evidence which are intended to be presented at the hearing to the State Board or which a reasonable person would believe might exculpate the accused public servant at least 30 days prior to the date of the hearing held in connection with the investigation of a complaint. Any documents or other evidence discovered within less than 30 days of the hearing shall be furnished as soon as possible after discovery but prior to the hearing.

(4)        At any hearing held by the State Board:

a.         Oral evidence shall be taken only on oath or affirmation.

b.         The hearing shall be open to the public, except for matters involving minors, personnel records, or matters that could otherwise be considered in closed session under G.S. 143-318.11. In any event, the deliberations by the State Board on a complaint may be held in closed session.

c.         The public servant being investigated shall have the right to present evidence, call and examine witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, introduce exhibits, and be represented by counsel.

(l)         Settlement of Inquiries. - The public servant who is the subject of the complaint and the staff of the State Board may meet by mutual consent before the hearing to discuss the possibility of settlement of the inquiry or the stipulation of any issues, facts, or matters of law. Any proposed settlement of the inquiry is subject to the approval of the State Board.

(m)       Disposition of Inquiries. - After hearing, the State Board shall dispose of the matter in one or more of the following ways:

(1)        If the State Board finds substantial evidence of an alleged violation of a criminal statute, the State Board shall refer the matter to the Attorney General for investigation and referral to the district attorney for possible prosecution.

(2)        If the State Board finds that the alleged violation is not established by clear and convincing evidence, the State Board shall dismiss the complaint.

(3)        If the State Board finds that the alleged violation of this Chapter is established by clear and convincing evidence, the State Board shall do one or more of the following:

a.         Issue a private admonishment to the public servant and notify the employing entity, if applicable. Such notification shall be treated as part of the personnel record of the public servant.

b.         Refer the matter for appropriate action to the Governor and the employing entity that appointed or employed the public servant or of which the public servant is a member.

c.         Refer the matter for appropriate action to the Chief Justice for judicial employees.

d.         Refer the matter to the Principal Clerks of the House of Representatives and Senate of the General Assembly for constitutional officers of the State.

e.         Refer the matter for appropriate action to the principal clerk of the house of the General Assembly that elected the public servant for members of the Board of Governors and the State Board of Community Colleges.

(n)        Notice of Dismissal. - Upon the dismissal of a complaint under this section, the State Board shall provide written notice of the dismissal to the individual who filed the complaint and the covered person or legislative employee against whom the complaint was filed. The State Board shall forward copies of complaints and notices of dismissal of complaints against legislators to the Committee, against legislative employees to the employing entity for legislative employees, and against judicial officers to the Judicial Standards Commission for complaints against justices and judges, and the senior resident superior court judge of the district or county for complaints against district attorneys, or the chief district court judge of the district or county for complaints against clerks of court. The State Board shall also forward a copy of the notice of dismissal to the employing entity of the covered person against whom a complaint was filed if the employing entity received a copy of the complaint under subdivision (5) of subsection (e) of this section. Except as provided in subsection (p) of this section, the complaint and notice of dismissal are confidential and not public records.

(o)        Reports and Records. - The State Board shall render the results of its inquiry in writing. When a matter is referred under subdivisions (j)(2) and (3), or subsection (m) of this section, the State Board's report shall consist of the complaint, response, and detailed results of its inquiry in support of the State Board's finding of a violation under this Chapter.

(p)        Confidentiality. - Complaints and responses filed with the State Board and reports and other investigative documents and records of the State Board connected to an inquiry under this section, including information provided pursuant to G.S. 147-64.6B or G.S. 147-64.6(c)(19), shall be confidential and not public records, except as otherwise provided in this section or when the covered person or legislative employee under inquiry requests in writing that the complaint, response, and findings be made public. Once a hearing under this section commences, the complaint, response, and all other documents offered at the hearing in conjunction with the complaint, not otherwise privileged or confidential under law, shall be public records. If no hearing is held, at such time as the State Board reports to the employing entity a recommendation of sanctions, the complaint and response shall be made public.

(q)        Recommendations of Sanctions. - After referring a matter under subsection (m) of this section, if requested by the entity to which the matter was referred, the State Board may recommend sanctions or issue rulings as it deems necessary or appropriate to protect the public interest and ensure compliance with this Chapter. In recommending appropriate sanctions, the State Board may consider the following factors:

(1)        The public servant's prior experience in an agency or on a board and prior opportunities to learn the ethical standards for a public servant as set forth in Article 4 of this Chapter, including those dealing with conflicts of interest.

(2)        The number of ethics violations.

(3)        The severity of the ethics violations.

(4)        Whether the ethics violations involve the public servant's financial interest.

(5)        Whether the ethics violations were inadvertent or intentional.

(6)        Whether the public servant knew or should have known that the improper conduct was a violation of this Subchapter.

(7)        Whether the public servant has previously been advised or warned by the State Board.

(8)        Whether the conduct or situation giving rise to the ethics violation was pointed out to the public servant in the State Board's Statement of Economic Interest evaluation letter issued under G.S. 163A-304(e).

(9)        The public servant's motivation or reason for the improper conduct or action, including whether the action was for personal financial benefit versus protection of the public interest.

In making recommendations under this subsection, if the State Board determines after proper review and investigation that sanctions are appropriate, the State Board may recommend any action it deems necessary to properly address and rectify any violation of this Chapter by a public servant, including removal of the public servant from the public servant's State position. Nothing in this subsection is intended, and shall not be construed, to give the State Board any independent civil, criminal, or administrative investigative or enforcement authority over covered persons, or other State employees or appointees.

(r)        Authority of Employing Entity. - Any action or failure to act by the State Board under this Chapter, except G.S. 163A-204, shall not limit any authority of any of the applicable employing entities to discipline the covered person or legislative employee.

(s)        Continuing Jurisdiction. - The State Board shall have continuing jurisdiction to investigate possible criminal violations of this Chapter for a period of one year following the date an individual, who was formerly a public servant or legislative employee, ceases to be a public servant or legislative employee for any investigation that commenced prior to the date the public servant or legislative employee ceases to be a public servant or legislative employee.

(t)         Subpoena Authority. - The State Board may petition the Superior Court of Wake County for the approval to issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum as necessary to conduct investigations of alleged violations of this Chapter. The court shall authorize subpoenas under this subsection when the court determines the subpoenas are necessary for the enforcement of this Chapter. Subpoenas issued under this subsection shall be enforceable by the court through contempt powers. Venue shall be with the Superior Court of Wake County for any person or governmental unit covered by this Chapter, and personal jurisdiction may be asserted under G.S. 1-75.4.

(u)        Reports. - The number of complaints referred under this section shall be reported under G.S. 163A-208(a)(12).

(v)        Concurrent Jurisdiction. - Nothing in this section shall limit the jurisdiction of the Committee or the Judicial Standards Commission with regards to legislative or judicial misconduct, and jurisdiction under this section shall be concurrent with the jurisdiction of the Committee and the Judicial Standards Commission.

" 163A-207.  Duties of heads of State agencies.

(a)        The head of each State agency, including the chair of each board subject to this Chapter, shall take an active role in furthering ethics in public service and ensuring compliance with this Chapter. The head of each State agency and the chair of each board shall make a conscientious, good-faith effort to assist public servants within the agency or on the board in monitoring their personal, financial, and professional affairs to avoid taking any action that results in a conflict of interest.

(b)        The head of each State agency, including the chair of each board subject to this Chapter, shall maintain familiarity with and stay knowledgeable of the reports, opinions, newsletters, and other communications from the State Board regarding ethics in general and the interpretation and enforcement of this Chapter. The head of each State agency and the chair of each board shall also maintain familiarity with and stay knowledgeable of the State Board's reports, evaluations, opinions, or findings regarding individual public servants in that individual's agency or on that individual's board, or under that individual's supervision or control, including all reports, evaluations, opinions, or findings pertaining to actual or potential conflicts of interest.

(c)        When an actual or potential conflict of interest is cited by the State Board under G.S. 163A-304(e) with regard to a public servant sitting on a board, the conflict shall be recorded in the minutes of the applicable board and duly brought to the attention of the membership by the board's chair as often as necessary to remind all members of the conflict and to help ensure compliance with this Chapter.

(d)        The head of each State agency, including the chair of each board subject to this Chapter, shall periodically remind public servants under that individual's authority of the public servant's duties to the public under the ethical standards and rules of conduct in this Chapter, including the duty of each public servant to continually monitor, evaluate, and manage the public servant's personal, financial, and professional affairs to ensure the absence of conflicts of interest.

(e)        At the beginning of any meeting of a board, the chair shall remind all members of their duty to avoid conflicts of interest under this Chapter. The chair also shall inquire as to whether there is any known conflict of interest with respect to any matters coming before the board at that time.

(f)         The head of each State agency, including the chair of each board subject to this Chapter, shall ensure that legal counsel employed by or assigned to their agency or board are familiar with the provisions of this Chapter, including the Ethical Standards for Covered Persons set forth in Article 4 of this Chapter, and are available to advise public servants on the ethical considerations involved in carrying out their public duties in the best interest of the public. Legal counsel so engaged may consult with the State Board, seek the State Board's assistance or advice, and refer public servants and others to the State Board as appropriate.

(g)        Taking into consideration the individual autonomy, needs, and circumstances of each agency and board, the head of each State agency, including the chair of each board subject to this Chapter, shall consider the need for the development and implementation of in-house educational programs, procedures, or policies tailored to meet the agency's or board's particular needs for ethics education, conflict identification, and conflict avoidance. This includes the periodic presentation to all agency heads, their chief deputies or assistants, other public servants under their supervision or control, and members of boards of the basic ethics education and awareness presentation outlined in G.S. 163A-203 and any other workshop or seminar program the agency head or board chair deems necessary in implementing this Chapter. Agency heads and board chairs may request reasonable assistance from the State Board in complying with the requirements of this subsection.

(h)        As soon as reasonably practicable after the designation, hiring, or promotion of their chief deputies, assistants, or other public servants under their supervision or control, or learning of the appointment or election of other public servants to a board covered under this Chapter, all agency heads and board chairs shall (i) notify the State Board of such designation, hiring, promotion, appointment, or election and (ii) provide these public servants with copies of this Chapter and all applicable financial disclosure forms, if these materials and forms have not been previously provided to these public servants in connection with their designation, hiring, promotion, appointment, or election. In order to avoid duplication of effort, agency heads and board chairs shall coordinate this effort with the State Board's staff.

" 163A-208.  Powers and duties.

(a)        In addition to other powers and duties specified in this Chapter, the State Board shall:

(1)        Provide reasonable assistance to covered persons in complying with this Chapter.

(2)        Develop readily understandable forms, policies, and procedures to accomplish the purposes of this Chapter.

(3)        Identify and publish the following:

a.         A list of nonadvisory boards.

b.         The names of individuals subject to this Chapter as covered persons and legislative employees under G.S. 163A-205.

(4)        Receive and review all statements of economic interests filed with the State Board by prospective and actual covered persons and evaluate whether (i) the statements conform to the law and the rules of the State Board and (ii) the financial interests and other information reported reveals actual or potential conflicts of interest. Pursuant to G.S. 163A-304(e), this subdivision does not apply to statements of economic interest of legislators and judicial officers.

(5)        Perform systematic reviews of reports required to be filed under Article 5 of this Chapter on a regular basis to assure complete and timely disclosure of reportable expenditures.

(6)        Conduct inquiries of alleged violations against judicial officers, legislators, and legislative employees in accordance with G.S. 163A-206.

(7)        Conduct inquiries into alleged violations against public servants in accordance with G.S. 163A-206.

(8)        Render advisory opinions in accordance with G.S. 163A-204.

(9)        Initiate and maintain oversight of ethics educational programs for public servants and their staffs, and legislators and legislative employees, consistent with G.S. 163A-203.

(10)      Conduct a continuing study of governmental ethics in the State and propose changes to the General Assembly in the government process and the law as are conducive to promoting and continuing high ethical behavior by governmental officers and employees.

(11)      Report annually to the General Assembly and the Governor on the State Board's activities and generally on the subject of public disclosure, ethics, and conflicts of interest, including recommendations for administrative and legislative action, as the State Board deems appropriate.

(12)      Publish annually statistics on complaints filed with or considered by the State Board, including the number of complaints filed, the number of complaints referred under G.S. 163A-206(c), the number of complaints dismissed under G.S. 163A-206(c)(4), the number of complaints dismissed under G.S. 163A-206(f), the number of complaints referred for criminal prosecution under G.S. 163A-206(m), the number of complaints dismissed under G.S. 163A-206(j), the number of complaints referred for appropriate action under G.S. 163A-206(j) or G.S. 163A-206(m)(3), and the number and age of complaints pending action by the State Board.

(13)      Perform other duties as may be necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Chapter.

(b)        The State Board may authorize the Executive Director and other staff of the State Board to evaluate statements of economic interest on behalf of the State Board as authorized under subdivision (a)(4) of this section.

(c)        Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, the State Board shall be the sole State agency with authority to determine compliance with or violations of this Subchapter and to issue interpretations and advisory opinions under this Subchapter. Decisions and advisory opinions by the State Board under this Chapter shall be binding on all other State agencies.

" 163A-209 through 163A-249:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-250.  Enforcement.

In addition to any other remedy, penalty, or crime provided for in this Subchapter:

(1)        Violation of Articles 3 and 4 of this Chapter by any covered person or legislative employee is grounds for disciplinary action. Except as specifically provided in this Chapter and for perjury under G.S. 163A-206, no criminal penalty shall attach for any violation of Articles 3 and 4 of this Chapter.

(2)        The willful failure of any public servant serving on a board to comply with Articles 3 and 4 of this Chapter is misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance. In the event of misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance, the offending public servant serving on a board is subject to removal from the board of which the public servant is a member. For appointees of the Governor and members of the Council of State, the appointing authority may remove the offending public servant. For appointees of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Representatives may remove the offending public servant. For appointees of the General Assembly made upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Governor at the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives may remove the offending public servant. For appointees of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate may remove the offending public servant. For appointees of the General Assembly made upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Governor at the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate may remove the offending public servant. For public servants elected to a board by either the Senate or the House of Representatives, the electing house of the General Assembly shall exercise the discretion of whether to remove the offending public servant. For all other appointees, the State Board shall exercise the discretion of whether to remove the offending public servant.

(3)        The willful failure of any public servant serving as a State employee to comply with Articles 3 and 4 of this Chapter is a violation of a written work order, thereby permitting disciplinary action as allowed by the law, including termination from employment. For employees of State departments headed by a member of the Council of State, the appropriate member of the Council of State shall make all final decisions on the manner in which the offending public servant shall be disciplined. For public servants who are judicial employees, the Chief Justice shall make all final decisions on the matter in which the offending judicial employee shall be disciplined. For legislative employees, the Legislative Services Commission shall make or refer to the hiring authority all final decisions on the matter in which the offending legislative employee shall be disciplined. For public servants appointed or elected for The University of North Carolina or the North Carolina Community College System, the appointing or electing authority shall make all final decisions on the matter in which the offending public servant shall be disciplined. For any other public servant serving as a State employee, the Governor shall make all final decisions on the manner in which the offending public servant shall be disciplined.

(4)        The willful failure of any constitutional officer of the State to comply with Articles 3 and 4 of this Chapter is malfeasance in office for purposes of G.S. 123-5.

(5)        The willful failure of a legislator, other than the Lieutenant Governor, to comply with Articles 3 and 4 of this Chapter is grounds for sanctions under G.S. 120-103.1.

(6)        The State Board may seek to enjoin violations of G.S. 163A-404.

(7)        Whoever willfully violates any provision of Part 1 or 2 of Article 5 of this Chapter shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, except as provided in that Article. In addition, no lobbyist who is convicted of a violation of the provisions of Part 1 or 2 of Article 5 of this Chapter shall in any way act as a lobbyist for a period of two years from the date of conviction.

(8)        In addition to the criminal penalties set forth in this section, the State Board may levy civil fines for a violation of any provision of Part 1, 3, or 6 of Article 5 of this Chapter up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) per violation.

(9)        Complaints of violations of Article 3 or 4 of this Subchapter involving the State Board or any member or employee of the State Board shall be referred to the Attorney General for investigation. The Attorney General shall, upon receipt of a complaint, make an appropriate investigation thereof, and the Attorney General shall forward a copy of the investigation to the district attorney of the prosecutorial district as defined in G.S. 7A-60 of which Wake County is a part, who shall prosecute any person or governmental unit who violates any criminal provision of this Subchapter.

(10)      Nothing in this Subchapter affects the power of the State to prosecute any person for any violation of the criminal law.

"Article 3.

"Public Disclosure of Economic Interests.

" 163A-301.  Purpose.

The purpose of disclosure of the financial and personal interests by covered persons is to assist covered persons and those who appoint, elect, hire, supervise, or advise them to identify and avoid conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest between the covered person's private interests and the covered person's public duties. It is critical to this process that current and prospective covered persons examine, evaluate, and disclose those personal and financial interests that could be or cause a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest between the covered person's private interests and the covered person's public duties. Covered persons shall take an active, thorough, and conscientious role in the disclosure and review process, including having a complete knowledge of how the covered person's public position or duties might impact the covered person's private interests. Covered persons have an affirmative duty to provide any and all information that a reasonable person would conclude is necessary to carry out the purposes of this Subchapter and to fully disclose any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest between the covered person's public and private interests, but the disclosure, review, and evaluation process is not intended to result in the disclosure of unnecessary or irrelevant personal information.

" 163A-302.  Statement of economic interest; filing required.

(a)        Every covered person subject to this Subchapter who is elected, appointed, or employed, including one appointed to fill a vacancy in elective office, except for public servants (i) included under G.S. 163A-200(40)b., e., f., or g. whose annual compensation from the State is less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) or (ii) who are ex officio student members under Chapters 115D and 116 of the General Statutes, shall file a statement of economic interest with the State Board prior to the covered person's initial appointment, election, or employment and no later than April 15 of every year thereafter, except as otherwise filed under subsections (d) and (f) of this section. A prospective covered person required to file a statement under this Subchapter shall not be appointed, employed, or receive a certificate of election, prior to submission by the State Board of the State Board's evaluation of the statement in accordance with this Article. The requirement for an annual filing under this subsection also shall apply to covered persons whose terms have expired but who continue to serve until the covered person's replacement is appointed. Once a statement of economic interest is properly completed and filed under this Article, the statement of economic interest does not need to be supplemented or refiled prior to the next due date set forth in this subsection.

(b)        Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, individuals hired by, and appointees of, constitutional officers of the State may file a statement of economic interest within 30 days after their appointments or employment when the appointment or employment is made during the first 60 days of the constitutional officer's initial term in that constitutional office.

(c)        Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, public servants, under G.S. 163A-200(40)j. and k., who have submitted a statement of economic interest under subsection (a) of this section, may be hired, appointed, or elected provisionally prior to submission by the State Board of the State Board's evaluation of the statement in accordance with this Article, subject to dismissal or removal based on the State Board's evaluation.

(d)        A public servant reappointed to a board between January 1 and April 15 shall file a current statement of economic interest prior to the reappointment.

(e)        A public servant appointed to a board determined and designated as nonadvisory under G.S. 163A-208(a)(3) shall file the initial statement of economic interest within 60 days of notification of the designation by the State Board and as provided in this section thereafter.

(f)         A candidate for an office subject to this Article shall file the statement of economic interest at the same place and in the same manner as the notice of candidacy for that office is required to be filed under G.S. 163-106 or G.S. 163-323 within 10 days of the filing deadline for the office the candidate seeks. An individual who is nominated under G.S. 163-114 after the primary and before the general election, and an individual who qualifies under G.S. 163-122 as an unaffiliated candidate in a general election, shall file a statement of economic interest with the county board of elections of each county in the senatorial or representative district. An individual nominated under G.S. 163-114 shall file the statement within three days following the individual's nomination or not later than the day preceding the general election, whichever occurs first. An individual seeking to qualify as an unaffiliated candidate under G.S. 163-122 shall file the statement of economic interest with the petition filed under that section. An individual seeking to have write-in votes counted for that individual in a general election shall file a statement of economic interest at the same time the candidate files a declaration of intent under G.S. 163-123. A candidate of a new party chosen by convention shall file a statement of economic interest at the same time that the president of the convention certifies the names of its candidates to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement under G.S. 163-98.

(g)        In addition to subsections (a) and (f) of this section, a covered person holding elected office or a former covered person who held elected office subject to this Article shall file a statement of economic interest in all of the following instances, as specified:

(1)        Filed on or before April 15 of the year following the year a covered person or former covered person does not file a notice of candidacy or petition for election, or does not receive a certificate of election, to the position making that individual a covered person, with all information provided in the statement of economic interest current as of the last day of December of the preceding year.

(2)        Filed on or before April 15 of the year following the year the covered person or former covered person resigns from the position making that individual a covered person, with all information provided in the statement of economic interest current as of the last day in the position.

(h)        The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall provide for notification of the statement of economic interest requirements of this Article to be given to any candidate filing for nomination or election to those offices subject to this Article at the time of the filing of candidacy.

(i)         Within 10 days of the filing deadline for office of a covered person, the executive director of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall send to the State Board a list of the names and addresses of each candidate who has filed as a candidate for office as a covered person. A county board of elections shall forward any statements of economic interest filed with the board under this section to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The executive director of the State Board shall forward a certified copy of the statements of economic interest to the State Board for evaluation upon its filing with the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement under this section.

(j)         The State Board shall issue forms to be used for the statement of economic interest and shall revise the forms from time to time as necessary to carry out the purposes of this Chapter. Except as otherwise set forth in this section and in G.S. 163A-207(h), upon notification by the employing entity, the State Board shall furnish to all other covered persons the appropriate forms needed to comply with this Article.

" 163A-303.  Statements of economic interest as public records.

(a)        The statements of economic interest filed by prospective public servants under this Article for appointed or employed positions and written evaluations by the State Board of these statements are not public records until the prospective public servant is appointed or employed by the State. All other statements of economic interest and all other written evaluations by the State Board of those statements are public records.

(b)        The statements of economic interest filed by prospective public servants and the written evaluations by the State Board of those statements for individuals elected by the General Assembly shall be provided to the chair of the standing committee handling the legislation regarding the election and made available to all members of the General Assembly. The statements of economic interest filed by public servants elected to positions by the General Assembly and written evaluations by the State Board of those statements are not public records until the prospective public servant is sworn into office.

(c)        The statements of economic interest filed by prospective public servants and the written evaluations by the State Board of those statements for individuals confirmed for appointment as a public servant by the General Assembly shall be provided to the chair of the standing committee handling the legislation regarding the appointment. The statements of economic interest filed by prospective public servants for confirmation for appointment by the General Assembly and written evaluations by the State Board of those statements are public records at the time of the announcement of the appointment.

" 163A-304.  Contents of statement.

(a)        Any statement of economic interest filed under this Article shall be on a form prescribed by the State Board. Answers shall be provided to all questions. The form shall include the following information about the filing person and the filing person's immediate family:

(1)        Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, the name, current mailing address, occupation, employer, and business of the filing person. Any individual holding or seeking elected office for which residence is a qualification for office shall include a home address. A judicial officer may use a current mailing address instead of the home address on the form required in this subsection. The filing person may also use the initials instead of the name of any unemancipated child of the filing person who also resides in the household of the filing person. If the filing person provides the initials of an unemancipated child, the filing person shall concurrently provide the name of the unemancipated child to the State Board. The name of an unemancipated child provided by the filing person to the State Board shall not be a public record under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes and is privileged and confidential.

(2)        A list of each asset and liability included in this subdivision of whatever nature (including legal, equitable, or beneficial interest) with a value of at least ten thousand dollars ($10,000) owned by the filing person and the filing person's immediate family, except assets or liabilities held in a blind trust. This list shall include the following:

a.         All real estate located in the State owned wholly or in part by the filing person or the filing person's immediate family, including descriptions adequate to determine the location by city and county of each parcel.

b.         Real estate that is currently leased or rented to or from the State.

c.         Personal property sold to or bought from the State within the preceding two years.

d.         Personal property currently leased or rented to or from the State.

e.         The name of each publicly owned company. For purposes of this sub-subdivision, the term "publicly owned company" shall not include a widely held investment fund, including a mutual fund, regulated investment company, or pension or deferred compensation plan, if all of the following apply:

1.         The filing person or a member of the filing person's immediate family neither exercises nor has the ability to exercise control over the financial interests held by the fund.

2.         The fund is publicly traded, or the fund's assets are widely diversified.

f.          The name of each nonpublicly owned company or business entity, including interests in sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited partnerships, joint ventures, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, and closely held corporations.

g.         For each company or business entity listed under sub-subdivision f. of this subdivision, if known, a list of any other companies or business entities in which the company or business entity owns securities or equity interests exceeding a value of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

h.         For a vested trust created, established, or controlled by the filing person of which the filing person or the members of the filing person's immediate family are the beneficiaries, excluding a blind trust, the name and address of the trustee, a description of the trust, and the filing person's relationship to the trust.

i.          A list of all liabilities, excluding indebtedness on the filing person's primary personal residence, by type of creditor and debtor.

j.          A list of all stock options in a company or business not otherwise disclosed on this statement.

(3)        The name of each source (not specific amounts) of income of more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) received during the previous year by business or industry type, if that source is not listed under subdivision (2) of this subsection. Income shall include salary, wages, professional fees, honoraria, interest, dividends, rental income, and business income from any source other than capital gains, federal government retirement, military retirement, or social security income.

(4)        If the filing person is a practicing attorney, an indication of whether the filing person, or the law firm with which the filing person is affiliated, earned legal fees during the past year in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) from any of the following categories of legal representation:

a.         Administrative law.

b.         Admiralty law.

c.         Corporate law.

d.         Criminal law.

e.         Decedents' estates law.

f.          Environmental law.

g.         Insurance law.

h.         Labor law.

i.          Local government law.

j.          Negligence or other tort litigation law.

k.         Real property law.

l.          Securities law.

m.        Taxation law.

n.         Utilities regulation law.

(5)        Except for a filing person in compliance under subdivision (4) of this subsection, if the filing person is a licensed professional or provides consulting services, either individually or as a member of a professional association, a list of categories of business and the nature of services rendered, for which payment for services were charged or paid during the past year in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(6)        An indication of whether the filing person, the filing person's employer, a member of the filing person's immediate family, or the immediate family member's employer is licensed or regulated by, or has a business relationship with, the board or employing entity with which the filing person is or will be associated. This subdivision does not apply to a legislator, a judicial officer, or that legislator's or judicial officer's immediate family.

(7)        A list of societies, organizations, or advocacy groups, pertaining to subject matter areas over which the public servant's agency or board may have jurisdiction, in which the public servant or a member of the public servant's immediate family is a director, officer, or governing board member. This subdivision does not apply to a legislator, a judicial officer, or that legislator's or judicial officer's immediate family.

(8)        A list of all things with a total value of over two hundred dollars ($200.00) per calendar quarter given and received without valuable consideration and under circumstances that a reasonable person would conclude that the thing was given for lobbying, if such things were given by a person not required to report under Article 5 of this Chapter, excluding things given by a member of the filing person's extended family. The list shall include only those things received during the 12 months preceding the reporting period under subsection (d) of this section and shall include the source of those things. The list required by this subdivision shall not apply to things of monetary value received by the filing person prior to the time the filing person filed or was nominated as a candidate for office, as described in G.S. 163A-302, or was appointed or employed as a covered person.

(9)        A list of any felony convictions of the filing person, excluding any felony convictions for which a pardon of innocence or order of expungement has been granted.

(10)      Any other information that the filing person believes may assist the State Board in advising the filing person with regards to compliance with this Chapter.

(11)      A list of any nonprofit corporation or organization with which associated during the preceding calendar year, including a list of which of those nonprofit corporations or organizations with which associated do business with the State or receive State funds and a brief description of the nature of the business, if known or with which due diligence could reasonably be known.

(12)      A statement of whether the filing person or the filing person's immediate family is or has been a lobbyist or lobbyist principal registered under Article 5 of this Chapter within the preceding 12 months.

(13)      A list of all contributions as defined in G.S. 163A-4502(6) with a cumulative total of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) made by the filing person only, during the preceding calendar year, to the candidate or candidate campaign committee of the covered person as defined in G.S. 163A-200(40)a. appointing the filing person to the covered board.

(14)      A statement indicating "Yes" or "No" as to whether the filing person engaged in each of the following activities during the preceding calendar year, with respect to or on the behalf of the candidate or candidate campaign committee of the covered person as defined in G.S. 163A-200(40)a. appointing the filing person: (i) collected contributions from multiple contributors, took possession of such multiple contributions, and transferred or delivered those collected multiple contributions, (ii) hosted a fund-raiser in the filing person's residence or place of business, or (iii) volunteered for campaign-related activity. This subdivision only applies to filing persons in the following categories:

a.         A public servant, or a prospective appointee to, as defined in G.S. 163A-200(40)c.

b.         A judicial officer that serves on, or a prospective appointee to, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the superior court, or the district court.

c.         A covered person serving on, or a prospective appointee to, one of the following boards:

1.         Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

2.         Coastal Resources Commission.

3.         State Board of Education.

4.         State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

5.         Employment Security Commission.

6.         Environmental Management Commission.

7.         Industrial Commission.

8.         State Personnel Commission.

9.         Rules Review Commission.

10.       Board of Transportation.

11.       Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina.

12.       Utilities Commission.

13.       Wildlife Resources Commission.

(15)      The name of each business with which associated that the filing person or a member of the filing person's immediate family is an employee, director, officer, partner, proprietor, or member or manager.

(16)      For any company or business entity listed under subdivision (15) of this subsection and sub-subdivisions f. and g. of subdivision (2) of this subsection, if known, a statement whether that company or business entity has any material business dealings or business contracts with the State, or is regulated by the State, including a brief description of the business activity.

(b)        The Supreme Court, the Committee, constitutional officers of the State, heads of principal departments, the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina, the State Board of Community Colleges, other boards, and the appointing authority or employing entity may require a filing person to file supplemental information in conjunction with the filing of that filing person's statement of economic interest. These supplemental filings requirements shall be filed with the State Board and included on the forms to be filed with the State Board. The State Board shall evaluate the supplemental forms as part of the statement of economic interest. The failure to file supplemental forms shall be subject to the provisions of G.S. 163A-305.

(c)        Each statement of economic interest shall contain a certification by the filing person that the filing person has read the statement and that, to the best of the filing person's knowledge and belief, the statement is true, correct, and complete. The filing person's certification also shall provide that the filing person has not transferred, and will not transfer, any asset, interest, or other property with the intent to conceal it from disclosure while retaining an equitable interest therein.

(d)        All information provided in the statement of economic interest shall be current as of the last day of December of the year preceding the date the statement of economic interest was due.

(e)        The State Board shall prepare a written evaluation of each statement of economic interest relative to conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest. This subsection does not apply to statements of economic interest of legislators and judicial officers. The State Board shall submit the evaluation to all of the following:

(1)        The filing person who submitted the statement.

(2)        The head of the agency in which the filing person serves.

(3)        The Governor for gubernatorial appointees and employees in agencies under the Governor's authority.

(4)        The appointing or hiring authority for those public servants not under the Governor's authority.

(5)        The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement for those filing persons who are elected.

(f)         The State Board shall prepare a written evaluation of each statement of economic interest for nominees of the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina elected pursuant to G.S. 116-6 and nominees of the State Board of Community Colleges elected pursuant to G.S. 115D-2.1 within seven days of the submission of the completed statement of economic interest to the State Board.

" 163A-305.  Failure to file.

(a)        Within 30 days after the date due under G.S. 163A-302, the State Board shall notify filing persons who have failed to file or filing persons whose statement has been deemed incomplete. For a filing person currently serving as a covered person, the State Board shall notify the filing person and the ethics liaison that if the statement of economic interest is not filed or completed within 30 days of receipt of the notice of failure to file or complete, the filing person shall be subject to a fine as provided for in this section.

(b)        Any filing person who fails to file or complete a statement of economic interest within 30 days of the receipt of the notice, required under subsection (a) of this section, shall be subject to a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00), to be imposed by the State Board.

(c)        Failure by any filing person to file or complete a statement of economic interest within 60 days of the receipt of the notice, required under subsection (a) of this section, shall be deemed to be a violation of this Chapter and shall be grounds for disciplinary action under G.S. 163A-250.

" 163A-306.  Concealing or failing to disclose material information.

A filing person who knowingly conceals or knowingly fails to disclose information that is required to be disclosed on a statement of economic interest under this Article shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and shall be subject to disciplinary action under G.S. 163A-250.

" 163A-307.  Penalty for false information.

A filing person who provides false information on a statement of economic interest as required under this Article knowing that the information is false is guilty of a Class H felony and shall be subject to disciplinary action under G.S. 163A-250.

"Article 4.

"Ethical Standards for Covered Persons.

" 163A-401.  Use of public position for private gain.

(a)        Except as permitted under G.S. 163A-408, 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.

(c)        Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-4548, 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.

" 163A-402.  Gifts.

(a)        A covered person or a legislative employee shall not knowingly, directly or indirectly, ask, accept, demand, exact, solicit, seek, assign, receive, or agree to receive anything of value for the covered person or legislative employee, or for another person, in return for being influenced in the discharge of the covered person's or legislative employee's official responsibilities, other than that which is received by the covered person or the legislative employee from the State for acting in the covered person's or legislative employee's official capacity.

(b)        A covered person may not solicit for a charitable purpose any thing of monetary value from any subordinate State employee. This subsection shall not apply to generic written solicitations to all members of a class of subordinates. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a covered person from serving as the honorary head of the State Employees Combined Campaign.

(c)        No public servant, legislator, or legislative employee shall knowingly accept a gift from a lobbyist or lobbyist principal registered under Article 5 of this Chapter. No legislator or legislative employee shall knowingly accept a gift from liaison personnel designated under Part 4 of Article 5 of this Chapter. No public servant, legislator, or legislative employee shall accept a gift knowing all of the following:

(1)        The gift was obtained indirectly from a lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or liaison personnel registered under Article 5 of this Chapter.

(2)        The lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or liaison personnel registered under Article 5 of this Chapter intended for an ultimate recipient of the gift to be a public servant, legislator, or legislative employee as provided in G.S. 163A-542.

(d)        No public servant shall knowingly accept a gift from a person whom the public servant knows or has reason to know any of the following:

(1)        Is doing or is seeking to do business of any kind with the public servant's employing entity.

(2)        Is engaged in activities that are regulated or controlled by the public servant's employing entity.

(3)        Has financial interests that may be substantially and materially affected, in a manner distinguishable from the public generally, by the performance or nonperformance of the public servant's official duties.

(e)        No public servant shall accept a gift knowing all of the following:

(1)        The gift was obtained indirectly from a person described under subdivision (d)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.

(2)        The person described under subdivision (d)(1), (2), or (3) of this section intended for an ultimate recipient of the gift to be a public servant.

(f)         Subsections (c), (d), and (e) of this section shall not apply to any of the following:

(1)        Food and beverages for immediate consumption in connection with any of the following:

a.         An open meeting of a public body, provided that the open meeting is properly noticed under Article 33C of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes.

b.         A gathering of a person or governmental unit with at least 10 or more individuals in attendance open to the general public, provided that a sign or other communication containing a message that is reasonably designed to convey to the general public that the gathering is open to the general public is displayed at the gathering.

c.         A gathering of a person or governmental unit to which the entire board of which a public servant is a member, at least 10 public servants, all the members of the House of Representatives, all the members of the Senate, all the members of a county or municipal legislative delegation, all the members of a recognized legislative caucus with regular meetings other than meetings with one or more lobbyists, all the members of a committee, a standing subcommittee, a joint committee or joint commission of the House of Representatives, the Senate, or the General Assembly, or all legislative employees are invited, and one of the following applies:

1.         At least 10 individuals associated with the person or governmental unit actually attend, other than the covered person or legislative employee, or the immediate family of the covered person or legislative employee.

2.         All shareholders, employees, board members, officers, members, or subscribers of the person or governmental unit located in North Carolina are notified and invited to attend.

For purposes of this sub-subdivision only, the term "invited" shall mean written notice from at least one host or sponsor of the gathering containing the date, time, and location of the gathering given at least 24 hours in advance of the gathering to the specific qualifying group listed in this sub-subdivision. If it is known at the time of the written notice that at least one sponsor is a lobbyist or lobbyist principal, the written notice shall also state whether or not the gathering is permitted under this section.

(2)        Informational materials relevant to the duties of the covered person or legislative employee.

(3)        Reasonable actual expenditures of the legislator, public servant, or legislative employee for food, beverages, registration, travel, lodging, other incidental items of nominal value, and entertainment, in connection with (i) a legislator's, public servant's, or legislative employee's attendance at an educational meeting for purposes primarily related to the public duties and responsibilities of the legislator, public servant, or legislative employee; (ii) a legislator's, public servant's, or legislative employee's participation as a speaker or member of a panel at a meeting; (iii) a legislator's or legislative employee's attendance and participation in meetings of a nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international legislative organization of which the General Assembly is a member or that the legislator or legislative employee is a member or participant of by virtue of that legislator's or legislative employee's public position, or as a member of a board, agency, or committee of such organization; or (iv) a public servant's attendance and participation in meetings as a member of a board, agency, or committee of a nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international organization of which the public servant's agency is a member or the public servant is a member by virtue of that public servant's public position, provided the following conditions are met:

a.         The reasonable actual expenditures shall be made by a lobbyist principal and not a lobbyist.

b.         Any meeting must be attended by at least 10 or more participants, have a formal agenda, and notice of the meeting has been given at least 10 days in advance.

c.         Any food, beverages, transportation, or entertainment must be provided to all attendees or defined groups of 10 or more attendees as part of the meeting or in conjunction with the meeting.

d.         Any entertainment must be incidental to the principal agenda of the meeting.

e.         If the legislator, public servant, or legislative employee is participating as a speaker or member of a panel, then that legislator, public servant, or legislative employee must be a bona fide speaker or participant.

(4)        A plaque or similar nonmonetary memento recognizing individual services in a field or specialty or to a charitable cause.

(5)        Gifts accepted on behalf of the State for use by the State or for the benefit of the State.

(6)        Anything generally made available or distributed to the general public or all other State employees by lobbyists or lobbyist principals, or persons described in subdivision (d)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.

(7)        Gifts from the covered person's or legislative employee's extended family, or a member of the same household of the covered person or legislative employee.

(8)        Gifts given to a public servant not otherwise subject to an exception under this subsection, where the gift is food and beverages, transportation, lodging, entertainment or related expenses associated with the public business of industry recruitment, promotion of international trade, or the promotion of travel and tourism, and the public servant is responsible for conducting the business on behalf of the State, provided all the following conditions apply:

a.         The public servant did not solicit the gift, and the public servant did not accept the gift in exchange for the performance of the public servant's official duties.

b.         The public servant reports electronically to the State Board within 30 days of receipt of the gift or of the date set for disclosure of public records under G.S. 132-6(d), if applicable. The report shall include a description and value of the gift and a description of how the gift contributed to the public business of industry recruitment, promotion of international trade, or the promotion of travel and tourism. This report shall be posted to the State Board's public Web site.

c.         A tangible gift, other than food or beverages, not otherwise subject to an exception under this subsection shall be turned over as State property to the Department of Commerce within 30 days of receipt, except as permitted under subsection (g) of this section.

(9)        Gifts of personal property valued at less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) given to a public servant in the commission of the public servant's official duties if the gift is given to the public servant as a personal gift in another country as part of an overseas trade mission, and the giving and receiving of such personal gifts is considered a customary protocol in the other country.

(10)      Gifts given or received as part of a business, civic, religious, fraternal, personal, or commercial relationship provided all of the following conditions are met:

a.         The relationship is not related to the public servant's, legislator's, or legislative employee's public service or position.

b.         The gift is made under circumstances that a reasonable person would conclude that the gift was not given to lobby.

(11)      Food and beverages for immediate consumption and related transportation provided all of the following conditions are met:

a.         The food, beverage, or transportation is given by a lobbyist principal and not a lobbyist.

b.         The food, beverage, or transportation is provided during a conference, meeting, or similar event and is available to all attendees of the same class as the recipient.

c.         The recipient of the food, beverage, or transportation is a director, officer, governing board member, employee, or independent contractor of one of the following:

1.         The lobbyist principal giving the food, beverage, or transportation.

2.         A third party that received the funds to purchase the food, beverages, or transportation.

(12)      Food and beverages for immediate consumption at an organized gathering of a person, the State, or a governmental unit to which a public servant is invited to attend for purposes primarily related to the public servant's public service or position, and to which at least 10 individuals, other than the public servant, or the public servant's immediate family, actually attend, or to which all shareholders, employees, board members, officers, members, or subscribers of the person or governmental unit who are located in a specific North Carolina office or county are notified and invited to attend.

(g)        A prohibited gift that would constitute an expense appropriate for reimbursement by the public servant's employing entity if it had been incurred by the public servant personally shall be considered a gift accepted by or donated to the State, provided the public servant has been approved by the public servant's employing entity to accept or receive such things of value on behalf of the State. The fact that the employing entity's reimbursement rate for the type of expense is less than the value of a particular gift shall not render the gift prohibited.

(h)        A prohibited gift shall be, and a permissible gift may be, promptly declined, returned, paid for at fair market value, or donated to charity or the State.

(i)         A covered person or legislative employee shall not accept an honorarium from a source other than the employing entity for conducting any activity where any of the following apply:

(1)        The employing entity reimburses the covered person or legislative employee for travel, subsistence, and registration expenses.

(2)        The employing entity's work time or resources are used.

(3)        The activity would be considered official duty or would bear a reasonably close relationship to the covered person's or legislative employee's official duties.

An outside source may reimburse the employing entity for actual expenses incurred by a covered person or legislative employee in conducting an activity within the duties of the covered person or legislative employee, or may pay a fee to the employing entity, in lieu of an honorarium, for the services of the covered person or legislative employee. An honorarium permissible under this subsection shall not be considered a gift for purposes of subsection (c) of this section.

(j)         Acceptance or solicitation of a gift in compliance with this section without corrupt intent shall not constitute a violation of the statutes related to bribery under G.S. 14-217, 14-218, or 120-86.

" 163A-403.  Other compensation.

A public servant or legislative employee shall not solicit or receive personal financial gain, other than that received by the public servant or legislative employee from the State, or with the approval of the employing entity, for acting in the public servant's or legislative employee's official capacity, or for advice or assistance given in the course of carrying out the public servant's or legislative employee's duties.

" 163A-404.  Use of information for private gain.

A public servant or legislative employee shall not use or disclose nonpublic information gained in the course of, or by reason of, the public servant's or legislative employee's official responsibilities in a way that would affect a personal financial interest of the public servant or legislative employee, a member of the public servant's or legislative employee's extended family, or a person or governmental unit with whom or business with which the public servant or legislative employee is associated. A public servant or legislative employee shall not improperly use or improperly disclose any confidential information.

" 163A-405.  Other rules of conduct.

(a)        A public servant shall make a due and diligent effort before taking any action, including voting or participating in discussions with other public servants on a board on which the public servant also serves, to determine whether the public servant has a conflict of interest. If the public servant is unable to determine whether or not a conflict of interest may exist, the public servant has a duty to inquire of the State Board as to that conflict.

(b)        A public servant shall continually monitor, evaluate, and manage the public servant's personal, financial, and professional affairs to ensure the absence of conflicts of interest.

(c)        A public servant shall obey all other civil laws, administrative requirements, and criminal statutes governing conduct of State government applicable to appointees and employees.

" 163A-406.  Public servant participation in official actions.

(a)        Except as permitted by subsection (d) of this section and under G.S. 163A-408, no public servant acting in that capacity, authorized to perform an official action requiring the exercise of discretion, shall participate in an official action by the employing entity if the public servant knows the public servant or a person with which the public servant is associated may incur a reasonably foreseeable financial benefit from the matter under consideration, which financial benefit would impair the public servant's independence of judgment or from which it could reasonably be inferred that the financial benefit would influence the public servant's participation in the official action.

(b)        A public servant described in subsection (a) of this section shall abstain from taking any verbal or written action in furtherance of the official action. The public servant shall submit in writing to the employing entity the reasons for the abstention. When the employing entity is a board, the abstention shall be recorded in the employing entity's minutes.

(c)        A public servant shall take appropriate steps, under the particular circumstances and considering the type of proceeding involved, to remove himself or herself to the extent necessary, to protect the public interest and comply with this Subchapter, from any proceeding in which the public servant's impartiality might reasonably be questioned due to the public servant's familial, personal, or financial relationship with a participant in the proceeding. A participant includes (i) an owner, shareholder, partner, member or manager of a limited liability company, employee, agent, officer, or director of a business, organization, or group involved in the proceeding or (ii) an organization or group that has petitioned for rule making or has some specific, unique, and substantial interest in the proceeding. Proceedings include quasi-judicial proceedings and quasi-legislative proceedings. A personal relationship includes one in a leadership or policy-making position in a business, organization, or group.

(d)        If a public servant is uncertain about whether the relationship described in subsection (c) of this section justifies removing the public servant from the proceeding under subsection (c) of this section, the public servant shall disclose the relationship to the individual presiding over the proceeding and seek appropriate guidance. The presiding officer, in consultation with legal counsel if necessary, shall then determine the extent to which the public servant will be permitted to participate. If the affected public servant is the individual presiding, then the vice-chair or any other substitute presiding officer shall make the determination. A good-faith determination under this subsection of the allowable degree of participation by a public servant is presumptively valid and only subject to review under G.S. 163A-206 upon a clear and convincing showing of mistake, fraud, abuse of discretion, or willful disregard of this Chapter.

(e)        This section shall not allow participation in an official action prohibited by G.S. 14-234.

" 163A-407.  Legislator participation in legislative actions.

(a)        Except as permitted under G.S. 163A-408, no legislator shall participate in a legislative action if the legislator knows the legislator or a person with which the legislator is associated may incur a reasonably foreseeable financial benefit from the action, and if after considering whether the legislator's judgment would be substantially influenced by the financial benefit and considering the need for the legislator's particular contribution, including special knowledge of the subject matter to the effective functioning of the legislature, the legislator concludes that an actual financial benefit does exist which would impair the legislator's independence of judgment.

(b)        The legislator shall submit in writing to the principal clerk of the house of which the legislator is a member the reasons for the abstention from participation in the legislative matter.

(c)        If the legislator has a material doubt as to whether the legislator should act, the legislator may submit the question for an advisory opinion to the State Board in accordance with G.S. 163A-204 or the Legislative Ethics Committee in accordance with G.S. 120-104.

" 163A-408.  Permitted participation exception.

(a)        Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-401(a), 163A-406, and 163A-407, a covered person may participate in an official action or legislative action under any of the following circumstances except as specifically limited:

(1)        The only interest or reasonably foreseeable financial benefit that accrues to the covered person, the covered person's extended family, business with which the covered person is associated, or nonprofit corporation or organization with which the covered person is associated as a member of a profession, occupation, or general class is no greater than that which could reasonably be foreseen to accrue to all members of that profession, occupation, or general class.

(2)        When an official or legislative action affects or would affect the covered person's compensation and allowances as a covered person.

(3)        Before the covered person participated in the official or legislative action, the covered person requested and received from the State Board or Committee a written advisory opinion that authorized the participation. In authorizing the participation under this subdivision, the State Board or Committee shall consider the need for the legislator's particular contribution, such as special knowledge of the subject matter, to the effective functioning of the General Assembly.

(4)        Before participating in an official action, a public servant made full written disclosure to the public servant's employing entity which then made a written determination that the interest or benefit would neither impair the public servant's independence of judgment nor influence the public servant's participation in the official action. The employing entity shall file a copy of that written determination with the State Board.

(5)        When action is ministerial only and does not require the exercise of discretion.

(6)        When a public or legislative body records in its minutes that it cannot obtain a quorum in order to take the official or legislative action because the covered person is disqualified from acting under G.S. 163A-401(a), 163A-406, 163A-407, or this section, the covered person may be counted for purposes of a quorum but shall otherwise abstain from taking any further action.

(7)        When a public servant notifies the State Board in writing that the public servant, or someone whom the public servant appoints to act in the public servant's stead, or both, are the only individuals having legal authority to take an official action, and the public servant discloses in writing the circumstances and nature of the conflict of interest.

(b)        This section shall not allow participation in an official action prohibited by G.S. 14-234.

(c)        Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-407, if a legislator is employed or retained by, or is an independent contractor of, a governmental unit, and the legislator is the only member of the house elected from the district where that governmental unit is located, then the legislator may take legislative action on behalf of that governmental unit provided the legislator discloses in writing to the principal clerk the nature of the relationship with the governmental unit prior to, or at the time of, taking the legislative action.

(d)        Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-406, service by the president, chief financial officer, chief administrative officer, or voting member of the board of trustees of a community college as an officer, employee, or member of the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation established under G.S. 115D-20(9) to support the community college shall not constitute a conflict of interest under G.S. 163A-406, provided that the majority of the nonprofit corporation's board of directors is not comprised of the president, chief financial officer, and chief administrative officer, or voting members of the board of trustees of the community college which the nonprofit corporation was created to support.

" 163A-409.  Disqualification to serve.

(a)        Within 30 days of notice of the State Board's determination that a public servant has a disqualifying conflict of interest, the public servant shall eliminate the interest that constitutes the disqualifying conflict of interest or resign from the public position.

(b)        Failure by a public servant to comply with subsection (a) of this section is a violation of this Chapter for purposes of G.S. 163A-250.

(c)        A decision under this section shall be considered a final decision for contested case purposes under Article 3 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.

(d)        As used in this section, a disqualifying conflict of interest is a conflict of interest of such significance that the conflict of interest would prevent a public servant from fulfilling a substantial function or portion of the public servant's public duties.

" 163A-410.  Employment and supervision of members of covered person's or legislative employee's extended family.

A covered person or legislative employee shall not cause the employment, appointment, promotion, transfer, or advancement of an extended family member of the covered person or legislative employee to a State office, or a position to which the covered person or legislative employee supervises or manages, except for positions at the General Assembly as permitted under G.S. 120-32(2). A public servant or legislative employee shall not supervise, manage, or participate in an action relating to the discipline of a member of the public servant's or legislative employee's extended family, except as specifically authorized by the public servant's or legislative employee's employing entity.

" 163A-411.  Other ethics standards.

(a)        Nothing in this Subchapter shall prevent the Supreme Court, the Committee, the Legislative Services Commission, constitutional officers of the State, heads of principal departments, the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina, the State Board of Community Colleges, or other boards from adopting additional or supplemental ethics standards applicable to that public agency's operations.

(b)        The Governor, as a constitutional officer of the State, shall have the authority to adopt additional and supplemental ethics standards applicable to any appointee of the Governor to any State board, commission, council, committee, task force, authority, or similar public body, however denominated, created by statute or executive order, whether advisory or nonadvisory in authority. If the Governor adopts such ethics standards, the standards shall be published in the North Carolina Register and made available to each appointee subject to the ethics standards.

(c)        The Governor, as a constitutional officer of the State, shall have the authority to adopt minimum ethics standards applicable to any employee of a State agency. If the Governor adopts such standards, the ethics standards shall be published in the North Carolina Register and made available to each employee subject to the ethics standards.

"Article 5.

"Lobbying.

"Part 1. Registration.

" 163A-500 through 163A-509:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-510.  Lobbyist registration procedure.

(a)        A lobbyist shall file a separate registration statement for each principal the lobbyist represents with the State Board before engaging in any lobbying. It shall be unlawful for an individual to lobby without registering within one business day of engaging in any lobbying unless exempted by this Article.

(b)        The form of the registration shall be prescribed by the State Board and shall include the registrant's full name, firm, complete address, and telephone number; the registrant's place of business; the full name, complete address, and telephone number of each principal the lobbyist represents; and a general description of the matters on which the registrant expects to act as a lobbyist.

(c)        Each lobbyist shall file an amended registration form with the State Board no later than 10 business days after any change in the information supplied in the lobbyist's last registration under subsection (b) of this section. Each supplementary registration shall include a complete statement of the information that has changed.

(d)        Unless a resignation is filed under G.S. 163A-520, each registration statement of a lobbyist required under this Article shall be effective from the date of filing until January 1 of the following year. The lobbyist shall file a new registration statement after that date, and the applicable fee shall be due and payable.

(e)        Each lobbyist shall identify himself or herself as a lobbyist prior to engaging in lobbying communications or activities with a designated individual. The lobbyist shall also disclose the identity of the lobbyist principal connected to that lobbying communication or activity.

(f)         In addition to the information required for registration under subsection (b) of this section, former employees of a State agency who register as a lobbyist within six months after voluntary separation or separation for cause from employment with a State agency shall also indicate which State agency with which the former employee was employed.

" 163A-511.  Lobbyist's registration fee.

(a)        Except as provided for in subsection (b) of this section, a fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00) is due and payable to the State Board at the time of each lobbyist registration. Fees so collected shall be deposited in the General Fund of the State. The State Board shall allow fees required under this section to be paid electronically but shall not require the fees to be paid electronically.

(b)        The State Board shall adopt rules providing for a waiver or reduction of the fees required by this section for lobbyists registering to represent persons who have been granted nonprofit status under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).

" 163A-512 through 163A-515:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-516.  Lobbyist principal's authorization.

(a)        A written authorization signed by the lobbyist principal authorizing the lobbyist to represent the principal shall be filed with the State Board within 20 business days after the lobbyist's registration. If the written authorization is filed more than 20 business days after the lobbyist's registration and before January 1 of the following year, the lobbyist registration is effective from the date of filing of the lobbyist registration and all reports due under Part 3 of this Article shall be filed.

(b)        The form of the written authorization shall be prescribed by the State Board and shall include the lobbyist principal's full name, complete address, and telephone number, name and title of any official authorized to sign for the lobbyist principal, and the name of each lobbyist registered to represent that principal.

(c)        An amended authorization shall be filed with the State Board no later than 10 business days after any change in the information on the principal's authorization. Each supplementary authorization shall include a complete statement of the information that has changed.

" 163A-517.  Lobbyist principal's fees.

(a)        Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00) is due and payable to the State Board at the time the principal's first authorization statement is filed each calendar year for a lobbyist. Fees so collected shall be deposited in the General Fund of the State. The State Board shall allow fees required under this section to be paid electronically but shall not require the fees to be paid electronically.

(b)        The State Board shall adopt rules providing for a waiver or reduction of the fees required by this section for lobbyist principals that have been granted nonprofit status under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).

" 163A-518 through 163A-519:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-520.  Resignation and termination.

(a)        A registration of a lobbyist under G.S. 163A-510 and the written authorization of that lobbyist principal under G.S. 163A-516 are terminated upon the filing of either a lobbyist resignation or a principal termination with the State Board, whichever occurs first.

(b)        Lobbyist resignations and lobbyist principal terminations are effective upon filing.

" 163A-521 through 163A-524:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-525.  Other persons required to register.

(a)        A person not otherwise required to register under this Chapter shall register and report when the total expense incurred for solicitation of others exceeds three thousand dollars ($3,000) during any 90-day period. Expenses incurred shall mean the costs of producing and transmitting the communication and, if the communication is made at a conference, meeting, or similar event, the costs of planning, hosting, sponsoring, and attending the conference, meeting, or similar event.

(b)        A person required to register and report under this section shall be referred to as a "solicitor" for purposes of this Article.

(c)        No fee shall be charged for registering as a solicitor.

(d)        For purposes of this section, "incur" means the point at which a binding obligation arises.

" 163A-526 through 163A-529:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-530.  Publication and availability of registrations.

(a)        The State Board shall make available as soon as practicable the registrations of the lobbyists and liaison personnel in an electronic, searchable format.

(b)        The State Board shall make available as soon as practicable the authorizations of the lobbyists' principals in an electronic, searchable format.

(c)        The State Board shall make available as soon as practicable the registrations of other persons required by this Article to file a registration in an electronic, searchable format.

(d)        Within 20 days after the convening of each session of the General Assembly, the State Board shall furnish each designated individual and the State Legislative Library a list of all persons who have registered as lobbyists and whom they represent. A supplemental list of lobbyists shall be furnished periodically every 20 days while the General Assembly is in session and every 60 days thereafter. For each special session of the General Assembly, a supplemental list of lobbyists shall be furnished to the State Legislative Library.

(e)        All lists required by this section may be furnished electronically.

"Part 2. Prohibitions and Restrictions.

" 163A-540.  Contingency fees prohibited.

(a)        No individual shall act as a lobbyist and receive payment for lobbying that is dependent upon the result or outcome of any legislative or executive action.

(b)        This section shall not apply to an individual doing business with the State who is engaged in sales with respect to that business with the State whose regular remuneration agreement includes commissions based on those sales. For purposes of this subsection, the term "regular remuneration" means any money, thing of value, or economic benefit conferred on or received by the individual in return for services rendered or to be rendered by that individual or another.

(c)        Any payment to a lobbyist in violation of this section is subject to forfeiture and shall be paid into the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund.

" 163A-541.  Election influence prohibited.

(a)        No person shall attempt to influence the action of any designated individual by the promise of financial support of the designated individual's candidacy or by threat of financial support in opposition to the designated individual's candidacy in any future election.

(b)        No lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or other person required to register under this Chapter shall attempt to influence the action of any designated individual by the promise of financial support of the designated individual's candidacy or by threat of financial support in opposition to the designated individual's candidacy in any future election.

" 163A-542.  Gifts by lobbyists and lobbyist principals prohibited.

(a)        Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, no lobbyist or lobbyist principal may do any of the following:

(1)        Knowingly give a gift to a designated individual.

(2)        Knowingly give a gift with the intent that a designated individual be an ultimate recipient.

(b)        Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to gifts as described in G.S. 163A-402(f).

(c)        The offering or giving of a gift in compliance with this Chapter without corrupt intent shall not constitute a violation of the statutes related to bribery under G.S. 14-217, 14-218, or 120-86, but shall be subject to civil fines under G.S. 163A-250(8).

(d)        Gifts made to a nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international legislative organization of which the General Assembly is a member or a legislator or legislative employee is a member or participant of by virtue of that legislator's or legislative employee's public position, or to an affiliated organization of that nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international organization, shall not constitute a violation of subdivision (a)(2) of this section or of G.S. 163A-402(c).

(e)        Gifts made to a nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international organization of which a public servant's agency is a member or a public servant is a member or participant of by virtue of that public servant's public position, or to an affiliated organization of that nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international organization, shall not constitute a violation of subdivision (a)(2) of this section or of G.S. 163A-402(c).

" 163A-543.  Restrictions.

(a)        No legislator or former legislator may register as a lobbyist under this Article:

(1)        While in office.

(2)        Before the later of the close of session as set forth in G.S. 163A-200(21)b.1. in which the legislator served or six months after leaving office.

(b)        No public servant or former public servant as defined in G.S. 163A-200(40)a. may register as a lobbyist under this Article while in office or within six months after leaving office.

(c)        No public servant or former public servant as defined in G.S. 163A-200(40)c. may register as a lobbyist under this Article within six months after separation from employment as a public servant. No other employee of any State agency may register as a lobbyist under this Article to lobby the State agency that previously employed the former employee within six months after voluntary separation or separation for cause from that State agency.

(d)        No individual registered as a lobbyist under this Article shall serve as a treasurer as defined in G.S. 163A-4502(19) or an assistant campaign treasurer for a political committee for the election of a member of the General Assembly or a constitutional officer of the State.

(e)        A lobbyist shall not be eligible for appointment by a State official to, or service on, any body created under the laws of this State that has regulatory authority over the activities of a person or governmental unit that the lobbyist currently represents or has represented within 120 days after the expiration of the lobbyist's registration representing that person or governmental unit. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit appointment by any unit of local government.

(f)         Any appointment or registration made in violation of this section shall be void.

" 163A-544.  Prohibition on the use of cash or credit of the lobbyist.

No lobbyist or another acting on the lobbyist's behalf shall lobby by permitting a designated individual, or that designated individual's immediate family member, to use the cash or credit of the lobbyist unless the lobbyist is in attendance at the time of the reportable expenditure. G.S. 163A-542 applies to this section.

"Part 3. Reporting.

" 163A-550.  Reporting of reportable expenditures.

(a)        For purposes of this Article, all reportable expenditures made for lobbying shall be reported, including the following:

(1)        Reportable expenditures benefiting or made on behalf of a designated individual in the regular course of that designated individual's employment.

(2)        Reportable expenditures benefiting or made on behalf of a designated individual's immediate family member in the regular course of that immediate family member's employment.

(3)        Contractual arrangements or direct business relationships between a lobbyist or lobbyist principal and a designated individual, or that designated individual's immediate family member, in effect during the reporting period or the previous 12 months.

(4)        Reportable expenditures reimbursed to a lobbyist in the ordinary course of business by the lobbyist principal or other employer.

(b)        This section shall not apply to any reportable expenditure of cash, a cash equivalent, or a fixed asset made directly to a State agency that maintains an accounting of the reportable expenditure that is a public record.

" 163A-551.  Reporting generally.

(a)        Reports shall be filed whether or not reportable expenditures are made and shall be due 15 business days after the end of the reporting period.

(b)        For reportable expenditures, each report shall set forth all of the following:

(1)        The fair market value or face value if shown.

(2)        The date of the reportable expenditure.

(3)        A description of the reportable expenditure.

(4)        The name and address of the payee or beneficiary.

(5)        The name of any designated individual or that designated individual's immediate family member connected with the reportable expenditure.

(c)        For purposes of subdivision (b)(5) of this section, when more than 15 designated individuals benefit from or request a reportable expenditure, no names of individuals need be reported provided that the report identifies the approximate number of designated individuals benefiting or requesting and the basis for their selection, including the name of the legislative body, committee, caucus, or other group whose membership list is a matter of public record in accordance with G.S. 132-1 or including a description of the group that clearly distinguishes its purpose or composition from the general membership of the General Assembly. The approximate number of immediate family members of designated individuals who benefited from the reportable expenditure shall be listed separately.

(d)        For purposes of subdivision (b)(5) of this section, when the reportable expenditure is a gift given with the intent that a designated individual be the ultimate recipient and the lobbyist or lobbyist principal does not know the name or names of the designated individuals, the lobbyist or lobbyist principal shall report a description of the designated individuals and those designated individuals' immediate family members connected with the reportable expenditure that clearly distinguishes its purpose or composition, and an approximate number, if known.

(e)        Reportable expenditures shall be reported using the following categories:

(1)        Transportation and lodging.

(2)        Entertainment.

(3)        Food and beverages.

(4)        Meetings and events.

(5)        Gifts.

(6)        Other reportable expenditures.

(f)         Each report shall be in the form prescribed by the State Board, which may include electronic reports.

(g)        When any report as required by this Article is not filed, the State Board shall send a certified letter, return receipt requested, advising the lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or other person required to report of the delinquency and the penalties provided by law. A late filing fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) per day, commencing on the 10th business day after the date the certified letter is received, applies to a report that is not timely filed. The cumulative late filing fee may not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00). Within 20 days of the receipt of the letter, the report shall be delivered or posted by United States mail to the State Board together with the late filing fee. Filing of the required report and payment of the additional fee within the time extended shall constitute compliance with this section.

(h)        Failure to file a required report in one of the manners prescribed in this section shall void any and all registrations of the lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or solicitor. No lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or solicitor may register or reregister until full compliance with this section has occurred.

(i)         The State Board may adopt rules to facilitate complete and timely disclosure of required reporting, including additional categories of information, and to protect the addresses of payees under protective order issued pursuant to Chapter 50B of the General Statutes or participating in the Address Confidentiality Program pursuant to Chapter 15C of the General Statutes. The State Board shall not impose any penalties or late filing fees upon a lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or solicitor for subsequent failures to comply with the requirements of this section if the State Board failed to provide the required notification under subsection (g) of this section.

(j)         Any reportable expenditure promptly paid for at fair market value or promptly returned to a lobbyist or lobbyist principal by a designated individual or a member of the designated individual's immediate family within the reporting period shall not be reported under G.S. 163A-552 or G.S. 163A-553, and if reported, the repayment or return of the expenditure at any time shall be reported by the lobbyist and lobbyist principal on the next report due under this Article.

(k)        The State Board shall make available a report form that may be filed by a designated individual or a member of the designated individual's immediate family who promptly declines, returns, pays fair market value for, or donates a reportable expenditure in accordance with G.S. 163A-402(h). The State Board shall index the filing of this form together with the lobbyist or lobbyist principal who gave the reportable expenditure.

" 163A-552.  Lobbyist's reports.

(a)        Each lobbyist shall file quarterly reports under oath with the State Board with respect to each lobbyist principal.

(b)        The report shall include all of the following for the reporting period:

(1)        All reportable expenditures made for lobbying.

(2)        Solicitation of others when such solicitation involves an aggregate cost of more than three thousand dollars ($3,000).

(3)        Reportable expenditures reimbursed by the lobbyist principal or another person or governmental unit on the lobbyist principal's behalf.

(4)        All reportable expenditures for gifts given under G.S. 163A-402(f)(1)-(9), 163A-402(f)(11), 163A-402(f)(12), and all gifts given under G.S. 163A-402(f)(10) with a value of more than ten dollars ($10.00).

(c)        In addition to the reports required by this section, each lobbyist incurring reportable expenditures in any month while the General Assembly is in session with respect to lobbying legislators and legislative employees shall file a monthly reportable expenditure report. The monthly reportable expenditure report shall contain information required by this section with respect to all lobbying of legislators and legislative employees and is due within 10 business days after the end of the month. The information on the monthly reportable expenditure report shall also be included in each quarterly report required by subsection (a) of this section.

" 163A-553.  Lobbyist principal's reports.

(a)        Each lobbyist principal shall file quarterly reports under oath with the State Board with respect to each lobbyist principal.

(b)        The report shall be filed whether or not reportable expenditures are made, shall be due 15 business days after the end of the reporting period, and shall include all of the following for the reporting period:

(1)        All reportable expenditures made for lobbying.

(2)        Solicitation of others when such solicitation involves an aggregate cost of more than three thousand dollars ($3,000).

(3)        With respect to each lobbyist registered under G.S. 163A-516, reportable expenditures reimbursed or paid to lobbyists for lobbying that are not reported on the lobbyist's report, with an itemized description of those reportable expenditures.

(4)        All reportable expenditures for gifts given under G.S. 163A-402(f)(1)-(9), 163A-402(f)(11), 163A-402(f)(12), and all gifts given under G.S. 163A-402(f)(10) with a value of more than two hundred dollars ($200.00).

(5)        With respect to each lobbyist registered under G.S. 163A-516, the name of each person or governmental unit not otherwise registered as a lobbyist principal for whom the lobbyist principal directs the lobbyist to lobby, whether for pay or not. If the lobbyist principal is an association or other organization, the lobbyist principal shall not be required to report under this subdivision any individual member of the association or other organization for which the lobbyist is directed to lobby by that lobbyist principal.

(c)        In addition to the reports required by this section, each lobbyist principal incurring reportable expenditures in any month while the General Assembly is in session with respect to lobbying legislators and legislative employees shall file a monthly reportable expenditure report. The monthly reportable expenditure report shall contain information required by this section with respect to all lobbying of legislators and legislative employees and is due within 10 business days after the end of the month. The information on the monthly report shall also be included in each quarterly report required by subsection (a) of this section.

(d)        In addition to the reports required by this section, each lobbyist principal shall annually, in the last report for the registration period under G.S. 163A-510(d), report the cumulative combined total of all payments for lobbying and other activities described in subdivision (f)(2) of this section made during the registration period, for all of the following:

(1)        All payments for lobbying.

(2)        Activities as described in subdivision (g)(2) of this section.

(e)        Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, the cumulative combined total of all payments for lobbying and other activities made by the principal to all lobbyists registered for that lobbyist principal shall be reported as one cumulative amount with no further division or allocation by individual lobbyist, activity, or any other categorization.

(f)         The cumulative combined total of payments reported under subsection (d) of this section made during the registration period shall include, as applicable:

(1)        If a lobbyist represents the lobbyist principal, but is not directly employed by that lobbyist principal, the portion of the payment that is for lobbying and to whom it was paid.

(2)        If a lobbyist is under contract with the lobbyist principal for lobbying, the portion of the contract that is reasonably allocated for lobbying.

(3)        If a lobbyist is a full-time employee of the principal, or is paid by means of an annual fee or retainer, the principal shall estimate and report the portion of the salary, fee, or retainer salary that is reasonably allocated for lobbying.

(g)        For purposes of subsection (d) of this section, the following shall apply:

(1)        A lobbyist principal may rely upon a statement by the lobbyist estimating the portion of the salary or other payment that is reasonably allocated for lobbying.

(2)        In addition to reporting any payment to a lobbyist for lobbying under subsection (d) of this section, a lobbyist principal shall report, cumulatively for the year, any payment to a lobbyist for any of the following communications and activities that were used to lobby within the registration period under G.S. 163A-510(d):

a.         Research.

b.         Drafting of written communications.

c.         Monitoring of proposed or pending legislative action or executive action, including time spent preparing communications with the lobbyist principal to relate information on proposed or pending legislative action or executive action.

d.         Time spent advising and rendering opinions to the lobbyist principal as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislative action or executive action.

(3)        A lobbyist principal is required to report any payment to a lobbyist for any of the following:

a.         Direct lobbying communications or direct lobbying activities with a designated individual or that designated individual's immediate family.

b.         Communications or activities to develop goodwill, including the building of relationships, with a designated individual or that designated individual's immediate family member.

" 163A-554.  Solicitor's reports.

(a)        Each solicitor shall file quarterly reports under oath with the State Board.

(b)        The report shall include all of the following:

(1)        All reportable expenditures made for lobbying during the reporting period.

(2)        Solicitation of others when such solicitation involves an aggregate cost of more than three thousand dollars ($3,000).

" 163A-555.  Report availability.

(a)        All reports filed under this Article shall be open to public inspection upon filing.

(b)        The State Board shall create a searchable Web-based database of reports filed under this Article and Subchapter V of this Chapter.

"Part 4. Liaison Personnel.

" 163A-560.  Liaison personnel.

(a)        All agencies and constitutional officers of the State, including all boards, departments, divisions, constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina, community colleges, and other units of government in the executive branch shall designate liaison personnel to lobby for legislative action. This subsection shall not apply to units of local government, or a State agency or board with no staff.

(b)        No State agency or constitutional officer of the State may contract with individuals who are not employed by the State to lobby legislators and legislative employees. This subsection shall not apply to counsel employed by any agency, board, department, or division authorized to employ counsel under G.S. 147-17.

(c)        No more than two individuals may be designated as liaison personnel for each agency and constitutional officers of the State, including all boards, departments, divisions, constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina, community colleges, and other units of government in the executive branch.

(d)        The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall designate at least one, but no more than four, liaison personnel to lobby for legislative action for all offices, conferences, commissions, and other agencies established under Chapter 7A of the General Statutes. This subsection shall not apply to any office created under Article 60 of Chapter 7A of the General Statutes, so long as that office complies with subsection (a) of this section.

" 163A-561.  Applicability of Subchapter on liaison personnel.

(a)        Except as otherwise provided in this section, this Subchapter shall not apply to liaison personnel.

(b)        G.S. 163A-510 shall apply to liaison personnel. No registration fee shall be required for registration under this subsection.

(c)        Liaison personal designated under this Article shall file reports under G.S. 163A-552.

(d)        G.S. 163A-542 shall apply to liaison personnel with respect to legislators and legislative employees.

(e)        The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina and its constituent institutions, or the liaison personnel designated by that board or the constituent institutions, shall not give, for lobbying, athletic tickets to any designated individual, except for those who are described in G.S. 163A-200(40)j. or those who are students and receive tickets on the same basis as other students.

" 163A-562.  Local government liaison equivalents.

(a)        An individual who is an employee of a governmental unit whose principal duties, in practice or as set forth in that individual's job description, include lobbying for legislative action shall register under G.S. 163A-510.

(b)        G.S. 163A-561 shall apply to an individual required to register under subsection (a) of this section.

(c)        For purposes of publication of the registry under G.S. 163A-530, the State Board shall treat individuals registered under this section as liaison personnel.

"Part 5. Exemptions.

" 163A-570.  Persons exempted from this Article.

Except as otherwise provided in Part 6 of this Article, the provisions of this Article shall not be construed to apply to any of the following:

(1)        An individual solely engaged in expressing a personal opinion or stating facts or recommendations on legislative action or executive action to a designated individual and not acting as a lobbyist.

(2)        A person appearing before a committee, commission, board, council, or other collective body whose membership includes one or more designated individuals at the invitation or request of the committee or a member thereof and who does not act in any further activities as a lobbyist with respect to the legislative or executive action for which that person appeared.

(3)        A duly elected or appointed official or employee of the State, the United States, a county, municipality, school district, or other governmental agency, when acting solely in connection with matters pertaining to the office and public duties, except for a person designated as liaison personnel under G.S. 163A-560 or G.S. 163A-562. For purposes of this subdivision, an individual appointed as a county or city attorney under Part 7 of Article 5 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes or Part 6 of Article 7 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes, respectively, shall be considered an employee of the county or city.

(4)        A person performing professional services in drafting bills, or in advising and rendering opinions to clients, or to designated individuals on behalf of clients, as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislative or executive action where the professional services are not otherwise connected with the legislative or executive action.

(5)        A person who owns, publishes, or is an employee of any recognized news medium, while engaged in the acquisition and publication of news or news and commentary on behalf of that recognized news medium.

(6)        Designated individuals while acting in their official capacity.

(7)        A person responding to inquiries from a designated individual and who does not act in any further activities as a lobbyist in connection with that inquiry.

(8)        A person who is a political committee as defined in G.S. 163A-4502(14), that person's employee, or that person's contracted service provider.

(9)        Anything of value given or received in connection with seeking or hosting a national convention of a political party.

"Part 6. Miscellaneous.

" 163A-580.  Reportable expenditures made by persons exempted or not covered by this Article.

(a)        If a designated individual accepts a reportable expenditure made for lobbying with a total value of over two hundred dollars ($200.00) per calendar quarter from a person or group of persons acting together, exempted or not otherwise covered by this Article, the person, or group of persons, making the reportable expenditure shall report the date, a description of the reportable expenditure, the name and address of the person, or group of persons, making the reportable expenditure, the name of the designated individual accepting the reportable expenditure, and the estimated fair market value, or face value if shown, of the reportable expenditure.

(b)        If the person making the reportable expenditure in subsection (a) of this section is outside North Carolina, and the designated individual accepting the reportable expenditure is also outside North Carolina at the time the designated individual accepts the reportable expenditure, then the designated individual accepting the reportable expenditure shall be responsible for filing the report or reporting the information in the designated individual's statement of economic interest in accordance with G.S. 163A-304(a)(8).

(c)        If a designated individual accepts a scholarship related to that designated individual's public service or position valued over two hundred dollars ($200.00) from a person, or group of persons, acting together, exempted or not covered by this Article, the person, or group of persons, granting the scholarship shall report the date of the scholarship, a description of the event involved, the name and address of the person, or group of persons, granting the scholarship, the name of the designated individual accepting the scholarship, and the estimated fair market value.

(d)        If the person granting the scholarship in subsection (c) of this section is outside North Carolina, the designated individual accepting the scholarship shall be responsible for filing the report or reporting the information in the designated individual's statement of economic interest in accordance with G.S. 163A-304(a)(2).

(e)        This section shall not apply to any of the following:

(1)        Anything of value properly reported as required under Article 45 of this Chapter.

(2)        Any reportable expenditure from a designated individual's extended family member to a designated individual.

(3)        Reportable expenditures associated primarily with the designated individual's employment or that designated individual's immediate family member's employment.

(4)        Reportable expenditures, other than food, beverages, travel, and lodging, which are received from a person who is a citizen of a country other than the United States or a state other than North Carolina and given during a ceremonial presentation or as a custom.

(5)        A thing of value that is paid for by the State.

(6)        A scholarship paid for by a nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international legislative organization of which the General Assembly is a member or a legislator or legislative employee is a member or participant of by virtue of that legislator's or legislative employee's public position, or to an affiliated organization of that nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international organization.

(f)         Within 15 business days after the end of the quarter in which the reportable expenditure was made, reports required by this section shall be filed with the State Board in a manner prescribed by the State Board, which may include electronic reports. If the designated individual is required to file a statement of economic interest under G.S. 163A-304, then that designated individual may opt to report any information required by this section in the statement of economic interest.

(g)        For purposes of this section, the term "scholarship" shall mean a grant-in-aid to attend a conference, meeting, or other similar event. For purposes of this section only, the term "person" shall include all persons as defined in G.S. 163A-200(36) and all governmental units as defined in G.S. 163A-200(18).

"Articles 6 through 14:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

"SUBCHAPTER III. ELECTION ADMINISTRATION.

"Article 15.

"Article 17.

"General Provisions.

"Article 38. Reserved for future codification purposes.

"Article 39. Reserved for future codification purposes.

"SUBCHAPTER IV:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

"Articles 40 through 44:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

"SUBCHAPTER V. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REGULATION.

"Article 45.

"Regulating Contributions and Expenditures in Political Campaigns.

"Part 1. In General.

" 163A-4501.  Scope of Subchapter; severability.

The provisions of this Subchapter apply to primaries and elections for North Carolina offices and to North Carolina referenda and do not apply to primaries and elections for federal offices or offices in other States or to non-North Carolina referenda. Any provision in this Subchapter that regulates a non-North Carolina entity does so only to the extent that the entity's actions affect elections for North Carolina offices or North Carolina referenda.

The provisions of this Subchapter are severable. If any provision is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity does not affect other provisions of this Subchapter that can be given effect without the invalid provision.

" 163A-4502.  Definitions.

Except as otherwise provided, the following definitions apply in this Subchapter:

(1)        Broadcasting station. - Any commercial radio or television station or community antenna radio or television station.

(2)        Business entity. - Any corporation, partnership, joint venture, insurance company, labor union, professional association, joint-stock company, company, firm, or any commercial or industrial establishment or enterprise.

(3)        Candidate. - Any individual who, with respect to a public office, has taken positive action for the purpose of bringing about that individual's nomination or election to public office. Status as a candidate for the purpose of this Subchapter 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. Examples of positive action include:

a.         Filing a notice of candidacy 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.

(4)        Candidate campaign committee. - Any political committee organized by or under the direction of a candidate. For purposes of this subsection, a candidate is any individual who, with respect to a public office, has filed a notice of candidacy 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-4530 and is required to file periodic financial disclosure statements under G.S. 163A-4532.

(5)        Communications media. - Broadcasting stations, carrier current stations, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, outdoor advertising facilities, billboards, newspaper inserts, and any individual or business entity whose business is polling public opinion or analyzing or predicting voter behavior or voter preferences.

(6)        Contribute or contribution. - 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, 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 an individual or business entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a contribution from that individual or business 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 (i) any individual, business entity, 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 (ii) 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, 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.

(7)        Coordinated expenditure. - 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-4570(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.

(8)        Coordination. - In concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of.

(9)        Corporation. - 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.

(10)      Costs of collection. - Monies spent by the State Board in the collection of the penalties levied under this Subchapter 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 based on the records of expenses incurred by the State Board for its collection procedures.

(11)      Day. - Calendar day.

(12)      Election cycle. - 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.

(13)      Election. - 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.

(14)      a.         Electioneering communication. - Any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, or mass mailing, or telephone bank that has all the following characteristics:

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

2.         Is aired or transmitted within 60 days of the time set for absentee voting to begin pursuant to G.S. 163-227.2 in an election for that office.

3.         May be received by either:

I.          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.

II.         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.

b.         Electioneering communication does not include any of the following:

1.         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, political committee, or candidate.

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

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

4.         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-200(44) properly reported under Article 5 of this Chapter.

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

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

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

III.       Proposes a commercial transaction.

6.         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.

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

(15)      Enforcement costs. - Salaries, overhead, and other monies spent by the State Board in the enforcement of the penalties provisions of this Subchapter, including the costs of investigators, attorneys, and 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.

(16)      Expend or expenditure. - 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 an individual or business entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a contribution from that individual or business entity. Supporting or opposing the election of clearly identified candidates includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a clearly identified political party. Expenditure also includes any payment or other transfer made by a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee.

(17)      Independently expend or independent expenditure. - 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.

(18)      Individual. - A single individual or more than one individual.

(19)      Insurance company. - Any business making or underwriting contracts of insurance, and includes mutual insurance companies, stock insurance companies, and fraternal beneficiary associations.

(20)      Labor union. - Any union, organization, combination, or association of employees or workers 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 of Chapter 95 of the General Statutes applies.

(21)      Mass mailing. - Any mailing by United States mail or facsimile to 20,000 or more households, cumulative per election, in a statewide election or 2,500 or more households, cumulative per election, in any other election.

(22)      Political committee. - A combination of two or more individuals, such as a business entity, 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 business entity pursuant to G.S. 163A-4557.

d.         Has the major purpose to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates.

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.

(23)      Political party. - Any political party organized or operating in this State, whether or not that party is recognized under the provisions of G.S. 163-96.

(24)      Professional association. - Any trade association, group, organization, association, or collection of individuals or business entities formed for the purposes of advancing, representing, improving, furthering, or preserving the interests of individuals or business entities having a common vocation, profession, calling, occupation, employment, or training.

(25)      Public office. - Any office filled by election by the people on a statewide, county, municipal, or district basis, and this Subchapter shall be applicable to such elective offices whether the election therefor is partisan or nonpartisan.

(26)      Referendum. - 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 Subchapter.

(27)      Referendum committee. - A combination of two or more individuals such as a business entity, committee, association, organization, or other entity or a combination of two or more business entities, committees, associations, organizations, or other entities the primary purpose of which is to support or oppose the passage of any referendum on the ballot. If the combination of individuals or business entities 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.

(28)      State Board. - The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement as established by this Chapter with respect to all candidates for State, legislative, and judicial offices and for statewide referenda. The term shall mean the county board of elections with respect to all candidates for county and municipal offices and for local referenda.

(29)      Telephone bank. - 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.

(30)      Treasurer. - An individual appointed by a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee as provided in G.S. 163A-4530 or G.S. 163A-4577.

" 163A-4503 through 163A-4505:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4506.  Duties of State Board.

In addition to other powers and duties specified in this Chapter, the State Board shall do the following:

(1)        Prescribe forms of statements and other information required to be filed by this Subchapter, to furnish such forms to the county boards of elections and individuals, communications 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 Subchapter and a prescribed uniform system for accounts required to file statements by this Subchapter.

(2)        Accept and file any information voluntarily supplied that exceeds the requirements of this Subchapter.

(3)        Develop a filing, coding, and cross-indexing system consonant with the purposes of this Subchapter.

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

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

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

(7)        Make investigations to the extent the State Board deems necessary with respect to statements filed under the provisions of this Subchapter and with respect to alleged failures to file any statement required under the provisions of this Subchapter, upon complaint under oath by any registered voter, with respect to alleged violations of any part of this Subchapter.

(8)        After investigation, report apparent violations by candidates, political committees, referendum committees, legal expense funds, individuals, or business entities to the proper district attorney as provided in G.S. 163A-4519.

(9)        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)      Instruct the chair and director of elections of each county board as to their respective duties and responsibilities relative to the administration of this Subchapter.

(11)      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. 163A-4519.

(12)      Assist county boards of elections in resolving questions arising from the administration of this Subchapter.

(13)      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 Subchapter.

(14)      Calculate, assess, and collect civil penalties pursuant to this Subchapter.

(15)      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 business entity 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.

" 163A-4507.  Duties of Executive Director of State Board.

(a)        The Executive Director of the State Board shall inspect or cause to be inspected each statement filed with the State Board under this Subchapter within 30 days after the date it is filed. The Executive Director shall advise, or cause to be advised, no more than 30 days and at least five days before each report is due, each candidate or treasurer whose organizational report has been filed of the specific date each report is due. The Executive Director shall immediately notify any individual, candidate, treasurer, political committee, referendum committee, communications media, or other entity that may be required to file a statement under this Subchapter if any of following apply:

(1)        It appears that the individual, candidate, treasurer, political committee, referendum committee, communications media, or other entity has failed to file a statement as required by law or that a statement filed does not conform to this Subchapter.

(2)        A written complaint is filed under oath with the State Board by any registered voter of this State alleging that a statement filed with the State Board does not conform to this Subchapter or to the truth or that an individual, candidate, treasurer, political committee, referendum committee, communications media, or other entity has failed to file a statement required by this Subchapter.

(b)        The entity that is the subject of the complaint will be given an opportunity to respond to the complaint before any action is taken requiring compliance.

(c)        The Executive Director shall issue written opinions to candidates, the communications media, political committees, referendum committees, or other entities upon request, regarding filing procedures and compliance with this Subchapter. Any such opinion so issued shall specifically refer to this section. If the candidate, communications media, political committees, referendum committees, or other entities rely on and comply with the opinion of the Executive Director, then prosecution or civil action on account of the procedure followed pursuant thereto and prosecution for failure to comply with the statute inconsistent with the written ruling of the Executive Director issued to the candidate or committee involved shall be barred. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or delay the regular and timely filing of reports. The Executive Director shall file all opinions issued pursuant to this section with the Codifier of Rules to be published unedited in the North Carolina Register and the North Carolina Administrative Code.

" 163A-4508.  Statements examined within four months.

Within four months after the date of each election or referendum, the Executive Director shall examine or cause to be examined each statement filed with the State Board under this Subchapter, and, referring to the election or referendum, determine whether the statement conforms to law and to the truth.

" 163A-4509.  Statements under oath.

Any statement required to be filed under this Subchapter shall be signed and certified as true and correct by the individual, communications media, candidate, treasurer, or others required to file it, and shall be certified as true and correct to the best of the knowledge of the individual, communications media, candidate, treasurer, or others filing the statement; provided further that the candidate shall certify as true and correct to the best of that candidate's knowledge the organizational report and appointment of treasurer filed for the candidate or the candidate's principal campaign committee. A certification under this Subchapter shall be treated as under oath, and any person making a certification under this Subchapter knowing the information to be untrue is guilty of a Class I felony.

" 163A-4510.  Presumptions.

In any proceeding brought pursuant to this Subchapter in which a presumption arises from the proof of certain facts, the defendant may offer some evidence to rebut the presumption, but the State bears the ultimate burden of proving the essential elements of its case.

" 163A-4511.  Preservation of records.

All reports, records, and accounts required by this Subchapter to be made, kept, filed, or maintained by any individual, communications media, candidate, or treasurer shall be preserved and retained by the individual, communications media, candidate, or treasurer for at least two years from the date of the election to which such reports, records and accounts refer.

" 163A-4512.  County boards of elections to preserve reports.

The county boards of elections shall preserve all reports and statements filed with them pursuant to this Subchapter for such period of time as directed by the State Board.

" 163A 4513 through 163A-4516:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4517.  Compelling self-incriminating testimony; individual so testifying excused from prosecution.

No individual shall be excused from attending or testifying or producing any books, papers, or other documents before any court upon any proceeding or trial of another for the violation of any of the provisions of this Subchapter, upon the ground or for the reason that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of that individual may tend to incriminate that individual, but such individual may be subpoenaed and required to testify by and for the State relative to any offense arising under the provisions of this Subchapter. Such individual shall not be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which that individual may be compelled to testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, and no compelled testimony so given or produced shall be used against that individual upon any criminal proceeding, but such individual so compelled to testify with respect to any acts of his or her own shall be immune from prosecution on account thereof.

" 163A-4518.  Civil penalties.

(a)        Civil Penalties for Late Filing. - Except as provided in G.S. 163A-4532 and G.S. 163A-4533, all reports, statements, or other documents required by this Subchapter to be filed with the State Board shall be filed either by manual delivery to or by mail addressed to the State Board. Timely filing shall be complete if postmarked on the day the reports, statements, or other documents are to be delivered to the State Board. If a report, statement, or other document is not filed within the time required by this Subchapter, then the individual, business entity, communications media, candidate, political committee, referendum committee, or treasurer responsible for filing shall pay to the State Board enforcement costs and a civil late penalty as follows:

(1)        Two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) per day for each day the filing is late for a report that affects statewide elections, not to exceed a total of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(2)        Fifty dollars ($50.00) per day for each day the filing is late for a report that affects only non-statewide elections, not to exceed a total of five hundred dollars ($500.00).

If the form is filed timely by mail, no civil late penalty shall be assessed for any day after the date of postmark. No civil late penalty shall be assessed for any day when the board office at which the report is due is closed. The State Board shall immediately notify, or cause to be notified, late filers, from which reports are apparently due, by mail, of the penalties under this section. The State Board may waive a late penalty if it determines there is good cause for the waiver.

If the State Board determines by clear and convincing evidence that the late filing constitutes a willful attempt to conceal contributions or expenditures, the board may assess a civil penalty in an amount to be determined by that board, plus the costs of investigation, assessment, and collection. The civil penalty shall not exceed three times the amount of the contributions and expenditures willfully attempted to be concealed.

(b)        Civil Penalties for Illegal Contributions and Expenditures. - If an individual, business entity, political committee, referendum committee, candidate, or other entity intentionally makes or accepts a contribution or makes an unlawful expenditure in violation of this Subchapter, then that entity shall pay to the State Board, in an amount to be determined by the State Board, a civil penalty and the costs of investigation, assessment, and collection. The civil penalty shall not exceed three times the amount of the unlawful contribution or expenditure involved in the violation. The State Board may, in addition to the civil penalty, order that the amount unlawfully received be paid to the State Board by check, and any money so received by the State Board shall be deposited in the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund of North Carolina.

(c)        Civil Remedies Other Than Penalties. - The State Board, in lieu of or in addition to imposing a civil penalty under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, may take one or more of the following actions with respect to a violation for which a civil penalty could be imposed:

(1)        Issue an order requiring the violator to cease and desist from the violation found.

(2)        Issue an order to cease receiving contributions and making expenditures until a delinquent report has been filed and any civil penalty satisfied.

(3)        Issue an order requiring the violator to take any remedial action deemed appropriate by the State Board.

(4)        Issue an order requiring the violator to file any report, statement, or other information as required by this Subchapter or the rules adopted by the State Board.

(5)        Publicly reprimand the violator for the violation.

(d)        Facts in Mitigation. - An individual or other entity notified that a penalty has been assessed against it may submit an affidavit to the State Board stating the facts in mitigation. The State Board may waive a civil penalty in whole or in part if it determines there is good cause for the waiver.

(e)        Calculation and Assessment. - The State Board shall calculate and assess the amount of the civil penalty due under subsection (a) or (b) of this section and shall notify the person who is assessed the civil penalty of the amount. The notice of assessment shall be served by any means authorized under G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4, and shall direct the violator either to pay the assessment or to contest the assessment within 30 days by filing a petition for a contested case under Article 3 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. If a violator does not pay a civil penalty assessed by the State Board within 30 days after it is due, the State Board shall request the Attorney General to institute a civil action to recover the amount of the assessment. The civil action may be brought in the superior court of any county where the report was due to be filed or any county where the violator resides or maintains an office. A civil action shall be filed within three years of the date the assessment was due. An assessment that is not contested is due when the violator is served with a notice of assessment. An assessment that is contested is due at the conclusion of the administrative and judicial review of the assessment. The State Board shall pay the clear proceeds of civil penalties collected under this section to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund pursuant to G.S. 115C-457.2. The State Board shall reduce the monies collected by the enforcement costs and the collection costs to determine the clear proceeds payable to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund. Monies set aside for the costs of enforcement and the costs of collection shall be credited to accounts of the State Board.

(f)         Notifying and Consulting With District Attorney. - Before assessing a civil penalty under subsection (b) of this section or imposing a civil remedy under subsection (c) of this section, the State Board shall notify and consult with the district attorney who would be responsible under G.S. 163A-4519 for bringing a criminal prosecution concerning the violation.

" 163A-4519.  Criminal penalties; duty to report and prosecute.

(a)        Any individual, candidate, political committee, referendum committee, treasurer, person, or communications media who intentionally violates the applicable provisions of G.S. 163A-4530, 163A-4531, 163A-4532, 163A-4535, 163A-4538, 163A-4540, 163A-4541, 163A-4542, 163A-4544, 163A-4555, 163A-4557, 163A-4560, 163A-4565, 163A-4566, 163A-4571, 163A-4577, 163A-4578, 163A-4579, 163A-4580, 163A-4581, or 163A-4586 is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. The statute of limitations as stated in G.S. 15-1 shall run from the day the last report is due to be filed with the appropriate board of elections for the election cycle for which the violation occurred.

(b)        A violation of G.S. 163A-4509 by making a certification knowing the information to be untrue is a Class I felony.

(c)        A person or individual who intentionally violates G.S. 163A-4544(a) or G.S. 163A-4557(a) and the unlawful contributions total more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per election is guilty of a Class I felony.

(d)        Whenever the State Board has knowledge of or has reason to believe there has been a violation of any section of this Subchapter, it shall report that fact, together with accompanying details, to the following prosecuting authorities:

(1)        In the case of a candidate for nomination or election to the State Senate or State House of Representatives: report to the district attorney of the prosecutorial district in which the candidate for nomination or election resides.

(2)        In the case of a candidate for nomination or election to the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Attorney General, State Commissioner of Agriculture, State Commissioner of Labor, State Commissioner of Insurance, and all other State elective offices, Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the Court of Appeals, judge of a superior court, judge of a district court, and district attorney of the superior court: report to the district attorney of the prosecutorial district in which Wake County is located.

(3)        In the case of an individual other than a candidate, including, without limitation, violations by members of political committees, referendum committees, or treasurers: report to the district attorney of the prosecutorial district in which the individual resides.

(4)        In the case of a person or any group of individuals: report to the district attorney or district attorneys of the prosecutorial district or districts in which any of the officers, directors, agents, employees, or members of the person or group reside.

(e)        Upon receipt of such a report from the State Board, the appropriate district attorney shall prosecute the individual or persons alleged to have violated a section or sections of this Subchapter.

(f)         As a condition of probation, a sentencing judge may order that the costs incurred by the State Board in investigating and aiding the prosecution of a case be paid to the State Board by the defendant on such terms and conditions as set by the judge.

" 163A-4520.  Issuance of injunctions; special prosecutors named.

(a)        The superior courts of this State shall have jurisdiction to issue injunctions or grant any other equitable relief appropriate to enforce the provisions of this Subchapter upon application by any registered voter of the State.

(b)        If the State Board makes a report to a district attorney under G.S. 163A-4519 and no prosecution is initiated within 45 days after the report is made, any registered voter of the prosecutorial district to whose district attorney a report has been made, or any board of elections in that district, may, by verified affidavit, petition the superior court for that district for the appointment of a special prosecutor to prosecute the individuals or persons who have or who are believed to have violated any section of this Subchapter. Upon receipt of a petition for the appointment of a special prosecutor, the superior court shall issue an order to show cause, directed at the individuals or persons alleged in the petition to be in violation of this Subchapter, why a special prosecutor should not be appointed. If there is no answer to the order, the court shall appoint a special prosecutor. If there is an answer, the court shall hold a hearing on the order, at which both the petitioning and answering parties may be heard, to determine whether a prima facie case of a violation and failure to prosecute exists. If there is such a prima facie case, the court shall so find and shall thereupon appoint a special prosecutor to prosecute the alleged violators. The special prosecutor shall take the oath required of assistant district attorneys by G.S. 7A-63, shall serve as an assistant district attorney pro tem of the appropriate district, and shall prosecute the alleged violators.

" 163A-4521 through 163A-4523:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4524.  Issuance of declaration of nomination or certificate of election.

No declaration of nomination and no certificate of election shall be granted to any candidate until the candidate or that candidate's treasurer has filed the statements referring to the election that are required to be filed under this Subchapter. Within 24 hours after reaching a decision that a declaration of nomination or certificate of election should not be granted, the State Board shall give written notice of that decision, by telegraph or certified mail, to the candidate and the candidate's treasurer. Failure to grant certification shall not affect a successful candidate's title to an office to which that candidate has been otherwise duly elected.

" 163A-4525.  Appeals from State Board; early docketing.

Any candidate for nomination or election who is denied a declaration of nomination or certificate of election, pursuant to G.S. 163A-4524, may, within five days after the action of the State Board under that section, appeal to the Superior Court of Wake County for a final determination of any questions of law or fact which may be involved in the State Board's action. The cause shall be entitled "In the Matter of the Candidacy of ______." It shall be placed on the civil docket of that court and shall have precedence over all other civil actions. In the event of an appeal, the chair of the State Board shall certify the record to the clerk of that court within five days after the appeal is noted.

The record on appeal shall consist of all reports filed by the candidate or treasurer with the State Board pursuant to this Subchapter, and a memorandum of the State Board setting forth with particularity the reasons for its action in denying the candidate a declaration of nomination or certificate of election. Written notice of the appeal shall be given to the State Board by the candidate or that candidate's attorney, and may be effected by mail or personal delivery. On appeal, the cause shall be heard de novo.

" 163A-4526.  Candidates for federal offices to file information reports.

(a)        Candidates for nomination in a party primary or for election in a general or special election to the offices of United States Senator, member of the United States House of Representatives, President, or Vice President of the United States shall file with the State Board all reports they or political committee treasurers or other agents acting for them are required to file under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, P.L. 92-225, as amended (2 U.S.C. section 439). Those reports shall be filed with the State Board at the times required by that act. The State Board shall, with respect to those reports, have the following duties only:

(1)        To receive and maintain in an orderly manner all reports and statements required to be filed with it.

(2)        To preserve reports and statements filed under the Federal Election Campaign Act. Such reports and statements, after a period of two years following the election year, may be transferred to the Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, and shall be preserved for a period of 10 years or for such period as may be required by federal law.

(3)        To make the reports and statements filed with it available for public inspection and copying during regular office hours, commencing as soon as practicable but not later than the end of the day during which they were received, and to permit copying of any such report or statement by hand or by duplicating machine, requested by any individual, at the expense of such individual.

(4)        To compile and maintain a current list of all statements or parts of statements pertaining to each candidate.

(b)        Any duty of a candidate to file and the State Board to receive and make available under this section may be met by an agreement between the State Board and the Federal Election Commission, the effect of which is for the Federal Election Commission to provide promptly to the State Board the information required by this section.

" 163A-4527.  Effect of failure to comply.

The failure to comply with the provisions of this Subchapter shall not invalidate the results of any referendum.

" 163A-4528:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4529:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

"Part 2. Contributions and Expenditures.

" 163A-4530.  Appointment of political treasurers.

(a)        Each candidate, political committee, and referendum committee shall appoint a treasurer and, under verification, report the name and address of the treasurer to the State Board. Only an individual who resides in North Carolina shall be appointed as a treasurer. A candidate may appoint himself or herself, or any other individual, including any relative except a spouse, as treasurer, and, upon failure to file report designating a treasurer, the candidate shall be concluded to have appointed himself or herself as treasurer and shall be required to personally fulfill the duties and responsibilities imposed upon the appointed treasurer and subject to the penalties and sanctions hereinafter provided.

(b)        Each appointed treasurer shall file with the State Board at the time required by G.S. 163A-4532(a)(1) a statement of organization that includes all of the following:

(1)        The name, address, and purpose of the candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. - When the political committee or referendum committee is created pursuant to G.S. 163A-4557(d), the name shall be or include the name of the business entity whose officials, employees, or members established the committee. When the political committee or referendum committee is not created pursuant to G.S. 163A-4557(d), the name shall be or include the economic interest, if identifiable, principally represented by the committee's organizers or intended to be advanced by use of the committee's receipts.

(2)        The names, addresses, and relationships of affiliated or connected candidates, political committees, referendum committees, political parties, or similar organizations.

(3)        The territorial area, scope, or jurisdiction of the candidate, political committee, or referendum committee.

(4)        The name, address, and position with the candidate or political committee of the custodian of books and accounts.

(5)        The name and party affiliation of the candidate(s) whom the committee is supporting or opposing, and the office(s) involved.

(6)        The name of the referendum(s) which the referendum committee is supporting or opposing and whether the committee is supporting or opposing the referendum.

(7)        The name of the political committee or political party being supported or opposed if the committee is supporting the ticket of a particular political or political party.

(8)        A listing of all banks, safety deposit boxes, or other depositories used, including the names and numbers of all accounts maintained and the numbers of all such safety deposit boxes used, provided that the State Board shall keep any account number included in any report filed after March 1, 2003, and required by this Article confidential except as necessary to conduct an audit or investigation, except as required by a court of competent jurisdiction, or unless confidentiality is waived by the treasurer. Disclosure of an account number in violation of this subdivision shall not give rise to a civil cause of action. This limitation of liability does not apply to the disclosure of account numbers in violation of this subdivision as a result of gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing that would otherwise be actionable.

(9)        The name or names and address or addresses of any assistant treasurers appointed by the treasurer. Such assistant treasurers shall be authorized to act in the name of the candidate, political committee, or referendum committee and shall be fully responsible for any act or acts committed by the assistant treasurer. The treasurer shall be fully liable for any violation of this Subchapter committed by any assistant treasurer.

(10)      Any other information which might be requested by the State Board that deals with the campaign organization of the candidate or referendum committee.

(c)        Any change in information previously submitted in a statement of organization shall be reported to the State Board within a 10-day period following the change.

(d)        A candidate, political committee, or referendum committee may remove the appointed treasurer of that candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. In case of the death, resignation, or removal of the treasurer before compliance with all obligations of a treasurer under this Article, such candidate, political committee, or referendum committee shall appoint a successor within 10 days of the vacancy of such office, and certify the name and address of the successor in the manner provided in the case of an original appointment.

(e)        Every treasurer of a referendum committee shall receive, prior to every election in which the referendum committee is involved, training from the State Board as to the duties of the office, including the requirements of G.S. 163A-4541(h), provided that the treasurer may designate an employee or volunteer of the committee to receive the training.

(f)         Every treasurer of a political committee shall participate in training as to the duties of the office within three months of appointment and at least once every four years thereafter. The State Board shall provide the training as to the duties of the office in person, through regional seminars, and through interactive electronic means. The treasurer may designate an assistant treasurer to participate in the training, if one is named under subdivision (b)(9) of this section. The treasurer may choose to participate in training prior to each election in which the political committee is involved. All such training shall be free of charge to the treasurer and assistant treasurer.

" 163A-4531.  Detailed accounts to be kept by political treasurers.

(a)        The treasurer of each candidate, political committee, and referendum committee shall keep detailed accounts, current within not more than seven days after the date of receiving a contribution or making an expenditure, of all contributions received and all expenditures made by or on behalf of the candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. The accounts shall include the information required by the State Board on its forms.

(b)        Accounts kept by the treasurer of a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee or the accounts of a treasurer or political committee at any bank or other depository listed under G.S. 163A-4530(b)(8), may be inspected, before or after the election to which the accounts refer, by a member, designee, agent, attorney, or employee of the State Board who is making an investigation pursuant to G.S. 163A-4506.

(c)        All expenditures for communications media expenses shall be made by a verifiable form of payment. The State Board shall prescribe methods to ensure an audit trail for every expenditure so that the identity of each payee can be determined. All communications media expenditures in any amount shall be accounted for and reported individually and separately with specific descriptions to provide a reasonable understanding of the expenditure.

(d)        All expenditures for nonmedia expenses (except postage) of more than fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be made by a verifiable form of payment. The State Board shall prescribe methods to ensure an audit trail for every expenditure so that the identity of each payee can be determined. All expenditures for nonmedia expenses of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less may be made by check or by cash payment. All nonmedia expenditures of more than fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be accounted for and reported individually and separately with a specific description to provide a reasonable understanding of the expenditure, but expenditures of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less may be accounted for and reported in an aggregated amount, but in that case the treasurer shall account for and report that the treasurer made expenditures of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less each, the amounts, dates, and the purposes for which made. In the case of a nonmedia expenditure required to be accounted for individually and separately with a specific description to provide a reasonable understanding of the expenditure by this subsection, if the expenditure was to an individual, the report shall list the name and address of the individual.

(e)        All proceeds from loans shall be recorded separately with a detailed analysis reflecting the amount of the loan, the source, the period, the rate of interest, and the security pledged, if any, and all makers and endorsers.

(f)         The treasurer shall maintain all moneys of the political committee in a bank account or bank accounts used exclusively by the political committee and shall not commingle those funds with any other moneys.

" 163A-4532.  Statements filed with State Board.

(a)        Except as provided in G.S. 163A-4534, the treasurer of each candidate and of each political committee shall file with the State Board under certification of the treasurer as true and correct to the best of the knowledge of that officer the following reports:

(1)        Organizational report. - The appointment of the treasurer as required by G.S. 163A-4530(a), the statement of organization required by G.S. 163A-4530(b), and a report of all contributions and expenditures not previously reported shall be filed with the State Board no later than the 10th day following the day the candidate files notice of candidacy or the 10th day following the organization of the political committee, whichever occurs first. Any candidate whose campaign is being conducted by a political committee which is handling all contributions and expenditures for that candidate's campaign shall file a statement with the State Board stating such fact at the time required herein for the organizational report. Thereafter, the candidate's political committee shall be responsible for filing all reports required by law.

(2)        48-hour report. - A political committee or political party that receives a contribution or transfer of funds shall disclose within 48 hours of receipt a contribution or transfer of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more received before an election but after the period covered by the last report due before that election. The disclosure shall be by report to the State Board identifying the source and amount of the funds. The State Board shall specify the form and manner of making the report, including the reporting of in-kind contributions.

(3)        Quarterly reports. - During even-numbered years during which there is an election for that candidate or in which the campaign committee is supporting or opposing a candidate, the treasurer shall file a report by mailing or otherwise delivering it to the State Board no later than seven working days after the end of each calendar quarter covering the prior calendar quarter, except that:

a.         The report for the first quarter shall also cover the period in April through the 17th day before the primary, the first quarter report shall be due seven days after that date, and the second quarter report shall not include that period if a first quarter report was required to be filed.

b.         The report for the third quarter shall also cover the period in October through the 17th day before the election, the third quarter report shall be due seven days after that date, and the fourth quarter report shall not include that period if a third quarter report was required to be filed.

(4)        Semiannual reports. - If contributions are received or expenditures made for which no reports are otherwise required by this Article, any and all such contributions and expenditures shall be reported by the last Friday in July, covering the period through the last day of June, and shall be reported by the last Friday in January, covering the period through the last day of December.

(b)        Except as otherwise provided in this Article, each report shall be current within seven days prior to the date the report is due and shall list all contributions received and expenditures made which have not been previously reported.

(c)        Candidates and committees for municipal offices are not subject to subsections (a) and (b) of this section, unless they make contributions or expenditures concerning elections covered by this Part. Reports for those candidates and committees are covered by Part 4 of this Article.

(d)        Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, any political party (including a State, district, county, or precinct committee thereof) which is required to file reports under those subsections and under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (2 U.S.C. 434), shall, instead of filing the reports required by those subsections, file with the State Board all of the following:

(1)        The organizational report required by subsection (a)(1) of this section.

(2)        A copy of each report required to be filed under 2 U.S.C. 434, such copy to be filed on the same day as the federal report is required to be filed.

(e)        Any report filed under subsection (d) of this section may include matter required by the federal law but not required by this Article.

(f)         Any report filed under subsection (d) of this section shall contain all the information required by G.S. 163A-4540, notwithstanding that the federal law may set a higher reporting threshold.

(g)        Any report filed under subsection (d) of this section may reflect the cumulative totals required by G.S. 163A-4540 in an attachment, if the federal law does not permit such information in the body of the report.

(h)        Any report or attachment filed under subsection (d) of this section shall be certified.

(i)         Treasurers for the following entities shall electronically file each report required by this section that shows a cumulative total for the election cycle in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) in contributions, in expenditures, or in loans, according to rules adopted by the State Board:

(1)        A candidate for statewide office.

(2)        A State, district, county, or precinct executive committee of a political party, if the committee makes contributions or independent expenditures in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) that affect contests for statewide office.

(3)        A political committee that makes contributions in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) to candidates for statewide office or makes independent expenditures in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) that affect contests for statewide office.

The State Board shall provide the software necessary to file an electronic report to a treasurer required to file an electronic report at no cost to the treasurer.

(j)         All reports under this section shall be filed by a treasurer or assistant treasurer who has completed all training as to the duties of the office required by G.S. 163A-4530(f).

" 163A-4533.  Statements filed by referendum committees.

(a)        The treasurer of each referendum committee shall file under verification with the State Board the following reports:

(1)        Organizational report. - The appointment of the treasurer as required by G.S. 163A-4530(a), the statement of organization required by G.S. 163A-4530(b), and a report of all contributions and expenditures shall be filed with the State Board no later than the 10th day following the organization of the referendum committee.

(2)        Pre-referendum report. - The treasurer shall file a report with the State Board no later than the 10th day preceding the referendum.

(3)        48-hour report. - A referendum committee that receives a contribution or transfer of funds shall disclose within 48 hours of receipt a contribution or transfer of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more received before a referendum but after the period covered by the last report due before that referendum. The disclosure shall be by report to the State Board identifying the source and amount of such funds. The State Board shall specify the form and manner of making the report, including the reporting of in-kind contributions.

(4)        Final report. - The treasurer shall file a final report no later than the 10th day after the referendum. If the final report fails to disclose a final accounting of all contributions and expenditures, a supplemental final report shall be filed no later than January 7, after the referendum, and shall be current through December 31 after the referendum.

(5)        Annual reports. - If contributions are received or expenditures made during a calendar year for which no reports are otherwise required by this Article, any and all such contributions and expenditures shall be reported by January 7 of the following year.

(b)        Except as otherwise provided in this Article, each report shall be current within seven days prior to the date the report is due and shall list all contributions received and expenditures made which have not been previously reported.

" 163A-4534.  Threshold of one thousand dollars for financial reports for certain candidates.

(a)        Notwithstanding any other provision of this Chapter, a candidate for a county office, municipal office, local school board office, soil and water conservation district board of supervisors, or sanitary district board shall be exempted from the reports of contributions, loans, and expenditures required in G.S. 163A-4532(a), 163A-4578, 163A-4579, 163A-4580, and 163A-4581 if to further the candidate's campaign that candidate:

(1)        Does not receive more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) in contributions.

(2)        Does not receive more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) in loans.

(3)        Does not spend more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

To qualify for the exemption from those reports, the candidate's treasurer shall file a certification that the candidate does not intend to receive in contributions or loans or expend more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) to further the candidate's campaign. The certification shall be filed with the State Board at the same time the candidate files the candidate's organizational report as required in G.S. 163A-4530, 163A-4532, and 163A-4577. If the candidate's campaign is being conducted by a political committee which is handling all contributions, loans, and expenditures for the candidate's campaign, the treasurer of the political committee shall file a certification of intent to stay within the threshold amount. If the intent to stay within the threshold changes, or if the one-thousand-dollar ($1,000) threshold is exceeded, the treasurer shall immediately notify the State Board and shall be responsible for filing all reports required in G.S. 163A-4532 and 163A-4578, 163A-4579, 163A-4580, and 163A-4581; provided that any contribution, loan, or expenditure which would have been required to be reported on an earlier report but for this section shall be included on the next report required after the intent changes or the threshold is exceeded.

(b)        The exemption from reporting in subsection (a) of this section applies to political party committees under the same terms as for candidates, except that the term "to further the candidate's campaign" does not relate to a political party committee's exemption, and all contributions, expenditures, and loans during an election shall be counted against the political party committee's threshold amount.

" 163A-4535.  Regulations regarding timing of contributions and expenditures.

Except as provided in G.S. 163A-4502(22) and G.S. 163A-4555, no contribution may be received or expenditure made by or on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee:

(1)        Until the candidate, political committee, or referendum committee appoints a treasurer and certifies the name and address of the treasurer to the State Board.

(2)        Unless the contribution is received or the expenditure made by or through the treasurer of the candidate, political committee, or referendum committee.

" 163A-4536 through 163A-4537:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4538.  Procedure for inactive candidate or  committee.

If no contribution is received or expenditure made by or on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee during a period described in G.S. 163A-4532, the treasurer shall file with the State Board, at the time required by G.S. 163A-4532, a statement to that effect and it shall not be required that any inactive candidate or committee so filing a report of inactivity file any additional reports required by G.S. 163A-4532 so long as the candidate or committee remains inactive.

" 163A-4539:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4540.  Contents of treasurer's statement of receipts and expenditures.

(a)        Statements filed pursuant to provisions of this Article shall set forth the following:

(1)        Contributions. - Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a list of all contributions received by or on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. The statement shall list the name and complete mailing address of each contributor, the amount contributed, the principal occupation of the contributor, and the date such contribution was received. The total sum of all contributions to date shall be plainly exhibited. Forms for required reports shall be prescribed by the State Board. As used in this section, "principal occupation of the contributor" means the contributor's:

a.         Job title or profession.

b.         Employer's name or employer's specific field of business activity.

The State Board shall prepare a schedule of specific fields of business activity, adapting or modifying as it deems suitable the business activity classifications of the Internal Revenue Code or other relevant classification schedules. In reporting a contributor's specific field of business activity, the treasurer shall use the classification schedule prepared by the State Board.

(2)        Expenditures. - A list of all expenditures required under G.S. 163A-4531 made by or on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. The statement shall list the name and complete mailing address of each payee, the amount paid, the purpose, and the date such payment was made. The total sum of all expenditures to date shall be plainly exhibited. Forms for required reports shall be prescribed by the State Board. In accounting for all expenditures in accordance with G.S. 163A-4531(c) and G.S. 163A-4531(d), the payee shall be the individual or business entity to whom the candidate, political committee, or referendum committee is obligated to make the expenditure. If the expenditure is to a financial institution for revolving credit or a reimbursement for a payment to a financial institution for revolving credit, the statement shall also include a specific itemization of the goods and services purchased with the revolving credit. If the obligation is for more than one good or service, the statement shall include a specific itemization of the obligation so as to provide a reasonable understanding of the obligation.

(3)        Loans. - Every candidate and treasurer shall attach to the campaign transmittal submitted with each report an addendum listing all proceeds derived from loans for funds used or to be used in this campaign. The addendum shall be in the form as prescribed by the State Board and shall list the amount of the loan, the source, the period, the rate of interest, and the security pledged, if any, and all makers and endorsers.

(b)        Threshold for Reporting Identity of Contributor. - A treasurer shall not be required to report the name, address, or principal occupation of any individual who contributes fifty dollars ($50.00) or less to the treasurer's committee during an election as defined in G.S. 163A-4541. The State Board shall provide on its reporting forms for the reporting of contributions below that threshold. On those reporting forms, the State Board may require date and amount of contributions below the threshold, but may treat differently for reporting purposes contributions below the threshold that are made in different modes and in different settings.

(c)        Statements shall reflect anything of value paid for or contributed by any individual or business entity both as a contribution and expenditure. A political party executive committee that makes an expenditure that benefits a candidate or group of candidates shall report the expenditure, including the date, amount, and purpose of the expenditure and the name of and office sought by the candidate or candidates on whose behalf the expenditure was made. A candidate who benefits from the expenditure shall report the expenditure or the proportionate share of the expenditure from which the candidate benefitted as an in-kind contribution if the candidate or the candidate's committee has coordinated with the political party executive committee concerning the expenditure.

(d)        Best Efforts. - When a treasurer shows that best efforts have been used to obtain, maintain, and submit the information required by this Article for the candidate or political committee, any report of that candidate or committee shall be considered in compliance with this Article and shall not be the basis for criminal prosecution or the imposition of civil penalties, other than forfeiture of a contribution improperly accepted under this Article. The State Board shall promulgate rules that specify what are "best efforts" for purposes of this Article, adapting as it deems suitable the provisions of 11 C.F.R. 104.7. The rules shall include a provision that if the treasurer, after complying with this Article and the rules, does not know the occupation of the contributor, it shall suffice for the treasurer to report "unable to obtain."

" 163A-4541.  Limitation on contributions.

(a)        No individual, political committee, or other entity shall contribute to any candidate or other political committee any money or make any other contribution in any election in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for that election.

(b)        No candidate or political committee shall accept or solicit any contribution from any individual, other political committee, or other entity of any money or any other contribution in any election in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for that election.

(c)        Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, it shall be lawful for a candidate or a candidate's spouse, parents, brothers, and sisters to make a contribution to the candidate or to the candidate's treasurer of any amount of money or to make any other contribution in any election in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for that election.

(d)        For the purposes of this section, the term "an election" means any primary, second primary, or general election in which the candidate or political committee may be involved, without regard to whether the candidate is opposed or unopposed in the election, except that where a candidate is not on the ballot in a second primary, that second primary is not "an election" with respect to that candidate.

(e)        Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a candidate or political committee may accept a contribution knowing that the contribution is to be reimbursed to the entity making the contribution and knowing the candidate or political committee has funds sufficient to reimburse the entity making the contribution if all of the following conditions are met:

(1)        The entity submits sufficient information of the contribution to the candidate or political committee for reimbursement within 45 days of the contribution.

(2)        The candidate or political committee makes a reimbursement to the entity making the contribution within seven days of submission of sufficient information.

(3)        The candidate or political committee indicates on its report under G.S. 163A-4540 that the good, service, or other item resulting in the reimbursement is an expenditure of the candidate or political committee and notes if the contribution was by credit card.

(4)        The contribution does not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00).

(f)         Any contribution, or portion thereof, made under subsection (e) of this section that is not submitted for reimbursement in accordance with subsection (e) of this section shall be treated as a contribution for purposes of this section. Any contribution, or portion thereof, made under subsection (e) of this section that is not reimbursed in accordance with subsection (e) of this section shall be treated as a contribution for purposes of this section.

(g)        Except as provided in subsections (i), (j), and (k) of this section, this section shall not apply to any national, State, district, or county executive committee of any political party. For the purposes of this section only, the term "political party" means only those political parties officially recognized under G.S. 163-96.

(h)        No referendum committee which received any contribution from a corporation, labor union, insurance company, business entity, or professional association may make any contribution to another referendum committee, to a candidate, or to a political committee.

(i)         In order to make meaningful the provisions of Article 47 of this Chapter, the following provisions shall apply with respect to candidates for justice of the Supreme Court and judge of the Court of Appeals:

(1)        No candidate shall accept, and no contributor shall make to that candidate, a contribution in any election exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) except as provided for elsewhere in this subsection.

(2)        A candidate may accept, and a family contributor may make to that candidate, a contribution not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000) in an election if the contributor is that candidate's parent, child, brother, or sister.

As used in this subsection, the term "candidate" also includes a candidate campaign committee. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a candidate or the spouse of that candidate from making a contribution or loan secured entirely by that individual's assets to that candidate's own campaign.

(j)         Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, no candidate for superior court judge or district court judge shall accept, and no contributor shall make to that candidate, a contribution in any election exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), except as provided in subsection (c) of this section. As used in this subsection, "candidate" is also a political committee authorized by the candidate for that candidate's election. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a candidate or the spouse of that candidate from making a contribution or loan secured entirely by that individual's assets to that candidate's own campaign.

(k)        In order to make meaningful the provisions of the North Carolina Voter-Owned Elections Act, as set forth in Article 48 of this Chapter, no candidate for an office subject to that Article shall accept, and no contributor shall make to that candidate, a contribution during the period beginning 21 days before the day of the general election and ending the day after the general election if that contribution causes the candidate to exceed the "trigger for matching funds" defined in G.S. 163A-4802(14). As used in this subsection, the term "candidate" also includes "candidate campaign committee." Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a candidate from making a contribution or loan secured entirely by that candidate's assets to that candidate's own campaign or to a political committee, the principal purpose of which is to support that candidate's campaign. This subsection applies with respect to a candidate only if both of the following statements are true regarding that candidate:

(1)        That candidate is opposed in the general election by a certified candidate as defined in Article 48 of this Chapter.

(2)        That certified candidate has not received the maximum matching funds available under G.S. 163A-4810(c).

The recipient of a contribution that apparently violates this subsection has three days to return the contribution or file a detailed statement with the State Board explaining why the contribution does not violate this subsection.

(l)         The contribution limits of subsections (a) and (b) of this section do not apply to contributions made to an independent expenditure political committee. For purposes of this section, an "independent expenditure political committee" is a political committee whose treasurer makes and abides by a certification to the State Board that the political committee does not and will not make contributions, directly or indirectly, to candidates or to political committees that make contributions to candidates. The State Board shall provide forms for implementation of this subsection. This subsection shall not apply to a candidate or a political committee controlled by a candidate. The exception of this subsection is in addition to any other exception provided by law.

(m)       Any individual, candidate, political committee, referendum committee, or other entity that violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

" 163A-4542.  Limitation on fund-raising during legislative session.

(a)        Definitions. - For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)        "Limited contributor" means a lobbyist registered under Article 5 of this Chapter, that lobbyist's agent, that lobbyist's principal as defined in G.S. 163A-200(30), or a political committee that employs or contracts with or whose parent entity employs or contracts with a lobbyist registered under Article 5 of this Chapter.

(2)        "Limited contributee" means a member of or candidate for the Council of State, or a member of or candidate for the General Assembly.

(3)        The General Assembly is in "regular session" from the date set by law or resolution that the General Assembly convenes until the General Assembly either adjourns sine die or recesses or adjourns for more than 10 days.

(4)        A contribution is "made" during regular session if the check or other instrument is dated during the session, or if the check or other instrument is delivered to the limited contributee during session, or if the limited contributor pledges during the session to deliver the check or other instrument at a later time.

(5)        A contribution is "accepted" during regular session if the check or other instrument is dated during the session, or if the limited contributee receives the check or other instrument during session and does not return it within 10 days, or agrees during session to receive the check or other instrument at a later time.

(b)        Prohibited Solicitations. - While the General Assembly is in regular session, no limited contributee or the real or purported agent of a limited contributee shall:

(1)        Solicit a contribution from a limited contributor to be made to that limited contributee or to be made to any other candidate, officeholder, or political committee; or

(2)        Solicit a third party, requesting or directing that the third party directly or indirectly solicit a contribution from a limited contributor or relay to the limited contributor the limited contributee's solicitation of a contribution.

It shall not be deemed a violation of this section for a limited contributee to serve on a board or committee of an organization that makes a solicitation of a limited contributor as long as that limited contributee does not directly participate in the solicitation and that limited contributee does not directly benefit from the solicitation.

(c)        Prohibited Contributions. - While the General Assembly is in regular session:

(1)        No limited contributor shall make or offer to make a contribution to a limited contributee.

(2)        No limited contributor shall make a contribution to any candidate, officeholder, or political committee, directing or requesting that the contribution be made in turn to a limited contributee.

(3)        No limited contributor shall transfer any amount of money or anything of value to any entity, directing or requesting that the entity use what was transferred to contribute to a limited contributee.

(4)        No limited contributee or the real or purported agent of a limited contributee prohibited from solicitation by subsection (b) of this section shall accept a contribution from a limited contributor.

(5)        No limited contributor shall solicit a contribution from any individual or political committee on behalf of a limited contributee. This subdivision does not apply to a limited contributor soliciting a contribution on behalf of a political party executive committee if the solicitation is solely for a separate segregated fund kept by the political party limited to use for activities that are not candidate-specific, including generic voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts, pollings, mailings, and other general activities and advertising that do not refer to a specific individual candidate.

(d)        Exception. - The provisions of this section do not apply with regard to a limited contributee during the three weeks prior to the day of a second primary if that limited contributee is a candidate who will be on the ballot in that second primary.

(e)        Prosecution. - A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

" 163A-4543.  Limitation on lobbyists' contributions.

(a)        No lobbyist may make a contribution as defined in G.S. 163A-4502 to a candidate or candidate campaign committee when that candidate meets any of the following criteria:

(1)        Is a legislator as defined in G.S. 163A-200(26).

(2)        Is a public servant as defined in G.S. 163A-200(40)a. and G.S. 163A-202.

(b)        No lobbyist may collect contributions from multiple contributors, take possession of such multiple contributions, or transfer or deliver the collected multiple contributions to the intended recipient. This section shall apply only to contributions to a candidate or candidate campaign committee when that candidate is a legislator as defined in G.S. 163A-200(26) or a public servant as defined in G.S. 163A-200(40)a.

(c)        This section shall not apply to a lobbyist who has filed a notice of candidacy for office under G.S. 163-106 or Article 11 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes or has been nominated under G.S. 163-114 or G.S. 163-98 and is making a contribution to that lobbyist's candidate campaign committee.

(d)        For purposes of this section, the term "lobbyist" shall mean an individual registered as a lobbyist under Article 5 of this Chapter.

" 163A-4544.  No contributions in names of others; no anonymous contributions; contributions in excess of fifty dollars; no contribution without specific designation of contributor.

(a)        No individual, political committee, or other entity shall make any contribution anonymously or in the name of another. No candidate, political committee, referendum committee, political party, or treasurer shall knowingly accept any contribution made by any individual or business entity in the name of another individual or business entity or made anonymously. If a candidate, political committee, referendum committee, political party, or treasurer receives anonymous contributions or contributions determined to have been made in the name of another, that candidate, political committee, referendum committee, political party, or treasurer shall pay the money over to the State Board, by check, and all such moneys received by the State Board shall be deposited in the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund of the State of North Carolina. This subsection shall not apply to any contribution by an individual with the lawful authority to act on behalf of another individual, whether through power of attorney, trustee, or other lawful authority.

(b)        No entity shall make, and no candidate, committee, or treasurer shall accept, any monetary contribution in excess of fifty dollars ($50.00) unless such contribution is in the form of a check, draft, money order, credit card charge, debit, or other noncash method that can be subject to written verification. No contribution in the form of check, draft, money order, credit card charge, debits, or other noncash method may be made or accepted unless it contains a specific designation of the intended contributee chosen by the contributor. The State Board may prescribe guidelines as to the reporting and verification of any method of contribution payment allowed under this Article. For contributions by money order, the State Board shall prescribe methods to ensure an audit trail for every contribution so that the identity of the contributor can be determined. For a contribution made by credit card, the credit card account number of a contributor is not a public record.

(c)        No political committee or referendum committee shall make any contribution unless in doing so it reports to the recipient the contributor's name as required in G.S. 163A-4530(b)(1).

" 163A-4545.  No acceptance of contributions made by corporations, foreign and domestic, or other prohibited sources.

(a)        No candidate, political committee, political party, or treasurer shall accept any contribution made by any corporation, foreign or domestic, regardless of whether such corporation does business in the State of North Carolina, or made by any business entity, labor union, professional association, or insurance company. This section does not apply with regard to entities permitted to make contributions by G.S. 163A-4557(h).

(b)        A candidate or political committee may accept a contribution knowing that the contribution is the proceeds of a loan made in the ordinary course of business by a financial institution if all of the following conditions are met:

(1)        The full amount of the loan is secured by collateral placed, or by guaranties given, by one or more individuals or entities who are not prohibited by this Article from making contributions to the candidate or political committee. The value of the collateral posted by each individual or entity, or the amount of each guaranty, may not exceed the contribution limitations applicable under this Article to each individual or entity. The value of collateral posted may exceed the contribution limitations applicable under this Article in cases where the amount of the loan secured by that collateral does not exceed the contribution limitations applicable to the individual or entity.

(2)        During the time that any loan remains outstanding and unpaid, then the value of any collateral posted, or the amount of each guaranty, for that loan shall be considered to be a contribution by the individual or entity securing the loan. If the loan, or any portion of the loan, is repaid to the financial institution by the candidate or political committee to whom the loan was made during the contribution limitation period for the same "election" as defined in G.S. 163A-4541(d) in which the loan was made, the individual or entity securing the loan shall be eligible to further contribute to that candidate or political committee up to the amount of the repayment. If multiple individuals or entities secured the loan that is repaid to the financial institution by the candidate or political committee, then the amount repaid shall be prorated amongst the multiple individuals or entities.

(3)        If the loan is to the candidate or political committee, only the candidate, the candidate's spouse, or the political committee to whom the loan was made may repay the loan.

(c)        The State Board shall develop forms for reporting the proceeds of loans in a full and accurate manner.

" 163A-4546:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4547:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4548.  Restriction on use of State funds by declared candidate for Council of State for advertising or public service announcements using their names, pictures, or voices.

After December 31 prior to a general election in which a Council of State office will be on the ballot, no declared candidate for that Council of State office shall use or permit the use of State funds for any advertisement or public service announcement in a newspaper, on radio, or on television that contains that declared candidate's name, picture, or voice, except in case of State or national emergency and only if the announcement is reasonably necessary to that candidate's official function. For purposes of this section, "declared candidate" means someone who has publicly announced an intention to run for a Council of State office.

" 163A-4549.  Gifts from federal political committees.

It shall be permissible for a federal political committee, as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, to make contributions to a North Carolina candidate or political committee registered under this Article with the State Board or a county board of elections, provided that the contributing committee does all the following:

(1)        Is registered with the State Board consistent with the provisions of this Article.

(2)        Complies with reporting requirements specified by the State Board. Those requirements shall not be more stringent than those required of North Carolina political committees registered under this Article, unless the federal political committee makes any contribution to a North Carolina candidate or political committee in any election in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for that election. "Election" shall be as defined in G.S. 163A-4541(d).

(3)        Makes its contributions within the limits specified in this Article.

(4)        Appoints an assistant or deputy treasurer who is a resident of North Carolina and stipulates to the State Board that the designated in-State resident assistant or deputy treasurer shall be authorized to produce whatever records reflecting political activity in North Carolina the State Board deems necessary.

" 163A-4550.  Campaign sales by political party executive committees.

(a)        Exempt Purchase Price Not Treated As "Contribution." - Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 163A-4502(6), the purchase price of goods or services sold by a political party executive committee as provided in subsection (b) of this section shall not be treated as a "contribution" for purposes of account keeping under G.S. 163A-4531, for purposes of the reporting of contributions under G.S. 163A-4540, or for the purpose of the limit on contributions under G.S. 163A-4541. The treasurer is not required to obtain, maintain, or report the name or other identifying information of the purchaser of the goods or services, as long as the requirements of subsection (b) of this section are satisfied. However, the proceeds from the sales of those goods and services shall be treated as contributions for other purposes, and expenditures of those proceeds shall be reported as expenditures under this Article.

(b)        Exempt Purchase Price. - A purchase price for goods or services sold by a political party executive committee qualifies for the exemption provided in subsection (a) of this section as long as the sale of the goods or services adheres to a plan that the treasurer has submitted to and that has been approved in writing by the Executive Director of the State Board. The Executive Director shall approve the treasurer's plan upon, and only upon, finding that all the following requirements are satisfied:

(1)        That the price to be charged for the goods or services is reasonably close to the market price for the goods or services.

(2)        That the total amount to be raised from sales under all plans by the committee does not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per election cycle.

(3)        That no purchaser makes total purchases under the plan that exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).

(4)        That the treasurer include in the report under G.S. 163A-4540, covering the relevant time period, all of the following:

a.         A description of the plan.

b.         The amount raised from sales under the plan.

c.         The number of purchases made.

(5)        That the treasurer shall include in the appropriate report under G.S. 163A-4540 any in-kind contribution made to the political party executive committee in providing the goods or services sold under the plan and that no in-kind contribution accepted as part of the plan violates any provision of this Article.

(c)        The Executive Director may require a format for submission of a plan, but that format shall not place undue paperwork burdens upon the treasurer.

" 163A-4551 through 163A-4554:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4555.  Special reporting of contributions and independent expenditures.

(a)        Subject to G.S. 163A-4571 and G.S. 163A-4544, individuals, business entities, and other entities not otherwise prohibited from doing so may make independent expenditures. In the event an individual, business entity, or other entity making independent expenditures but not otherwise required to report them makes independent expenditures in excess of one hundred dollars ($100.00), that individual, business entity, or entity shall file a statement of such independent expenditure with the appropriate board of elections in the manner prescribed by the State Board.

(b)        Any business entity or other entity other than an individual that is permitted to make contributions but is not otherwise required to report them shall report each contribution in excess of one hundred dollars ($100.00) with the appropriate board of elections in the manner prescribed by the State Board.

(c)        In assuring compliance with subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the State Board shall require the identification of each business entity or other entity making a donation of more than one hundred dollars ($100.00) to the business entity or other entity filing the report if the donation was made to further the reported independent expenditure or contribution. If the donor is an individual, the statement shall also contain the principal occupation of the donor. The "principal occupation of the donor" shall mean the same as the "principal occupation of the contributor" as defined in G.S. 163A-4540.

(d)        Contributions or independent expenditures required to be reported under this section shall be reported within 30 days after they exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00) or 10 days before an election the contributions or independent expenditures affect, whichever occurs earlier.

(e)        The State Board shall require subsequent reporting of independent expenditures according to the same schedule required of political committees under G.S. 163A-4532(a). An individual, business entity, or other entity that makes an independent expenditure shall disclose by report to the State Board within 48 hours of incurring an expense of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more or receiving a donation of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more for making an independent expenditure before an election but after the period covered by the last report due before that election.

(f)         For the purposes of subsection (c) of this section, a donation to the individual, business entity, or other entity making the independent expenditure is deemed to have been donated to further the independent expenditure if any of subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection apply. For purposes of this subsection, the "filer" is the business entity or other entity making the independent expenditure and responsible for filing the report, or an agent of that business entity, or other entity. For purposes of this subsection, the "donor" is the individual, business entity or other entity donating to the filer the funds or other thing of value, or an agent of that business entity or other entity.

(1)        The donor designates, requests, or suggests that the donation be used for an independent expenditure or for multiple independent expenditures, and the filer agrees to use the donation for an independent expenditure.

(2)        The filer expressly solicited the donor for a donation for making or paying for an independent expenditure.

(3)        The donor and the filer engaged in substantial written or oral discussion regarding the donor's making, donating, or paying for an independent expenditure.

(4)        The donor or the filer knew or had reason to know of the filer's intent to make independent expenditures with the donation.

A donation shall not be deemed to be made to further an independent expenditure if the donation was a commercial transaction occurring in the ordinary course of business between the donor and the filer unless there is affirmative evidence that the amounts were donated to further an independent expenditure. In determining the amount of a donation that was made to further any particular independent expenditure, there shall be excluded any amount that was designated by the donor with respect to a different election than the election that is the subject of the independent expenditure covered by the report.

Subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection shall also apply to reports made under subsection (c) of this section concerning contributions. However, nothing in this section shall be interpreted to limit the effect of the prohibition on making contributions in the name of another in G.S. 163A-4544.

(g)        All reports required by this section shall be filed according to rules adopted by the State Board. If the expense incurred is greater than five thousand dollars ($5,000), the report shall be filed electronically. The State Board shall provide the software necessary to file the electronic report to any individual, business entity, or other entity required to file an electronic report at no cost to that individual, business entity, or other entity.

" 163A-4556.  Special reporting of electioneering communications.

(a)        Every individual, business entity, or other entity that incurs an expense for the direct costs of producing or airing electioneering communications aggregating in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) shall file the following reports with the appropriate board of elections in the manner prescribed by the State Board:

(1)        The identification of the individual, business entity, or other entity incurring the expense, of any individual, business entity, or other entity sharing or exercising direction or control over the activities of that individual, business entity, or other entity, and of the custodian of the books and accounts of the individual, business entity, or other entity incurring the expense.

(2)        The principal place of business of the individual, business entity, or other entity incurring the expense if not an individual.

(3)        The amount of each expense incurred during the period covered by the statement and the identification of the individual, business entity, or other entity to whom the expense was incurred.

(4)        The elections to which the electioneering communications pertain, if any, and the names, if known, of the candidates identified or to be identified.

(5)        The names and addresses of all entities that donated, to further an electioneering communication or electioneering communications, funds or anything of value whatsoever in an aggregate amount of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) during the reporting period. If the donor is an individual, the statement shall also contain the principal occupation of the donor. The "principal occupation of the donor" shall mean the same as the "principal occupation of the contributor" as defined in G.S. 163A-4540.

(b)        The initial report shall be filed with the State Board no later than the 10th day following the day the individual, business entity, or other entity incurs an expense for the direct costs of producing or airing an electioneering communication. The State Board shall require subsequent reporting according to the same schedule required of political committees under G.S. 163A-4532(a). An individual, business entity, or other entity that produces or airs an electioneering communication shall disclose by report to the State Board within 48 hours of incurring an expense of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more or receiving a donation of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more for making an electioneering communication before an election but after the period covered by the last report due before that election.

(c)        For the purposes of subdivision (a)(5) of this section, a donation to the individual, business entity, or other entity making the electioneering communication is deemed to have been donated to further the electioneering communication if any of subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection apply. For purposes of this subsection, the "filer" is the individual, business entity, or other entity making the electioneering communication and responsible for filing the report, or an agent of that individual, business entity, or other entity. For purposes of this subsection, the "donor" is the individual, business entity, or other entity donating to the filer the funds or other thing of value, or an agent of that individual, business entity, or other entity.

(1)        The donor designates, requests, or suggests that the donation be used for an electioneering communication or electioneering communications, and the filer agrees to use the donation for that purpose.

(2)        The filer expressly solicited the donor for a donation for making or paying for an electioneering communication.

(3)        The donor and the filer engaged in substantial written or oral discussion regarding the donor's making, donating, or paying for an electioneering communication.

(4)        The donor or the filer knew or had reason to know of the filer's intent to make electioneering communication with the donation.

A donation shall not be deemed to be made to further an electioneering communication if the donation was a commercial transaction occurring in the ordinary course of business between the donor and the filer unless there is affirmative evidence that the amounts were donated to further an electioneering communication. In determining the amount of a donation that was made to further any particular electioneering communication, there shall be excluded any amount that was designated by the donor with respect to a different election than the election that is the subject of the electioneering communication covered by the report.

(d)        All reports required by this section shall be filed according to rules adopted by the State Board. If the expense incurred is greater than five thousand dollars ($5,000), the report shall be filed electronically. The State Board shall provide the software necessary to file the electronic report to any individual or business entity required to file an electronic report at no cost to that individual or business entity.

" 163A-4557.  Violations by business entities.

(a)        Except as provided in subsections (d), (e), (g), (h), (i), and (j) of this section, it shall be unlawful for any business entity, directly or indirectly, to do any of the following:

(1)        To make any contribution to a candidate or political committee.

(2)        To pay or use or offer, consent, or agree to pay or use any of its money or property for any contribution to a candidate or political committee.

(3)        To compensate, reimburse, or indemnify any individual or business entity for money or property so used or for any contribution or expenditure so made.

(b)        It shall be unlawful for any officer, director, stockholder, attorney, agent, or member of any business entity to aid, abet, advise, or consent to any such contribution, or for any business entity or individual to solicit or knowingly receive any such contribution. Supporting or opposing the election of clearly identified candidates includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a clearly identified political party. Any officer, director, stockholder, attorney, agent, or member of any business entity aiding or abetting in any contribution made in violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and shall, in addition, be liable to such business entity for the amount of such contribution, and the same may be recovered of that officer, director, stockholder, attorney, agent, or member upon suit by any stockholder or member thereof.

(c)        A transfer of funds shall be deemed to have been a contribution made indirectly if it is made to any committee or political party account, whether inside or outside this State, with the intent or purpose of being exchanged in whole or in part for any other funds to be contributed or expended in an election for North Carolina office or to offset any other funds contributed or expended in an election for North Carolina office.

(d)        Proceeds of loans made in the ordinary course of business by financial institutions may be used for contributions made in compliance with this Chapter. Financial institutions may also grant revolving credit to political committees and referendum committees in the ordinary course of business.

(e)        It shall, however, be lawful for any business entity to communicate with its employees, stockholders, or members and their families on any subject; to conduct nonpartisan registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns aimed at their employees, stockholders, or members and their families; or for officials, employees, or members of any business entity to establish, administer, contribute to, and to receive and solicit contributions to a separate segregated fund to be utilized for political purposes, and those individuals shall be deemed to become and be a political committee as that term is defined in G.S. 163A-4502(22) or a referendum committee as defined in G.S. 163A-4502(27); provided, however, that it shall be unlawful for any such fund to make a contribution or expenditure by utilizing contributions secured by physical force, job discrimination, financial reprisals, or the threat of force, job discrimination, or financial reprisals, or by dues, fees, or other moneys required as a condition of membership or employment or as a requirement with respect to any terms or conditions of employment, including, without limitation, hiring, firing, transferring, promoting, demoting, or granting seniority or employment-related benefits of any kind, or by moneys obtained in any commercial transaction whatsoever.

(f)         A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. In addition, the acceptance of any contribution, reimbursement, or indemnification under subsection (a) of this section shall be a Class 2 misdemeanor.

(g)        Whenever a candidate or treasurer is an officer, director, stockholder, attorney, agent, or employee of any business entity and by virtue of the position therewith uses office space and communication facilities of the business entity in the normal and usual scope of employment, the fact that the candidate or treasurer receives telephone calls, mail, or visits in such office which relates to activities prohibited by this Article shall not be considered a violation under this section.

(h)        Notwithstanding the prohibitions specified in this Article and Article 22 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes, a political committee organized under provisions of this Article shall be entitled to receive, and the business entity designated on the committee's organizational report as the parent entity of the employees or members who organized the committee is authorized to give, reasonable administrative support that shall include record keeping, computer services, billings, mailings to members of the committee, membership development, fund-raising activities, office supplies, office space, and such other support as is reasonably necessary for the administration of the committee.

The approximate cost of any reasonable administrative support shall be submitted to the committee, in writing, and the committee shall include that cost on the report required by G.S. 163A-4532(a)(4). Also included in the report shall be the approximate allocable portion of the compensation of any officer or employee of the business entity who has devoted more than thirty-five percent (35%) of that officer's or employee's time during normal business hours of the business entity the period covered by the required report. The approximate cost submitted by the parent business entity shall be entered on the committee's report as the final entry on its list of "contributions," and a copy of the written approximate cost received by it shall be attached.

The reasonable administrative support given by a business entity shall be designated on the books of the business entity as such and may not be treated by it as a business deduction for State income tax purposes.

(i)         This section does not prohibit a contribution that meets all of the following criteria:

(1)        Has as an express purpose promoting social, educational, or political ideas and not to generate business income.

(2)        Does not have shareholders or other persons which have an economic interest in its assets and earnings.

(3)        Was not established by a business corporation, by an insurance company, by a business entity, including, but not limited to, those chartered under Chapter 55, Chapter 55A, Chapter 55B, or Chapter 58 of the General Statutes, by a professional association, or by a labor union and does not receive substantial revenue from such entities. Substantial revenue is rebuttably presumed to be more than ten percent (10%) of total revenues in a calendar year.

(j)         If a political committee has as its only purpose accepting contributions and making expenditures to influence elections, and that political committee incorporates as a nonprofit corporation to shield its participants from liability created outside this Chapter, that political committee is not considered to be a corporation for purposes of this section. Incorporation of a political committee does not relieve any individual, business entity, or other entity of any liability, duty, or obligation created pursuant to any provision of this Chapter. To obtain the benefits of this subsection, an incorporating political committee shall state exactly the following language as the only purpose for which the corporation can be organized: "to accept contributions and make expenditures to influence elections as a political committee pursuant to G.S. 163A-4502(22) only." No political committee shall do business as a political committee after incorporation unless it has been certified by the State Board as being in compliance with this subsection.

" 163A-4558.  Political party headquarters building funds.

(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 163A-4557, a business entity prohibited by that section from making a contribution may donate to political parties, and political parties may accept from such a business entity, money and other things of value donated to a political party headquarters building fund. Donations to the political party headquarters building fund shall be subject to all the following rules:

(1)        The donations solicited and accepted are designated to the political party headquarters building fund.

(2)        Potential donors to that fund are advised that all donations will be exclusively for the political party headquarters building fund.

(3)        The political party establishes a separate segregated bank account into which shall be deposited only donations for the political party headquarters building fund from business entities prohibited by G.S. 163A-4557 from making contributions.

(4)        The donations deposited in the separate segregated bank account for the political party headquarters building fund will be spent only to purchase a headquarters building, to construct a headquarters building, to renovate a headquarters building, to pay a mortgage on a headquarters building, or to repay donors if a headquarters building is not purchased, constructed, or renovated. Donations deposited into that account shall not be used for headquarters rent, utilities, or equipment other than fixtures.

(5)        The political party executive committee shall report donations to and spending by a political party headquarters building fund on every report required to be made by G.S. 163A-4532. If a committee is excused from making general campaign finance reports under G.S. 163A-4534, that committee shall nonetheless report donations in any amount to and spending in any amount by the political party headquarters building fund at the times required for reports in G.S. 163A-4532.

(b)        If all the criteria set forth in subdivisions (1) through (5) of subsection (a) of this section are complied with, then donations to and spending by a political party headquarters building fund do not constitute contributions or expenditures as defined in G.S. 163A-4502. If those criteria are complied with, then donations may be made to a political party headquarters building fund.

" 163A-4559:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4560.  Use of contributions for certain purposes.

(a)        A candidate or candidate campaign committee may use contributions only for the following purposes:

(1)        Expenditures resulting from the campaign for public office by the candidate or candidate's campaign committee.

(2)        Expenditures resulting from holding public office.

(3)        Donations to an organization described in section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 170(c)), provided that the candidate or the candidate's spouse, children, parents, brothers, or sisters are not employed by the organization.

(4)        Contributions to a national, State, or district or county committee of a political party or a caucus of the political party.

(5)        Contributions to another candidate or candidate's campaign committee.

(6)        To return all or a portion of a contribution to the contributor.

(7)        Payment of any penalties against the candidate or candidate's campaign committee for violation of this Article imposed by a board of elections or a court of competent jurisdiction.

(8)        Payment to the Escheat Fund established by Chapter 116B of the General Statutes.

(9)        Legal expense donation not in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) per calendar year to a legal expense fund established pursuant to Article 60 of this Chapter.

(b)        Contributions made to a candidate or candidate campaign committee do not become a part of the personal estate of the individual candidate. The candidate may file with the board a written designation of those funds that directs to which of the permitted uses in subsection (a) of this section those funds shall be paid in the event of the death or incapacity of the candidate. If the candidate fails to file the written designation before death, the personal representative of the estate may file the written designation within 90 days of the date of death and may only direct those funds to donations under subdivision (a)(3) of this section. After the payment of permitted outstanding debts of the account, the candidate's filed written designation shall control. If the candidate files no such written designation, the funds after payment of permitted outstanding debts shall be distributed in accordance with subdivision (a)(8) of this section.

" 163A-4561.  Contributions allowed.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Subchapter, it is lawful for any business entity to contribute to a referendum committee.

" 163A-4562 through 163A-4564:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4565.  Statements of communications media outlets regarding political advertising.

(a)        Each communications media outlet shall require written authority for each expenditure from each candidate, treasurer, or individual making or authorizing an expenditure. A candidate may authorize advertisement paid for by a treasurer appointed by the candidate. All written authorizations of expenditures signed by a candidate, treasurer, or individual shall be deemed public records, and copies of those written authorizations shall be available for inspection during normal business hours at the office(s) of the communications media outlet making the publication or broadcast nearest to the place(s) of publication or broadcast.

(b)        Each communications media outlet shall require written authority for each independent expenditure or electioneering communication from each individual, business entity, or entity making or authorizing an independent expenditure or electioneering communication. All written authorizations of independent expenditures or electioneering communications shall be deemed public records, and copies of those written authorizations shall be available for inspection during normal business hours at the office(s) of the communications media outlet making the publication or broadcast nearest to the place(s) of publication or broadcast. The written authorization shall include all of the following:

(1)        The name and address of the individual, business entity, or entity making the independent expenditure or electioneering communication.

(2)        The information required by G.S. 163A-4571, provided, however, that the provisions of G.S. 163A-4571(a)(6) and (a)(7) shall not apply to radio or television advertising.

" 163A-4566.  Normal commercial charges for political advertising.

(a)        No communications media and no supplier of materials or services shall charge or require a candidate, treasurer, political party, or individual to pay a charge for advertising, materials, space, or services purchased for or in support of or in opposition to any candidate, political committee, or political party that is higher than the normal charge it requires other customers to pay for comparable advertising, materials, space, or services purchased for other purposes.

(b)        A newspaper, magazine, or other advertising medium shall not charge any candidate, treasurer, political committee, political party, or individual for any advertising for or in support of or in opposition to any candidate, political committee, or political party at a rate higher than the comparable rate charged to other persons for advertising of comparable frequency and volume; and every candidate, treasurer, political party or individual, with respect to political advertising, shall be entitled to the same discounts afforded by the advertising medium to other advertisers under comparable conditions and circumstances.

" 163A-4567 through 163A-4569:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

"Part 3. Disclosure Requirements for Media Advertisements.

" 163A-4570.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Part:

(1)        Advertisement. - Any message appearing in the print media, on television, or on radio that constitutes a contribution or expenditure under this Article.

(2)        Candidate. - Any individual who, with respect to a public office listed in G.S. 163A-4502(25), has filed a notice of candidacy 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-4530 and is required to file periodic financial disclosure statements under G.S. 163A-4532.

(3)        Full-screen. - The only picture appearing on the television screen during the oral disclosure statement contains the disclosing individual, that the picture occupies all visible space on the television screen, and that the image of the disclosing individual occupies at least fifty percent (50%) of the vertical height of the television screen.

(4)        Political action committee. - As defined in G.S. 163A-4502(22), except that "political action committee" does not include any political party or political party organization.

(5)        Political party organization. - Any political party executive committee or any political committee that operates under the direction of a political party executive committee or political party chair.

(6)        Print media. - Billboards, cards, newspapers, newspaper inserts, magazines, mass mailings, pamphlets, fliers, periodicals, and outdoor advertising facilities.

(7)        Radio. - Any radio broadcast station that is subject to the provisions of 47 U.S.C. 315 and 317.

(8)        Scan line. - A standard term of measurement used in the electronic media industry calculating a certain area in a television advertisement.

(9)        Sponsor. - A candidate, candidate committee, political party organization, political action committee, referendum committee, individual, or other entity that purchases an advertisement.

(10)      Television. - 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.

(11)      Unobscured. - The only printed material that may appear on the television screen is a visual disclosure statement required by law, and nothing is blocking the view of the disclosing individual's face.

" 163A-4571.  Basic disclosure requirements for all political advertisements.

(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. 163A-4530(b)(1) or G.S. 163A-4556(a).

(3)        The sponsor states in the advertisement its position for or against a ballot measure, provided that this subdivision applies only if the advertisement is made for or against a ballot measure.

(4)        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.

(5)        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.

(6)        In a print media advertisement supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates that is an independent expenditure, the sponsor discloses the names of the individuals or persons making the five largest donations to the sponsor within the six-month period prior to the purchase of the advertisement if those donations are required to be reported under G.S. 163A-4555.

(7)        In a print media advertisement that is an electioneering communication, the sponsor discloses the names of the individuals or persons making the five largest donations to the sponsor within the six-month period prior to the purchase of the advertisement if those donations are required to be reported under G.S. 163A-4556.

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 (5%) 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. 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. 163A-4519(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.

" 163A-4572.  Disclosure requirements for television and radio advertisements supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates.

(a)        Expanded Disclosure Requirements. - Any political advertisement on radio or television shall comply with the expanded disclosure requirements set forth in this section. To the extent that it provides the same information required by G.S. 163A-4571, a statement made pursuant to this section satisfies the requirements of G.S. 163A-4571 for the same advertisement.

(b)        Disclosure Requirements for Television. -

(1)        Candidate advertisements on television. - Television advertisements purchased by a candidate or by a candidate campaign committee supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the candidate and containing at least the following words: "I am (or "This is____") [name of candidate], candidate for [name of office], and I (or "my campaign____") sponsored this ad." This subdivision applies only to an advertisement that mentions the name of, shows the picture of, transmits the voice of, or otherwise refers to an opposing candidate for the same office as the sponsoring candidate.

(2)        Political party advertisements on television. - Television advertisements purchased by a political party organization supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the chair, executive director, or treasurer of the political party organization and containing at least the following words: "The [name of political party organization] sponsored this ad opposing/supporting [name of candidate] for [name of office]." The disclosed name of the political party organization shall include the name of the political party as it appears on the ballot.

(3)        Political action committee advertisements on television. - Television advertisements purchased by a political action committee supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the chief executive officer or treasurer of the political action committee and containing at least the following words: "The [name of political action committee] political action committee sponsored this ad opposing/supporting [name of candidate] for [name of office]." The name of the political action committee used in the advertisement shall be the name that appears on the statement of organization as required in G.S. 163A-4530(b)(1).

(4)        Advertisements on television by an individual. - Television advertisements purchased by an individual supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the individual and containing at least the following words: "I am [individual's name], and I sponsored this advertisement opposing/supporting [name of candidate] for [name of office]."

(5)        Advertisements on television by another sponsor. - Television advertisements purchased by a sponsor other than a candidate, a candidate campaign committee, a political party organization, a political action committee, or an individual which supports or opposes the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the chief executive or principal decision maker of the sponsor and containing at least the following words: "[name of sponsor] sponsored this ad." If the sponsor is a corporation that has the purpose of promoting social, educational, or political ideas, the advertisement shall also include a legible listing on the screen indicating that the viewer may obtain additional information on the sponsor and the sponsor's donors from the appropriate board of elections, containing at least the following words: "For donor information contact [name of board of elections with whom information filed]."

(6)        All advertisements on television. - In any television advertisement described in subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection, an unobscured, full-screen picture containing the disclosing individual, either in photographic form or through the actual appearance of the disclosing individual on camera, shall be featured throughout the duration of the disclosure statement.

(7)        Electioneering communications on television. - Television advertisements purchased by an individual that are electioneering communications shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the individual and containing at least the following words: "I am [individual's name], and I sponsored this advertisement opposing/supporting [name of candidate] for [name of office]." Television advertisements purchased by a sponsor other than a candidate, a candidate campaign committee, a political party organization, a political action committee, or an individual that are electioneering communications shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the chief executive or principal decision maker of the sponsor and containing at least the following words: "[Name of sponsor] sponsored this ad." If the sponsor is a corporation that has the purpose of promoting social, educational, or political ideas, the advertisement shall also include a legible listing on the screen indicating that the viewer may obtain additional information on the sponsor and the sponsor's donors from the appropriate board of elections, containing at least the following words: "For donor information contact [name of board of elections with whom information filed]."

(c)        Disclosure Requirements for Radio. -

(1)        Candidate advertisements on radio. - Radio advertisements purchased by a candidate or by a candidate campaign committee supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the candidate and containing at least the following words: "I am (or "This is____") [name of candidate], candidate for [name of office], and this ad was paid for (or "sponsored" or "furnished") by [name of candidate campaign committee that paid for the advertisement]." This subdivision applies only to an advertisement that mentions the name of, transmits the voice of, or otherwise refers to an opposing candidate for the same office as the sponsoring candidate.

(2)        Political party advertisements on radio. - Radio advertisements purchased by a political party organization supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the chair, executive director, or treasurer of the political party organization and containing at least the following words: "This ad opposing/supporting [name of candidate] for [name of office] was paid for (or "sponsored" or "furnished") by [name of political party]." The disclosed name of the political party organization shall include the name of the political party as it appears on the ballot.

(3)        Political action committee advertisements on radio. - Radio advertisements purchased by a political action committee supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the chief executive officer or treasurer of the political action committee and containing at least the following words: "This ad opposing/supporting [name of candidate] for [name of office] was paid for (or "sponsored" or "furnished") by [name of political action committee] political action committee." The name of the political action committee used in the advertisement shall be the name that appears on the statement of organization as required by G.S. 163A-4530(b)(1).

(4)        Advertisements on radio by an individual. - Radio advertisements purchased by an individual supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the individual and containing at least the following words: "I am [individual's name], and this ad opposing/supporting [name of candidate] for [name of office] was paid for (or "sponsored" or "furnished") by me."

(5)        Advertisements on radio by another sponsor. - Radio advertisements purchased by a sponsor other than a candidate, a candidate campaign committee, a political party organization, a political action committee, or an individual which supports or opposes the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the chief executive or principal decision maker of the sponsor and containing at least the following words: "[Name of sponsor] paid for (or "sponsored" or "furnished") this ad." If the sponsor is a corporation that has the purpose of promoting social, educational, or political ideas, the advertisement shall also include an aural disclosure indicating that the viewer may obtain additional information on the sponsor and the sponsor's donors from the appropriate board of elections, containing at least the following words: "For donor information contact [name of board of elections with whom information filed]."

(6)        Electioneering communication on the radio. - Radio advertisements purchased by an individual that are electioneering communications shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the individual and containing at least the following words: "I am [individual's name], and this ad opposing/supporting [name of candidate] for [name of office] was paid for (or "sponsored" or "furnished") by me." Radio advertisements purchased by a sponsor other than a candidate, a candidate campaign committee, a political party organization, a political action committee, or an individual that are electioneering communications shall include a disclosure statement spoken by the chief executive or principal decision maker of the sponsor and containing at least the following words: "[Name of sponsor] paid for (or "sponsored" or "furnished") this ad." If the sponsor is a corporation that has the purpose of promoting social, educational, or political ideas, the advertisement shall also include an aural disclosure indicating that the viewer may obtain additional information on the sponsor and the sponsor's donors from the appropriate board of elections, containing at least the following words: "For donor information contact [name of board of elections with whom information filed]."

(d)        Placement of Disclosure Statement in Television and Radio Advertisements. - In advertisements on television, a sponsor may place the disclosure statement required by this section at any point during the advertisement, except that if the duration of the advertisement is more than five minutes, the disclosure statement shall be made both at the beginning and end of the advertisement. The sponsor may provide the oral disclosure statement required by this section at the same time as the visual disclosure required under the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 315 and 317, is shown, but any visual disclosure legend shall be at least four percent (4%) of vertical picture height in size. For advertisements on radio, the placement of the oral disclosure statement shall comply with the requirements of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 315 and 317.

(e)        Choice of Supporting or Opposing a Candidate. - In its oral disclosure statement, a sponsoring political party organization, political action committee, individual, or other noncandidate sponsor shall choose either to identify an advertisement as supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates.

(f)         Joint Sponsors. - If an advertisement described in this section is jointly sponsored, the disclosure statement shall name all the sponsors, and the disclosing individual shall be one of those sponsors. If a candidate is one of the sponsors, that candidate shall be the disclosing individual, and if more than one candidate is the sponsor, at least one of the candidates shall be the disclosing individual.

(g)        Legal Remedy. - Pursuant to the conditions established in subdivisions (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection, a candidate for an elective office who complied with the television and radio disclosure requirements throughout that candidate's entire campaign shall have a monetary remedy in a civil action against (i) an opposing candidate or candidate committee whose television or radio advertisement violates these disclosure requirements and (ii) against any political party organization, political action committee, individual, or other sponsor whose advertisement for that elective office violates these disclosure requirements:

(1)        Any plaintiff candidate in a statewide race in an action under this section shall complete and file a Notice of Complaint Regarding Failure to Disclose on Television or Radio Campaign Advertising with the State Board after the airing of the advertisement but no later than the first Friday after the Tuesday on which the election occurred. Candidates in non-statewide races may file the notice during the same time period with one county board of elections within the electoral area in which they are candidates. The timely filing of this notice preserves the candidate's right to bring an action in superior court any time within 90 days after the election. A candidate shall bring the civil action in the county where the candidate filed the notice.

(2)        Upon receiving a favorable verdict in accordance with existing law, the plaintiff candidate shall receive a monetary award of actual damages. The price of actual damages shall be calculated as the total dollar amount of television and radio advertising time that was aired and that the plaintiff candidate correctly identifies as being in violation of the disclosure requirements of this section.

The plaintiff candidate shall also receive an award that trebles the amount of actual damages if the following conditions apply:

a.         The plaintiff candidate can establish having notified or attempted to notify the sponsor of the advertisement properly by return-receipt mail about the failure of a particular advertisement or advertisements to comply with the disclosure requirements of this section.

b.         After the notice or attempted notice, the advertisement continued to be aired.

The treble damages shall be calculated from the date on which the return-receipt notice was accepted or rejected by a defendant sponsoring candidate or candidate committee, political party organization, political action committee, or individual. The plaintiff candidate or candidate committee shall send a copy of any return-receipt mailing to the relevant board of elections as provided in subdivision (1) of this subsection within five days after the notice is returned to the possession of the candidate or candidate committee.

The plaintiff candidate may bring the civil action personally or authorize his or her candidate campaign committee to bring the civil action.

(3)        A candidate who violates the disclosure requirements of State law in this section and that candidate's campaign committee shall be jointly and severally liable for the payment of damages and attorneys' fees. If the candidate is held personally liable for any payment of damages or attorneys' fees, the candidate for State or local office shall not use or be reimbursed by funds from the candidate's campaign committee in paying any amount.

(h)        Relation to the Communications Act of 1934. - Television advertisements by a sponsor supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates shall comply with the oral disclosure requirements under State law in this section. Those advertisements shall also comply with disclosure requirements under the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 315 and 317, by use of visual legends. The content of those visual legends is specified by the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 315 and 317, and G.S. 163A-4571(a)(1). The size of those visual legends is determined by G.S. 163A-4571(b), which satisfies requirements under the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 315 and 317. In the case of radio advertisements, the oral disclosure requirements under State law in this section incorporate the content requirements under the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 315 and 317.

(i)         No Additional Liability of Television or Radio Outlets. - Television or radio outlets shall not be liable under this Part for carriage of political advertisements that fail to include the disclosure requirements provided for in this Part.

(j)         No Criminal Liability. - Nothing in this section regarding the disclosure requirements in subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall be relied upon or otherwise interpreted to create criminal liability.

" 163A-4573.  Scope of disclosure requirements.

The disclosure requirements of this Part apply to any sponsor of an advertisement in the print media or on radio or television the cost or value of which constitutes an expenditure or contribution required to be disclosed under this Article, except that the disclosure requirements of this Part:

(1)        Do not apply to an individual who makes uncoordinated independent expenditures aggregating less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) in a political campaign.

(2)        Do not apply to an individual who incurs expenses with respect to a referendum.

" 163A-4574:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4575:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

"Part 4. Municipal Campaign Reporting.

" 163A-4576.  Definitions.

When used in this Part, the following definitions also apply:

(1)        Board. - The county board of elections.

(2)        City. - Any incorporated city, town, or village.

" 163A-4577.  Organizational report.

(a)        Each candidate and political committee in a city election shall appoint a treasurer and, under verification, report the name and address of the treasurer to the board. A candidate may appoint himself or herself, or any other individual, including any relative except a spouse, as treasurer. If the candidate fails to designate a treasurer, the candidate shall be deemed to have appointed himself or herself as treasurer. A candidate or political committee may remove the treasurer.

(b)        The organizational report shall state the bank account and number of such campaign fund. Each report required by this Part shall reflect all contributions, expenditures, and loans made in behalf of a candidate. The organizational report shall be filed with the county board of elections within 10 days after the candidate files a notice of candidacy with the county board of elections or within 10 days following the organization of the political committee, whichever occurs first.

" 163A-4578.  Campaign report; partisan election.

In any city election conducted on a partisan basis in accordance with G.S. 163-279(a)(2) and G.S. 163-291, the following reports shall be filed in addition to the organizational report:

(1)        35-day report. - The treasurer shall file a report with the board 35 days before the primary.

(2)        Pre-primary report. - The treasurer shall file a report with the board no later than the 10th day preceding each primary election.

(3)        Preelection report. - The treasurer shall file a report 10 days before the election, unless a second primary is held and the candidate appeared on the ballot in the second primary, in which case the report shall be filed 10 days before the second primary.

(4)        Semiannual reports. - If contributions are received or expenditures made during any part of a calendar year, for which no reports are otherwise required by this section, any and all of those contributions and expenditures shall be reported on semiannual reports due on the last Friday in July, covering the period through June 30, and due on the last Friday in January, covering the period through December 31 of the previous year.

" 163A-4579.  Campaign report; nonpartisan election and runoff.

If any city election conducted under the nonpartisan election and runoff basis in accordance with G.S. 163-279(a)(4) and G.S. 163-293, the following reports shall be filed in addition to the organizational report:

(1)        35-day report. - The treasurer shall file a report with the board 35 days before the election.

(2)        Preelection report. - The treasurer shall file a report with the board 10 days before the election.

(3)        Pre-runoff report. - The treasurer shall file a report with the board 10 days before the runoff if the candidate is in a runoff.

(4)        Semiannual reports. - If contributions are received or expenditures made during any part of a calendar year, for which no reports are otherwise required by this section, any and all of those contributions and expenditures shall be reported on semiannual reports due on the last Friday in July, covering the period through June 30, and due on the last Friday in January, covering the period through December 31 of the previous year.

" 163A-4580.  Campaign report; nonpartisan primary and elections.

In any city election conducted under the nonpartisan primary method in accordance with G.S. 163-279(a)(3) and G.S. 163-294, the following reports shall be filed in addition to the organizational report:

(1)        35-day report. - The treasurer shall file a report with the board 35 days before the primary if the candidate is in a primary or the same length of time before the election if the candidate is not in a primary.

(2)        Pre-primary and preelection reports. - The treasurer shall file a report 10 days before the primary if the candidate is in a primary and 10 days before the election.

(3)        Semiannual reports. - If contributions are received or expenditures made during any part of a calendar year, for which no reports are otherwise required by this section, any and all of those contributions and expenditures shall be reported on semiannual reports due on the last Friday in July, covering the period through June 30, and due on the last Friday in January, covering the period through December 31 of the previous year.

" 163A-4581.  Campaign report; nonpartisan plurality.

In any city election conducted under the nonpartisan plurality method under G.S. 163-279(a)(1) and G.S. 163-292, the following reports shall be filed in addition to the organizational report:

(1)        35-day report. - The treasurer shall file a report with the board 35 days before the election.

(2)        Preelection report. - The treasurer shall file a report 10 days before the election.

(3)        Semiannual reports. - If contributions are received or expenditures made during any part of a calendar year, for which no reports are otherwise required by this section, any and all of those contributions and expenditures shall be reported on semiannual reports due on the last Friday in July, covering the period through June 30, and due on the last Friday in January, covering the period through December 31 of the previous year.

" 163A-4582.  Form of report.

Forms of reports under this Part shall be prescribed by the board.

" 163A-4583.  Content.

Except as otherwise provided in this Part, each report shall be current within seven days prior to the date the report is due and shall list all contributions received and expenditures made which have not been previously reported.

" 163A-4584.  Notice of reports due.

The director of the board shall advise, or cause to be advised, no less than five days nor more than 15 days before each report is due, each candidate or treasurer whose organizational report has been filed under G.S. 163A-4577 of the specific date each report is due. The director shall immediately notify any individual, candidate, treasurer, or political committee to file a statement under this Part if either of the following applies:

(1)        It appears that the individual, candidate, treasurer, or political committee has failed to file a statement as required by law or that a statement filed does not conform to this Part.

(2)        A written complaint is filed under oath with the board by any registered voter of this State alleging that a statement filed with the board does not conform to this Part or to the truth or that an individual, candidate, treasurer, or political committee has failed to file a statement required by this Part.

" 163A-4585.  Part 1 to apply.

(a)        Except as provided in this Part or in G.S. 163A-4532(d), the provisions of Part 1 shall apply to municipal elections covered by this Part.

(b)        G.S. 163A-4506(1) and (9), the first paragraph of G.S. 163A-4507, G.S. 163A-4508, 163A-4524, 163A-4525, 163A-4530, and 163A-4532(a) and (b) shall not apply to this Part.

" 163A-4586.  Other committees report by municipal schedule.

A candidate or political committee that appoints a treasurer under G.S. 163A-4530 shall make reports according to the schedule under this Part if it makes contributions or expenditures concerning municipal elections.

"Article 46.

"Appropriations from the North Carolina Political Parties Financing Fund.

" 163A-4601.  Appropriations in general election years and other years.

(a)        Following the conclusion of the last primary or nominating convention held by a political party in a general election year in which a presidential election is held, the State chair of that political party may apply to the State Board for the disbursement of all funds deposited with the State Treasurer on behalf of that party in the North Carolina Political Parties Financing Fund (Political Parties Fund) to be administered by the State Board and in which shall be placed money contributed by taxpayers, as provided in G.S. 105-159.1. If the regular date set for a primary in G.S. 163-1 or nominating convention in G.S. 163-98 is temporarily postponed for one election year, the State party chair may apply for the disbursement after the regular date set in those sections for that party's primary or convention, even though the primary has not occurred under the temporary schedule. Upon receipt of that application, the State Board shall forthwith, and every 30 days thereafter, pay over to said chair all funds currently held by the State Treasurer on behalf of that chair's political party, provided that all such payments shall cease 30 days after the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has certified all of the results of the general election to the Secretary of State. Upon receipt of that application, the State Board shall pay over to the chair all funds currently held by the State Treasurer in the "Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund" of that party, which funds shall be allocated and disbursed during the presidential election year by the same procedure as the funds received from the Political Parties Fund are allocated. Any remaining funds of the political party in the hands of the State Treasurer shall thereafter be held by the State Treasurer until eligible for distribution pursuant to this section.

(b)        Following the conclusion of the last primary or nominating convention held by a political party in a general election year in which there is not a presidential election, the State chair of the political party may apply to the State Board for the disbursement of all funds deposited on behalf of such party in the Political Parties Fund. If the regular date set for a primary in G.S. 163-1 or nominating convention in G.S. 163-98 is temporarily postponed for one election year, the State party chair may apply for the disbursement after the regular date set in those sections for that party's primary or convention, even though the primary has not occurred under the temporary schedule. Upon receipt of such application, the State Board shall forthwith, and every 30 days thereafter, pay over to said chair all funds currently held by the State Treasurer on behalf of that chair's political party, provided that all such payments to the chair shall cease 30 days after the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has certified all of the results of the general election. Any remaining funds of the political party in the hands of the State Treasurer shall thereafter be held by the State Treasurer until eligible for distribution pursuant to this section.

(c)        In each year in which no general election is held, each State chair of a political party on behalf of which funds have been deposited in the Political Parties Fund may, on or between August 1 and September 1 thereof, apply to the State Board for payment of an amount not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the then available funds credited to the account of that party. Upon receipt of such application, the State Board shall pay over to that State chair an amount not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the then available funds credited to the account of that party. Additionally and upon receipt of that application, the State Board shall direct the State Treasurer to place fifty percent (50%) of those available funds in a separate interest-bearing account to be known as the "Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund of the (name of the party) Party" to be disbursed in accord with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. Any remaining funds of the political party in the hands of the State Treasurer shall thereafter be held by the State Treasurer until eligible for distribution by the State Board pursuant to this section. Any interest earned on the funds deposited in such Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund shall be credited thereto.

" 163A-4602.  Distribution of campaign funds; legitimate expenses permitted.

(a)        In a general election year in which a presidential election is held, every State chair of a political party shall disburse fifty percent (50%) of all funds received from the North Carolina Political Parties Financing Fund to that political party. The remaining fifty percent (50%) of such funds shall be allocated by the special committee established by subsection (d) of this section and used for one or more of the purposes permitted by subsection (e) of this section. Any candidate may elect to decline in whole or in part any funds that the party chooses to distribute to the candidate.

(b)        In a general election year in which there is not a presidential election, every State chair of a political party shall disburse fifty percent (50%) of all funds received from the Political Parties Fund to that political party. The remaining fifty percent (50%) of such funds shall be allocated by the special committee established in subsection (d) of this section and used for one or more of the purposes permitted by subsection (e) of this section. Any candidate may elect to decline in whole or in part any funds that the party chooses to distribute to the candidate.

(c)        In each year in which no general election is held, every State chair of a political party shall disburse all funds received from the Political Parties Fund to that political party.

(d)        The allocation of the remaining fifty percent (50%) of the funds under subsections (a) or (b) of this section shall be made by a committee composed of the State chair of that political party, the treasurer of that party, the congressional district chair of that party, and a number of individuals that shall not exceed the number of congressional districts in North Carolina appointed by the State chair of that party, and the State chair shall serve as chair of this committee. The allocation of funds shall be in the sole discretion of the committee but shall be for a purpose permitted by subsection (e) of this section and, if allocated to a candidate, shall be disbursed by the State chair of that party only to the treasurer of that candidate or committee appointed under Article 45 of this Chapter or under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, Chapter 14 of Title 2, United States Code.

(e)        A political party shall expend funds distributed from the Political Parties Fund or from the "Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund" only for legitimate campaign expenses. By way of illustration, but not by way of limitation, the following are examples of legitimate campaign expenses:

(1)        Radio, television, newspaper, and billboard advertising for and on behalf of a political party or candidate.

(2)        Leaflets, fliers, buttons, and stickers.

(3)        Campaign staff salaries, provided each staff member is listed by name and by the amount paid as salary and the amount paid as campaign expense reimbursement.

(4)        Travel expenses, lodging, and food for candidate and staff.

(5)        Expenses to ensure compliance with federal and State campaign finance and reporting laws.

(6)        Contributions to or expenses on behalf of candidates of that political party.

(7)        Party headquarters operations related to upcoming general elections, including the purchase, maintenance and programming of computers to provide lists of voters, party workers, officers, committee members, and participants in party functions, patterns of voting and other data for use in general election campaigns and party activities and functions prior thereto, the establishment and updating computer file systems of voter registration lists, State, district, county, and precinct officers and committee member lists, party clubs or organization lists, the organizing of voter registration, fund-raising and get-out-the-vote programs at the county level when conducted by State party personnel, and the preparation of reports required to be filed by State and federal laws and systems needed to prepare the same and keep records incident thereto.

(f)         All moneys and funds previously designated by taxpayers being held by the North Carolina Secretary of Revenue and being held by the North Carolina State Treasurer, which moneys and funds have not been disbursed or delivered to a political party as of June 16, 1978, when disbursed shall be allocated by the State chair of the political party as follows: sixty-two and one-half percent (62 1/2%) of such funds to the political party for legitimate general election campaign expenditures; thirty-seven and one-half percent (37 1/2%) to the eligible candidates as determined by the committee established under this Article.

(g)        It shall be unlawful for any political party to use either directly or indirectly any part of funds distributed from the Political Parties Fund or the Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund of any political party for the support or assistance either directly or indirectly of any candidate in a primary election, for support or assistance relating to the selection of a candidate at a political convention or by the executive committee of a party, for the payment or repayment of any debt or obligation of whatsoever kind or nature incurred by any individual, business entity, candidate, or political committee in a primary election, the selection of a candidate at a political convention or by the executive committee of a party, or for the support, promotion, or opposition of a national, State, or local referendum, bond election, or constitutional amendment.

" 163A-4603.  Annual report to State Board; suspension of disbursements; willful violations a misdemeanor; adoption of rules; reporting by candidates and political committees.

(a)        The State chair of each political party receiving funds from the Political Parties Fund or the Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund or both shall maintain a full and complete record of the party's receipts and any and all subsequent expenditures and disbursements thereof, and such shall be substantiated by any records, receipts, and information that the Executive Director of the State Board shall require. Such record shall be centrally located and shall be readily available at reasonable hours for public inspection.

(b)        By December 31 of each year, the State chair of each political party receiving funds from the Political Parties Fund or a Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund in the 12 preceding months shall file with the State Board an itemized statement reporting all receipts, expenditures, and disbursements from the date of the last report, and attached to such report shall be the verification of such chair that all such funds received were expended in accordance with the provisions of this Article. If the Executive Director determines and finds as a fact that any such funds were not disbursed or expended in accordance with this Article, the Executive Director shall order such political party to reimburse the amount improperly expended or disbursed to the General Fund of the State, and such political party shall not receive further disbursements from the Political Parties Fund or a Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund until such reimbursement has been accomplished in full. A copy of any such order shall be forwarded to the State Treasurer, which shall constitute notice to suspend further disbursements from the campaign fund.

(c)        The State Board shall review each application and certify that the political party is eligible to receive the funds requested. The State Board shall establish rules for the administration and enforcement of this Article.

(d)        The treasurer of any political committee or candidate receiving any funds from the Political Parties Fund or a Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund through a political party shall report such receipts as contributions according to the method and timetable set forth in Article 45 of this Chapter. The treasurer shall report disbursements of such funds as expenditures or loans according to the method and timetable set forth in Article 45 of this Chapter. The reports shall be made to the proper board of elections according to Article 45 of this Chapter. There is no requirement that a candidate or a political committee other than a political party shall maintain funds from the Political Parties Fund or a Presidential Election Year Candidates Fund in a separate account.

" 163A-4604.  Crime; punishment.

Any individual person, candidate, political committee, or treasurer who willfully and intentionally violates any of the provisions of this Article shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

" 163A-4605 through 163A-4610:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

"Article 47.

"The North Carolina Public Campaign Fund.

" 163A-4701.  Purpose of the North Carolina Public Campaign Fund.

The purpose of this Article is to ensure the fairness of democratic elections in North Carolina and to protect the constitutional rights of voters and candidates from the detrimental effects of increasingly large amounts of money being raised and spent to influence the outcome of elections, those effects being especially problematic in elections of the judiciary, since impartiality is uniquely important to the integrity and credibility of the courts. Accordingly, this Article establishes the North Carolina Public Campaign Fund as an alternative source of campaign financing for candidates who demonstrate public support and voluntarily accept strict fund-raising and spending limits. This Article is available to candidates for justice of the Supreme Court and judge of the Court of Appeals in elections to be held in 2004 and thereafter.

" 163A-4702.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1)        Candidate. - An individual who becomes a candidate as described in G.S. 163A-4502(3), and includes a "candidate campaign committee" as defined in G.S. 163A-4502(4).

(2)        Certified candidate. - A candidate running for office who chooses to receive campaign funds from the Fund and who is certified under G.S. 163A-4705(c).

(3)        Contested primary and contested general election. - An election in which there are more candidates than the number to be elected. A distribution from the Fund pursuant to this Article is not a "contribution" and is not subject to the limitations of G.S. 163A-4541 or the prohibitions of G.S. 163A-4545 or G.S. 163A-4557.

(4)        Contribution. - As defined in G.S. 163A-4502, except that a distribution from the Fund pursuant to this Article is not a "contribution" and is not subject to the limitations of G.S. 163A-4541 or the prohibitions of G.S. 163A-4545 or G.S. 163A-4557.

(5)        Electioneering communication. - As defined in G.S. 163A-4502, except that it is made during the period beginning 30 days before absentee ballots become available for a primary and ending on primary election day and during the period 60 days before absentee ballots become available for a general election and ending on general election day.

(6)        Fund. - The North Carolina Public Campaign Fund as established by this Article.

(7)        Maximum qualifying contributions. - An amount of qualifying contributions equal to 60 times the filing fee for candidacy for the office.

(8)        Minimum qualifying contributions. - An amount of qualifying contributions equal to 30 times the filing fee for candidacy for the office.

(9)        Nonparticipating candidate. - A candidate running for office who is not seeking to be certified under G.S. 163A-4705(c).

(10)      Office. - A position on the North Carolina Court of Appeals or North Carolina Supreme Court.

(11)      Participating candidate. - A candidate for office who has filed a declaration of intent to participate under G.S. 163A-4705.

(12)      Qualifying contribution. - A contribution of not less than ten dollars ($10.00) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) in the form prescribed for noncash monetary contributions in G.S. 163A-4544(b) to the candidate or the candidate's committee that meets both of the following conditions:

a.         Made by an individual who is a registered voter in this State at the time of the submittal of the report specified in G.S. 163A-4705(c).

b.         Made during the qualifying period and obtained with the approval of the candidate or candidate's committee.

(13)      Qualifying period. - The period beginning September 1 in the year before the election and ending on the day of the primary of the election year.

(14)      Trigger for matching funds. - The dollar amount at which matching funds are released for certified candidates. In the case of a primary, the trigger equals the maximum qualifying contributions for participating candidates. In the case of a contested general election, the trigger equals the base level of funding available under G.S. 163A-4708(b)(4).

" 163A-4703.  North Carolina Public Campaign Fund established; sources of funding.

(a)        Establishment of Fund. - The North Carolina Public Campaign Fund is established to finance the election campaigns of certified candidates for office and to pay administrative and enforcement costs of the State Board related to this Article. The Fund is a special, dedicated, nonlapsing, nonreverting fund. All expenses of administering this Article, including production and distribution of the Voter Guide required by G.S. 163A-4720 and personnel and other costs incurred by the State Board, including public education about the Fund, shall be paid from the Fund and not from the General Fund. Any interest generated by the Fund is credited to the Fund. The State Board shall administer the Fund.

(b)        Sources of Funding. - Money received from all the following sources shall be deposited in the Fund:

(1)        Money from the North Carolina Candidates Financing Fund.

(2)        Designations made to the Public Campaign Fund by individual taxpayers pursuant to G.S. 105-159.2.

(3)        Public Campaign Fund revenues distributed for an election that remain unspent or uncommitted at the time the recipient is no longer a certified candidate in the election.

(4)        Money ordered returned to the Public Campaign Fund in accordance with G.S. 163A-4725.

(5)        Voluntary donations made directly to the Public Campaign Fund. Business entities may make donations to the Fund.

(6)        Money collected from the fifty-dollar ($50.00) surcharge on attorney membership fees in G.S. 84-34.

(c)        Determination of Fund Amount. - By October 1, 2003, and every two years thereafter, the State Board shall prepare and provide to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations of the General Assembly a report documenting, evaluating, and making recommendations relating to the administration, implementation, and enforcement of this Article. In its report, the State Board shall set out the funds received to date and the expected needs of the Fund for the next election.

" 163A-4704:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4705.  Requirements for participation; certification of candidates.

(a)        Declaration of Intent to Participate. - Any individual choosing to receive campaign funds from the Fund shall first file with the State Board a declaration of intent to participate in the act as a candidate for a stated office. The declaration of intent shall be filed before or during the qualifying period and before collecting any qualifying contributions. In the declaration, the candidate shall swear or affirm that only one political committee, identified with its treasurer, shall handle all contributions, expenditures, and obligations for the participating candidate and that the candidate will comply with the contribution and expenditure limits set forth in subsection (d) of this section and all other requirements set forth in this Article or adopted by the State Board. Failure to comply is a violation of this Article.

(b)        Demonstration of Support of Candidacy. - Participating candidates who seek certification to receive campaign funds from the Fund shall first, during the qualifying period, obtain qualifying contributions from at least 350 registered voters in an aggregate sum that at least equals the amount of minimum qualifying contributions described in G.S. 163A-4702(8) but that does not exceed the amount of maximum qualifying contributions described in G.S. 163A-4702(7).

No payment, gift, anything of value, or the opportunity to win anything of value shall be given in exchange for a qualifying contribution.

(c)        Certification of Candidates. - Upon receipt of a submittal of the record of demonstrated support by a participating candidate, the State Board shall determine whether or not the candidate has complied with all the following requirements:

(1)        Signed and filed a declaration of intent to participate in this Article.

(2)        Submitted a report itemizing the appropriate number of qualifying contributions received from registered voters, which the State Board shall verify through a random sample or other means it adopts. The report shall include the county of residence of each registered voter listed.

(3)        Filed a valid notice of candidacy pursuant to Article 25 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

(4)        Otherwise met the requirements for participation in this Article.

The State Board shall certify candidates complying with the requirements of this section as soon as possible and no later than five business days after receipt of a satisfactory record of demonstrated support.

(d)        Restrictions on Contributions and Expenditures for Participating and Certified Candidates. - The following restrictions shall apply to contributions and expenditures with respect to participating and certified candidates:

(1)        Beginning January 1 of the year before the election and before the filing of a declaration of intent, a candidate for office may accept in contributions up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) from sources and in amounts permitted by Article 45 of this Chapter and may expend up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for any campaign purpose. A candidate who exceeds either of these limits shall be ineligible to file a declaration of intent or receive funds from the Public Campaign Fund.

(2)        From the filing of a declaration of intent through the end of the qualifying period, a candidate may accept only qualifying contributions, contributions under ten dollars ($10.00) from North Carolina voters, and personal and family contributions permitted under subdivision (4) of this subsection. The total contributions the candidate may accept during this period shall not exceed the maximum qualifying contributions for that candidate. In addition to these contributions, the candidate may only expend during this period the remaining money raised pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection and possible matching funds received pursuant to G.S. 163A-4710. Except for personal and family contributions permitted under subdivision (4) of this subsection, multiple contributions from the same contributor to the same candidate shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00).

(3)        After the qualifying period and through the date of the general election, the candidate shall expend only the funds the candidate receives from the Fund pursuant to G.S. 163A-4708(b)(4) plus any funds remaining from the qualifying period and possible matching funds.

(4)        During the qualifying period, the candidate may contribute up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) of that candidate's own money to the campaign. Debt incurred by the candidate for a campaign expenditure shall count toward that limit. The candidate may accept in contributions one thousand dollars ($1,000) from each member of that candidate's family consisting of spouse, parent, child, brother, and sister. Up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) of a contribution from the candidate's family member may be treated as a qualifying contribution if it meets the requirements of G.S. 163A-4702(12)a. and b.

(5)        A candidate and the candidate's committee shall limit the use of all revenues permitted by this subsection to expenditures for campaign-related purposes only. The State Board shall publish guidelines outlining permissible campaign-related expenditures. In establishing those guidelines, the State Board shall differentiate expenditures that reasonably further a candidate's campaign from expenditures for personal use that would be incurred in the absence of the candidacy. In establishing the guidelines, the State Board shall review relevant provisions of G.S. 163A-4602(e), the Federal Election Campaign Act and rules adopted pursuant to it, and similar provisions in other states.

(6)        Any contribution received by a participating or certified candidate that falls outside that permitted by this subsection shall be returned to the donor as soon as practicable. Contributions intentionally made, solicited, or accepted in violation of this Article are subject to civil penalties as specified in G.S. 163A-4725. The funds involved shall be forfeited to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund.

(7)        A candidate shall return to the Fund any amount distributed for an election that is unspent and uncommitted at the date of the election, or at the time the individual ceases to be a certified candidate, whichever occurs first. For accounting purposes, all qualifying, personal, and family contributions shall be considered spent before revenue from the Fund is spent or committed.

(e)        Revocation. - A candidate may revoke, in writing to the State Board, a decision to participate in the Public Campaign Fund at any time before the deadline set by the State Board for the candidate's submission of information for the Voter Guide described in G.S. 163A-4720. After a timely revocation, that candidate may accept and expend outside the limits of this Article without violating this Article. Within 10 days after revocation, a candidate shall return to the State Board all money received from the Fund.

" 163A-4706.  Special participation provisions for candidates in vacancy elections.

(a)        Participation Provisions Modified. - Candidates involved in elections described in G.S. 163-329 may participate in the Fund subject to the provisions of G.S. 163A-4705 as modified by this section. The State Board shall adapt other provisions of this Article, including G.S. 163A-4710, to those elections.

(b)        Qualifying. - The State Board shall designate a special qualifying period of no less than four weeks for these candidates, beginning at the close of the notice-of-candidacy filing period. To receive certification, a participating candidate shall raise at least 225 qualifying contributions, totaling at least 20 times the amount of the filing fee for the office, for a four-week qualifying period. If the State Board sets a longer qualifying period, then for each additional week that the qualifying period extends beyond four weeks, the minimum number of qualifying contributions required for certification shall increase by 25, and the minimum amount of the qualifying contributions shall increase by two times the filing fee. The minimum qualifying contributions shall not exceed the limit set by G.S. 163A-4705(b).

(c)        Allocations. - Certified candidates shall receive one percent (1%) of the funding to which they would be eligible under G.S. 163A-4708 times the number of calendar days between the end of the special qualifying period and the day of the general election. That amount shall not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the funding to which they would be eligible under G.S. 163A-4708.

" 163A-4707:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4708.  Distribution from the Fund.

(a)        Timing of Fund Distribution. - The State Board shall distribute to a certified candidate revenue from the Fund in an amount determined under subdivision (b)(4) of this section within five business days after the certified candidate's name is approved to appear on the ballot in a contested general election, but no earlier than five business days after the primary.

(b)        Amount of Fund Distribution. - By August 1, 2003, and no less frequently than every two years thereafter, the State Board shall determine the amount of funds, rounded to the nearest one hundred dollars ($100.00), to be distributed to certified candidates as follows:

(1)        Uncontested primaries. - No funds shall be distributed.

(2)        Contested primaries. - No funds shall be distributed except as provided in G.S. 163A-4710.

(3)        Uncontested general elections. - No funds shall be distributed.

(4)        Contested general elections. - Funds shall be distributed to a certified candidate for a position on the Court of Appeals in an amount equal to 125 times the candidate's filing fee as set forth in G.S. 163-107. Funds shall be distributed to a certified candidate for a position on the Supreme Court in an amount equal to 175 times the candidate's filing fee as set forth in G.S. 163-107.

(c)        Method of Fund Distribution. - The State Board, in consultation with the State Treasurer and the State Controller, shall develop a rapid, reliable method of conveying funds to certified candidates. In all cases, the State Board shall distribute funds to certified candidates in a manner that is expeditious, ensures accountability, and safeguards the integrity of the Fund. If the money in the Fund is insufficient to fully fund all certified candidates, then the available money shall be distributed proportionally, according to each candidate's eligible funding, and the candidate may raise additional money in the same manner as a noncertified candidate for the same office up to the unfunded amount of the candidate's eligible funding.

" 163A-4709.  Reporting requirements.

(a)        Reporting by Noncertified Candidates and Other Entities. - Any noncertified candidate with a certified opponent shall report total contributions received to the State Board by facsimile machine or electronically within 24 hours after the total amount of contributions received exceeds eighty percent (80%) of the trigger for matching funds as defined in G.S. 163A-4702(14). Any entity making independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a certified candidate or in support of a candidate opposing a certified candidate, or paying for electioneering communications referring to one of those candidates, shall report the total expenditures or payments made to the State Board by facsimile machine or electronically within 24 hours after the total amount of expenditures or payments made for the purpose of making the independent expenditures or electioneering communications exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000). After the initial 24-hour filing, the noncertified candidate or other reporting entity shall comply with an expedited reporting schedule. The schedule and forms for reports required by this subsection shall be supplied by the State Board.

(b)        Reporting by Participating and Certified Candidates. - Notwithstanding other provisions of law, participating and certified candidates shall report any money received, including all previously unreported qualifying contributions, all campaign expenditures, obligations, and related activities to the State Board according to procedures developed by the State Board. A certified candidate who ceases to be certified or ceases to be a candidate or who loses an election shall file a final report with the State Board and return any unspent revenues received from the Fund. In developing these procedures, the State Board shall utilize existing campaign reporting procedures whenever practical.

(c)        Timely Access to Reports. - The State Board shall ensure prompt public access to the reports received in accordance with this Article. The State Board may utilize electronic means of reporting and storing information.

" 163A-4710.  Matching funds.

(a)        When Matching Funds Become Available. - When any report or group of reports shows that "funds in opposition to a certified candidate or in support of an opponent to that candidate" as described in this section, exceed the trigger for matching funds as defined in G.S. 163A-4702(14), the State Board shall issue immediately to that certified candidate an additional amount equal to the reported excess within the limits set forth in this section. "Funds in opposition to a certified candidate or in support of an opponent to that candidate" shall be equal to the sum of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection as follows:

(1)        The greater of the following:

a.         Campaign expenditures or obligations made, or funds raised or borrowed, whichever is greater, reported by any one nonparticipating candidate who is an opponent of a certified candidate. Where a certified candidate has more than one nonparticipating candidate as an opponent, the measure shall be taken from the nonparticipating candidate showing the highest relevant dollar amount.

b.         The funds distributed in accordance with G.S. 163A-4708(b) to a certified opponent of the certified candidate.

(2)        The aggregate total of all expenditures and payments reported in accordance with G.S. 163A-4709(a) of entities making independent expenditures or electioneering communications in opposition to the certified candidate or in support of any opponent of that certified candidate.

(b)        Limit on Matching Funds Before Date of Primary. - Total matching funds to a certified candidate before the date of the primary shall be limited to an amount equal to two times the maximum qualifying contributions for the office sought. Matching funds are available to a certified candidate with an opponent in the primary or to a certified candidate who is clearly referred to in expenditures reportable under G.S. 163A-4708 made in opposition to that candidate.

(c)        Limit on Matching Funds in Contested General Election. - Total matching funds to a certified candidate in a contested general election shall be limited to an amount equal to two times the amount described in G.S. 163A-4708(b)(4).

(d)        Expedited Distribution of Matching Funds. - When a candidate becomes entitled to any amount of matching funds under subsection (a) of this section, the State Board shall authorize the issuance of that amount to the candidate as soon as practicable. The Department of Administration shall transfer that amount to the candidate as soon as practicable and in no event later than 12 hours after receiving notice from the State Board that the candidate has become entitled to it. The Department of Administration shall develop a method of rapidly transferring funds to a candidate or otherwise fulfilling the requirements of this subsection in conjunction with the State Board. The candidate shall return to the State Board as soon as practicable any amount of the matching funds that the candidate has not spent at the date of the election or at the time the individual ceases to be a certified candidate, whichever occurs first.

(e)        Determinations by State Board. - In the case of electioneering communications, the State Board shall determine which candidate, if any, is entitled to receive matching funds as a result of the communication. The State Board shall issue matching funds based on the communication only if it ascertains that the communication is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate. In making its determination, the State Board shall not consider evidence external to the communication itself of the intent of the sponsor or the effect of the communication. The State Board shall notify each candidate it determines is entitled to receive matching funds based on those communications, the sponsor of those communications, and any candidate who is an opponent of the candidate it determines is entitled to the matching funds. The State Board shall give the sponsor of the communication and any opposing candidate an adequate opportunity to rebut the determination of the State Board. In considering the rebuttal, all candidates in the race and the sponsor shall be given adequate and equal opportunity to be heard. The State Board shall adopt procedures for implementing this subsection, balancing in those procedures adequacy of opportunity to rebut and adequacy and equality of opportunity to be heard on the rebuttal with the need to expedite the decision on awarding matching funds. The State Board shall distribute the matching funds, if any, at the conclusion of its process.

(f)         Proportional Measuring of Multicandidate Communications. - In calculating the amount of matching funds a certified candidate is eligible to receive under this section, the State Board shall include the proportion of expenditures, obligations, or payments for multicandidate communications that pertain to the candidate.

(g)        No Matching Funds for Certain Communications Involving All Candidates. - No matching funds are available under this section as a result of an expenditure that supports all candidates for the same office or opposes all candidates for the same office. No matching funds are available under this section as a result of an electioneering communication that the State Board ascertains is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for all candidates for the same office or to vote against all candidates for the same office.

" 163A-4711 through 163A-4714:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4715.  Enforcement and administration.

(a)        Enforcement by the State Board. - The State Board shall administer the provisions of this Article.

(b)        Appeals. - The initial decision on an issue concerning qualification, certification, or distribution of funds under this Article shall be made by the Executive Director of the State Board. The procedure for challenging that decision is as follows:

(1)        An individual or entity aggrieved by a decision by the Executive Director of the State Board may appeal to the full State Board within three business days of the decision. The appeal shall be in writing and shall set forth the reasons for the appeal.

(2)        Within five business days after an appeal is properly made, and after due notice is given to the parties, the State Board shall hold a hearing. The appellant has the burden of providing evidence to demonstrate that the decision of the Executive Director was improper. The State Board shall rule on the appeal within three business days after the completion of the hearing.

(c)        State Board to Adopt Rules and Issue Opinions. - The State Board shall adopt rules and issue opinions to ensure effective administration of this Article. Such rules and opinions shall include, but not be limited to, procedures for obtaining qualifying contributions, certification of candidates, addressing circumstances involving special elections, vacancies, recounts, withdrawals, or replacements, collection of revenues for the Fund, distribution of Fund revenue to certified candidates, return of unspent Fund disbursements, and compliance with this Article. The State Board shall adopt procedures for the distribution of matching money that further the purpose and avoid the subversion of G.S. 163A-4710. For races involving special elections, recounts, vacancies, withdrawals, or replacement candidates, the State Board shall establish procedures for qualification, certification, disbursement of Fund revenues, and return of unspent Fund revenues.

" 163A-4716 through 163A-4719:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4720.  Voter education.

(a)        Judicial Voter Guide. - The State Board shall publish a Judicial Voter Guide that explains the functions of the appellate courts and the laws concerning the election of appellate judges, the purpose and function of the Public Campaign Fund, and the laws concerning voter registration. The State Board shall distribute the Guide to as many voting-age individuals in the State as practical, through a mailing to all residences or other means it deems effective. The distribution shall occur no more than 28 days nor fewer than seven days before the one-stop voting period provided in G.S. 163-227.2 for the primary and no more than 28 days nor fewer than seven days before the one-stop voting period provided in G.S. 163-227.2 for the general election.

(b)        Candidate Information. - The Judicial Voter Guide shall include information concerning all candidates for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, as provided by those candidates according to a format provided to the candidates by the State Board. The State Board shall request information for the Guide from each candidate according to the following format:

(1)        Place of residence.

(2)        Education.

(3)        Occupation.

(4)        Employer.

(5)        Date admitted to the bar.

(6)        Legal/judicial experience.

(7)        Candidate statement. Concerning that statement, the State Board shall send to the candidates instructions as follows: "Your statement may include information such as your qualifications, your endorsements, your ratings, why you are seeking judicial office, why you would make a good judge, what distinguishes you from your opponent(s), your acceptance of spending and fund-raising limits to qualify to receive funds from the Public Campaign Fund, and any other information relevant to your candidacy. The State Board will reject any portion of any statement which it determines contains obscene, profane, or defamatory language. The candidate shall have three days to resubmit the candidate statement if the State Board rejects a portion of the statement.

The entire entry for a candidate shall be limited to 250 words.

(c)        Disclaimer. - The Judicial Voter Guide shall contain the following statement: "Statements by candidates do not express or reflect the opinions of the State Board."

" 163A-4721 through 163A-4724:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4725.  Civil penalty.

In addition to any other penalties that may be applicable, any individual, political committee, or other entity that violates any provision of this Article is subject to a civil penalty of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per violation or three times the amount of any financial transactions involved in the violation, whichever is greater. In addition to any fine, for good cause shown, a candidate found in violation of this Article may be required to return to the Fund all amounts distributed to the candidate from the Fund. If the State Board makes a determination that a violation of this Article has occurred, the State Board shall calculate and assess the amount of the civil penalty and shall notify the entity that is assessed the civil penalty of the amount that has been assessed. The State Board shall then proceed in the manner prescribed in G.S. 163A-4518. In determining whether or not a candidate is in violation of this Article, the State Board may consider as a mitigating factor any circumstances out of the candidate's control.

"Article 48.

"The Voter-Owned Elections Act.

" 163A-4801.  Purpose and establishment of Voter-Owned Elections Act.

The purpose of this Article is to ensure the vitality and fairness of democratic elections in North Carolina to the end that any eligible citizen of this State can realistically choose to seek and run for public office. It is also the purpose of this Article to protect the constitutional rights of voters and candidates from the detrimental effects of increasingly large amounts of money being raised and spent in North Carolina to influence the outcome of elections. It is essential to the public interest that the potential for corruption or the appearance of corruption is minimized and that the equal and meaningful participation of all citizens in the democratic process is ensured. Accordingly, this Article establishes the North Carolina Voter-Owned Elections Fund as an alternative source of campaign financing for candidates who obtain a sufficient number of qualifying contributions from registered voters and who voluntarily accept strict fund-raising and spending limits. This Article is available to candidates for the Council of State offices of Auditor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Commissioner of Insurance in elections to be held in 2008 and thereafter.

" 163A-4802.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1)        Campaign-related expenditure. - An expenditure that benefits the candidate's current campaign in accordance with guidelines established by the State Board.

(2)        Candidate. - An individual who becomes a candidate as described in G.S. 163A-4502, and includes a "candidate campaign committee" as defined in G.S. 163A-4502(4).

(3)        Certified candidate. - A candidate for office who chooses to receive campaign funds from the Fund and who is certified under G.S. 163A-4805(c).

(4)        Contested primary and contested general election. - An election in which there are more candidates than the number to be elected.

(5)        Contribution. - As defined in G.S. 163A-4502, except that a distribution from the Fund pursuant to this Article is not a "contribution" and is not subject to the limitations of G.S. 163A-4541 or the prohibitions of G.S. 163A-4545 or G.S. 163A-4557. Instead of being subject to G.S. 163A-4560, distributions are subject to the guidelines issued by the State Board pursuant to G.S. 163A-4805(e)(6).

(6)        Electioneering communication. - As defined in G.S. 163A-4502, except that it is made during the period beginning 30 days before absentee ballots become available for a primary and ending on primary election day and during the period 60 days before absentee ballots become available for a general election and ending on general election day.

(7)        Fund. - The North Carolina Voter-Owned Elections Fund as established by this Article.

(8)        Maximum qualifying contributions. - If the candidate has an uncontested primary, an amount equal to 100 times the filing fee for the office sought. If the candidate has a contested primary, 200 times the filing fee for the office sought.

(9)        Nonparticipating candidate. - A candidate for office who is not seeking to be certified under G.S. 163A-4805(c).

(10)      Office. - The Council of State offices of Auditor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Commissioner of Insurance.

(11)      Participating candidate. - A candidate for office who has filed a declaration of intent to participate under G.S. 163A-4805(a).

(12)      Qualifying contribution. - A contribution of not less than ten dollars ($10.00) and not more than two hundred dollars ($200.00) in the form of a check or money order to the candidate that meets both of the following conditions:

a.         Made by any registered voter in this State.

b.         Made only during the qualifying period and obtained with the approval of the candidate or candidate's committee.

(13)      Qualifying period. - The period beginning September 1 in the year before the election and ending on the day of the primary.

(14)      Trigger for matching funds. - The dollar amount at which matching funds are released under G.S. 163A-4810 for certified candidates. In the case of a contested primary, the trigger equals the maximum qualifying contributions for the candidate. In the case of a contested general election, the trigger equals the base level of funding available under G.S. 163A-4808(b)(4).

" 163A-4803.  Voter-Owned Elections Fund established; sources of funding.

(a)        Establishment of Fund. - The North Carolina Voter-Owned Elections Fund is established to finance the election campaigns of certified candidates for office and to pay administrative and enforcement costs of the State Board related to this Article. The Fund is a special, dedicated, nonlapsing, nonreverting fund. Any interest generated by the Fund is credited to the Fund. The State Board shall administer the Fund.

(b)        Sources of Funding. - Money received from all the following sources shall be deposited in the Fund:

(1)        Unspent Fund revenues distributed for an election that remain unspent or uncommitted at the time the recipient is no longer a certified candidate in the election.

(2)        Money ordered returned to the Fund in accordance with G.S. 163A-4815.

(3)        Money paid to the Fund equal to excess contributions as provided in G.S. 163A-4805(e)(1).

(4)        Voluntary donations made directly to the Fund.

(5)        Appropriations from the General Fund.

(c)        Evaluation and Determination of Fund Amount. - By January 1, 2013, and every four years thereafter, the State Board shall prepare and provide to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations of the General Assembly a report documenting, evaluating, and making recommendations relating to the administration, implementation, and enforcement of this Article. In its report, the State Board shall set out the funds received to date and the expected needs of the Fund during the next election cycle and make recommendations about the feasibility of expanding its provisions to include other candidates for State office based on the experience of this Article and the experience of similar programs in North Carolina and other states. The State Board shall also evaluate and make recommendations regarding how to address activities that could undermine the purpose of this Article, including spending that appears to target candidates but is not reached by regulation.

" 163A-4804:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4805.  Requirements for participation.

(a)        Declaration of Intent to Participate. - Any individual choosing to receive campaign funds from the Fund shall first file with the State Board a declaration of intent to participate in the program established by this Article as a candidate for a stated office. The declaration of intent shall be filed before or during the qualifying period and before collecting any qualifying contributions. In the declaration, the candidate shall swear or affirm that only one political committee, identified with its treasurer, shall handle all contributions, campaign-related expenditures, and obligations for the participating candidate and that the candidate will comply with the contribution and expenditure limits set forth in subsection (e) of this section and all other requirements set forth in this Article or adopted by the State Board. Failure to comply is a violation of this Article.

(b)        Demonstration of Support of Candidacy. - In order to be certified, participating candidates shall obtain qualifying contributions from at least 750 registered voters in this State. The qualifying contributions shall be equal to at least 25 times the amount of the filing fee for the office. No payment, gift, or anything of value shall be given in exchange for a qualifying contribution.

(c)        Certification of Candidates. - Upon receipt of a submittal of the record of qualifying contributions by a participating candidate, the State Board shall determine whether or not the candidate has:

(1)        Filed a completed declaration of intent to participate in this Article.

(2)        Submitted a report itemizing the appropriate number of qualifying contributions received from registered voters, which the State Board shall verify through a random sample or other means it adopts. The report shall include the county of residence of each registered voter listed.

(3)        Filed a notice of candidacy with the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement as a candidate for the office.

(4)        Otherwise met the requirements for participation in this Article.

The State Board shall certify candidates complying with the requirements of this section as soon as possible and no later than five business days after receipt of a satisfactory record of qualifying contributions.

(d)        Final Report for Qualifying Contributions. - No later than five business days after the end of the qualifying period, all participating candidates shall submit a report to the State Board of all previously unreported qualifying contributions, in accordance with procedures developed by the State Board. Within seven business days after submittal of the final report, the State Board shall determine, through a random audit or other means it adopts, whether the contributions abide by the definition of qualifying contributions, whether they shall be returned to the donor, and whether they exceed the maximum amount of qualifying contributions.

(e)        Restrictions on Contributions and Expenditures for Participating and Certified Candidates. - The following restrictions shall apply to contributions and expenditures with respect to participating and certified candidates:

(1)        Beginning August 1 of the year before the election and before filing a declaration of intent, a candidate shall limit campaign-related expenditures to twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) and shall not accept more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) from sources and in amounts permitted by Article 45 of this Chapter. A candidate who exceeds either of these limits shall be ineligible to file a declaration of intent or receive funds from the Fund. However, the acceptance of contributions in excess of that twenty thousand dollar ($20,000) limit does not render the candidate ineligible if the candidate pays to the State Board an amount equal to the contributions accepted by the candidate in excess of that limit. The State Board shall deposit all such payments into the Fund.

(2)        From the filing of a declaration of intent through the end of the qualifying period, a candidate may accept only qualifying contributions, contributions under ten dollars ($10.00) from North Carolina voters, in-kind party contributions as permitted in subdivision (4) of this subsection, and personal and family contributions permitted under subdivision (5) of this subsection. The total contributions the candidate may accept during this period shall not exceed the maximum qualifying contributions for that candidate. In addition to these contributions, the candidate may only expend during this period the remaining money raised pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection and possible matching funds received pursuant to G.S. 163A-4810. If the candidate has any remaining money that was raised as contributions before August 1 of the year before the election, the candidate may not expend that money after filing the declaration of intent, except for purposes permitted under subdivision (2), (3), (6), (7), or (8) of G.S. 163A-4560(a).

(3)        After the qualifying period and through the date of the general election, the candidate shall cease campaign-related fund-raising activities and shall expend only the funds the candidate receives from the Fund pursuant to G.S. 163A-4808(b) plus any funds remaining from the qualifying period and possible matching funds.

(4)        In addition to the amounts above, a candidate may accept in-kind contributions from political party executive committees, up to an aggregate value of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) for the election cycle.

(5)        During the qualifying period, the candidate may contribute up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) of that candidate's own money to the campaign. Debt incurred by the candidate for a campaign expenditure shall count toward that limit. The candidate may accept in contributions one thousand dollars ($1,000) from each member of that candidate's family consisting of spouse, parent, child, brother, and sister.

(6)        A candidate and the candidate's committee shall limit the use of all revenues permitted by this subsection to expenditures for campaign-related purposes only. The State Board shall publish guidelines outlining permissible campaign-related expenditures.

(7)        Except as provided in subdivision (1) of this subsection, any contribution received by a participating or certified candidate that falls outside that permitted by this subsection shall be returned to the donor as soon as practicable. Contributions intentionally made, solicited, or accepted in violation of this Article are subject to civil penalties as specified in G.S. 163A-4815. The funds involved shall be forfeited to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund.

(8)        A candidate shall return to the Fund any amount distributed for an election that is unspent and uncommitted at the date of the election or at the time the individual ceases to be a certified candidate, whichever occurs first. For accounting purposes, all qualifying, personal, and family contributions shall be considered spent before revenue from the Fund is spent or committed.

(f)         Revocation. - A candidate may revoke, in writing to the State Board, a decision to participate in the Fund at any time. After a revocation, that candidate may accept and expend outside the limits of this Article without violating this Article. Within 10 days after revocation, a candidate shall return to the State Board all money received from the Fund.

" 163A-4806:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4807:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4808.  Distribution from the Fund.

(a)        Timing of Fund Distribution. - The State Board shall distribute to a certified candidate revenue from the Fund in an amount determined under subdivision (b)(4) of this section as follows:

(1)        One-third of the amount within five business days after the certified candidate's name is approved to appear on the ballot in a contested general election, but no earlier than five business days after the primary.

(2)        The remainder of the amount on August 1 before the general election.

(b)        Amount of Fund Distribution. - By August 1, 2013, and no less frequently than every four years thereafter, the State Board shall determine the amount of funds, rounded to the nearest one hundred dollars ($100.00), to be distributed to certified candidates as follows:

(1)        Uncontested primaries. - No funds shall be distributed.

(2)        Contested primaries. - No funds shall be distributed except as provided in G.S. 163A-4810.

(3)        Uncontested general elections. - No funds shall be distributed.

(4)        Contested general elections. - The amount of funds to be distributed to a candidate is the average amount of campaign-related expenditures made by all candidates who won the immediately preceding three general elections for that office, but not less than three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000). For purposes of this subsection, "campaign-related expenditures" does not include loan repayments and contributions to a candidate, political committee, or political party.

(c)        Method of Fund Distribution. - The State Board, in consultation with the State Treasurer and the State Controller, shall develop a rapid, reliable method of conveying funds to certified candidates. In all cases, the State Board shall distribute funds to certified candidates in a manner that is expeditious, ensures accountability, and safeguards the integrity of the Fund. If the money in the Fund is insufficient to fully fund all certified candidates, then the available money shall be distributed proportionally, according to each candidate's eligible funding, and the candidate may raise additional money in the same manner as a nonparticipating candidate for the same office up to the unfunded amount of the candidate's eligible funding.

" 163A-4809.  Reporting requirements.

(a)        Reporting by Noncertified Candidates and Other Entities. - Any nonparticipating candidate with a certified opponent shall report total contributions received to the State Board by facsimile machine or electronically within 24 hours after the total amount of contributions received exceeds eighty percent (80%) of the trigger for matching funds as defined in G.S. 163A-4802(14). Any entity making independent expenditures in support of or in opposition to a certified candidate, or in support of a candidate opposing a certified candidate, or paying for electioneering communications referring to one of those candidates, shall report the total funds received, spent, or obligated for those expenditures or payments to the State Board by facsimile machine or electronically within 24 hours after the total amount of expenditures or obligations made, or funds raised or borrowed, for the purpose of making the independent expenditures or electioneering communications exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000). After the initial 24-hour filing, the nonparticipating candidate or other reporting entity shall comply with an expedited reporting schedule. The schedule and forms for reports required by this subsection shall be supplied by the State Board.

(b)        Reporting by Participating and Certified Candidates. - Notwithstanding other provisions of law, participating and certified candidates shall report any money received and all campaign expenditures, obligations, and related activities to the State Board according to procedures developed by the State Board. Upon the filing of a final report for any losing primary election, special election, or general election, each candidate who has revenues from the Fund remaining unspent shall return those revenues to the State Board. In developing these procedures, the State Board shall utilize existing campaign reporting procedures wherever practicable.

(c)        Timely Access to Reports. - The State Board shall ensure prompt public access to the reports received in accordance with this Article. The State Board may utilize electronic means of reporting and storing information.

" 163A-4810.  Matching funds.

(a)        When Matching Funds Become Available. - When any report or group of reports shows that "funds in opposition to a certified candidate or in support of an opponent to that candidate" as described in this section exceed the trigger for matching funds as defined in G.S. 163A-4802(14), the State Board shall issue immediately to that certified candidate an additional amount equal to the reported excess within the limits set forth in this section. "Funds in opposition to a certified candidate or in support of an opponent to that candidate" shall be equal to the sum of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection as follows:

(1)        The greater of the following:

a.         Campaign expenditures or obligations made, or funds raised or borrowed, whichever is greater, reported by any one nonparticipating opponent of a certified candidate. Where a certified candidate has more than one nonparticipating opponent, the measure shall be taken from the nonparticipating candidate showing the highest relevant dollar amount.

b.         The funds distributed in accordance with G.S. 163A-4808(b) to a certified opponent of the certified candidate.

(2)        The aggregate total of all expenditures and payments reported in accordance with G.S. 163A-4809(a) of entities making independent expenditures or electioneering communications in opposition to the certified candidate or in support of any opponent of that certified candidate.

(b)        Limit on Matching Funds in Contested Primary. - Total matching funds to a certified candidate in a contested primary shall be limited to an amount equal to the maximum qualifying contributions for a candidate with a contested primary.

(c)        Limit on Matching Funds in Contested General Election. - Total matching funds to a certified candidate in a contested general election shall be limited to an amount equal to two times the amount described in G.S. 163A-4808(b)(4).

(d)        Determinations by State Board. - In the case of electioneering communications, the State Board shall determine which candidate, if any, is entitled to receive matching funds as a result of the communication. The State Board shall issue matching funds based on the communication only if it ascertains that the communication is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate. In making its determination, the State Board shall not consider evidence external to the communication itself of the intent of the sponsor or the effect of the communication. The State Board shall notify each candidate it determines is entitled to receive matching funds based on those communications, the sponsor of those communications, and any candidate who is an opponent of the candidate it determines is entitled to the matching funds. The State Board shall give the sponsor of the communication and any opposing candidate an adequate opportunity to rebut the determination of the State Board. In considering the rebuttal, all candidates in the race and the sponsor shall be given adequate and equal opportunity to be heard. The State Board shall adopt procedures for implementing this subsection, balancing in those procedures adequacy of opportunity to rebut and adequacy and equality of opportunity to be heard on the rebuttal with the need to expedite the decision on awarding matching funds. The State Board shall distribute the matching funds, if any, at the conclusion of its process.

(e)        Proportional Measuring of Multicandidate Communications. - In calculating the amount of matching funds a certified candidate is eligible to receive under this section, the State Board shall include the proportion of expenditures, obligations, or payments for multicandidate communications that pertains to the candidate.

" 163A-4811.  Unaffiliated and new-party candidates.

Unaffiliated candidates certified pursuant to G.S. 163-122 and new-party candidates certified pursuant to G.S. 163-98 shall be eligible for revenues from the Fund in the same amounts and at the same time as specified in G.S. 163A-4808. For unaffiliated candidates and new-party candidates not certified to appear on the ballot by noon on the deadline set in G.S. 163-106(c) for candidate filing in the election year, the deadline for seeking certification to receive revenue from the Fund is noon on the first business day of July of the election year.

" 163A-4812 through 163A-4814:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4815.  Enforcement by the State Board; civil penalty.

In addition to any other penalties that may be applicable, any individual, political committee, or other entity that violates any provision of this Article is subject to a civil penalty of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per violation or three times the amount of any financial transactions involved in the violation, whichever is greater. In addition to any fine, for good cause shown, a candidate found in violation of this Article may be required to return to the Fund all amounts distributed to the candidate from the Fund. If the State Board makes a determination that a violation of this Article has occurred, the State Board shall calculate and assess the amount of the civil penalty and shall notify the entity that is assessed the civil penalty of the amount that has been assessed. The State Board shall then proceed in the manner prescribed in G.S. 163A-4518. In determining whether or not a candidate is in violation of this Article, the State Board may consider as a mitigating factor any circumstances out of the candidate's control.

" 163A-4816 through 163A-4819:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-4820.  Voter education.

(a)        Voter Guide. - The State Board shall publish a Voter Guide that explains the functions of office as defined in G.S. 163A-4802(10) and the laws concerning the election of the Council of State, the purpose and function of the Fund, and the laws concerning voter registration. The State Board shall distribute the Guide to as many voting-age individuals in the State as practical, through a mailing to all residences or other means it deems effective. The State Board shall maintain a list of the addresses from which mailed Voter Guides are returned as undeliverable. That list shall be available for public inspection. The distribution shall occur no more than 28 days nor fewer than seven days before the one-stop voting period provided in G.S. 163-227.2 for the primary and no more than 28 days nor fewer than seven days before the one-stop voting period provided in G.S. 163-227.2 for the general election.

(b)        Candidate Information. - The Voter Guide shall include information concerning all candidates for office as defined in G.S. 163A-4802(10), as provided by those candidates according to a format provided to the candidates by the State Board. The State Board shall request information for the Guide from each candidate according to the following format:

(1)        Place of residence.

(2)        Education.

(3)        Occupation.

(4)        Employer.

(5)        Previous elective offices held.

(6)        Endorsements, limited to 50 words. Concerning endorsements, the State Board shall send to the candidates instructions as follows: "In order to have an endorsement published, you must provide written confirmation to the State Board from the endorsing individual, business entity, or organization that you received that individual's, business entity's, or organization's endorsement."

(7)        Candidate statement, limited to 150 words. Concerning that statement, the State Board shall send to the candidates instructions as follows: "Your statement may include information such as your qualifications, your endorsements, why you would make a good elected official, what distinguishes you from your opponent(s), and any other information relevant to your candidacy. The State Board will reject any portion of any statement which it determines contains obscene, profane, or defamatory language. The candidate shall have three days to resubmit the candidate statement if the State Board rejects a portion of the statement."

(c)        Disclaimer. - The Voter Guide shall contain the following statement: "Statements by candidates do not express or reflect the opinions of the State Board."

(d)        Relationship to the Judicial Voter Guide. - The State Board may publish the Voter Guide in conjunction with the Judicial Voter Guide described in G.S. 163A-4720.

"Articles 49 through 54:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

"Article 55.

"Candidate-Specific Communications.

" 163A-5501.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1)        Candidate-specific communication. - Any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that has all the following characteristics:

a.         Refers to a clearly identified candidate for a statewide office or the General Assembly.

b.         Is aired in an even-numbered year after the final date on which a Notice of Candidacy can be filed for the office, pursuant to G.S. 163-106(c) or G.S. 163-323, and through the day on which the general election is conducted, excluding the time period set in the definition for "electioneering communication" in G.S. 163A-4502(14)b.

c.         Is targeted to the relevant electorate.

(2)        Candidate-specific 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, political committee, or candidate.

b.         A communication that constitutes an expenditure or independent expenditure.

c.         A communication that constitutes a candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to rules adopted by the State 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.

e.         An electioneering communication.

f.          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.

(3)        Disclosure date. - Either of the following:

a.         The first date during any calendar year when a candidate-specific communication is aired after an entity has incurred expenses for the direct costs of producing or airing candidate-specific communications aggregating in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

b.         Any other date during that calendar year by which an entity has incurred expenses for the direct costs of producing or airing candidate-specific communications aggregating in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) since the most recent disclosure date for that calendar year.

(4)        Targeted to the relevant electorate. - A communication which refers to a clearly identified candidate for statewide office or the General Assembly and which can be received by 50,000 or more individuals in the State in the case of a candidacy for statewide office and 7,500 or more individuals in the district in the case of a candidacy for General Assembly.

" 163A-5502.  Disclosure of candidate-specific communications.

(a)        Statement Required. - Every individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals that incurs an expense for the direct costs of producing or airing candidate-specific communications in an aggregate amount in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) during any calendar year shall, within 24 hours of each disclosure date, file with the State Board a statement containing the information described in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)        Contents of Statement. - Each statement required to be filed by this section shall be made under the penalty of perjury in G.S. 14-209 and shall contain the following information:

(1)        The identification of the entity incurring the expense, of any entity sharing or exercising direction or control over the activities of that entity, and of the custodian of the books and accounts of the entity incurring the expense.

(2)        The principal place of business of the entity incurring the expense if the entity is not an individual.

(3)        The amount of each expense incurred of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) during the period covered by the statement and the identification of the entity to whom the expense was incurred.

(4)        The candidates in the candidate-specific communications that are identified or are to be identified.

(5)        The identity of every provider of funds or anything of value whatsoever to the entity, providing an amount in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000). If the provider is an individual, the statement shall also contain the principal occupation of the provider. The "principal occupation of the provider" shall mean the same as the "principal occupation of the contributor" as defined in G.S. 163A-4540.

(c)        Creating Multiple Organizations. - It shall be unlawful for any individual, business entity, or entity to create, establish, or organize more than one political organization, as defined in section 527(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, with the intent to avoid or evade the reporting requirements contained in this Article.

" 163A-5503:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-5504:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-5505.  Penalties.

The State Board has the same authority to compel from any individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals covered by this Article the disclosures required by this Article that the State Board has to compel the disclosures required by Article 45 of this Chapter. The civil penalties and remedies in G.S. 163A-4518 shall apply to violations of this Article.

" 163A-5506.  Determination of candidate-specific communication.

(a)        Any individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals that produces a communication to be aired to the relevant electorate in the time periods under G.S. 163A-5501(1)b. may, but is not required to, ask the State Board for a determination as to whether or not that communication is a candidate-specific communication prior to the airing of that communication.

(b)        The State Board shall establish a process for determination as to whether a communication is a candidate-specific communication prior to the airing of that communication when it is requested under subsection (a) of this section. 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 include an opportunity for immediate appeal to the State Board of the determination by the Executive Director.

"Article 56.

"Mailings and Telephone Banks: Candidate-Specific Communications.

" 163A-5601.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1)        Candidate-specific communication. - Any postal mailing or telephone bank that has all the following characteristics:

a.         Refers to a clearly identified candidate for a statewide office or the General Assembly.

b.         Is transmitted in an even-numbered year after the final date on which a Notice of Candidacy can be filed for the office, pursuant to G.S. 163-106(c) or G.S. 163-323, and through the day on which the general election is conducted, excluding the time period set in the definition for "electioneering communication" in G.S. 163A-4502(14)b.

c.         Is targeted to the relevant electorate.

(2)        Candidate-specific communication does not include any of the following:

a.         A communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through any newspaper or periodical, unless that publication is owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate.

b.         A communication that constitutes an expenditure or independent expenditure.

c.         A communication that constitutes a candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to rules adopted by the State 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 that is distributed by a corporation solely to its shareholders or employees or by a labor union or professional association solely to its members.

e.         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.

f.          An electioneering communication.

g.         A public opinion poll conducted by a newspaper, periodical, or other news gathering organization.

h.         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.

(3)        Disclosure date. - Either of the following:

a.         The first date during any calendar year when a candidate-specific communication is transmitted after an entity has incurred expenses for the direct costs of producing or transmitting candidate-specific communications aggregating in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

b.         Any other date during that calendar year by which an entity has incurred expenses for the direct costs of producing or transmitting candidate-specific communications aggregating in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) since the most recent disclosure date for that calendar year.

(4)        Postal mailing. - Any mailing by United States mail or facsimile.

(5)        Race. - A ballot item, as defined in G.S. 163-165(2), in which the voters are to choose between or among candidates.

(6)        Targeted to the relevant electorate. Either of the following:

a.         With respect to a statewide race, either of the following:

1.         Transmitting, by mail or facsimile, to a cumulative total of 50,000 or more addresses in the State, items identifying one or more candidates in the same race within any 30-day period.

2.         Making a cumulative total of 50,000 or more telephone calls in the State identifying one or more candidates in the same race within any 30-day period.

b.         With respect to a race for the General Assembly, either of the following:

1.         Transmitting, by mail or facsimile, to a cumulative total of 2,500 or more addresses in the district, items identifying one or more candidates in the same race within any 30-day period.

2.         Making a cumulative total of 2,500 or more telephone calls in the district identifying one or more candidates in the same race within any 30-day period.

" 163A-5602.  Disclosure of candidate-specific communications.

(a)        Statement Required. - Every individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals that incurs an expense for the direct costs of producing or transmitting candidate-specific communications in an aggregate amount in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) during any calendar year shall, within 24 hours of each disclosure date, file with the State Board a statement containing the information described in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)        Contents of Statement. - Each statement required to be filed by this section shall be made under the penalty of perjury in G.S. 14-209 and shall contain the following information:

(1)        The identification of the entity incurring the expense, of any entity sharing or exercising direction or control over the activities of that entity, and of the custodian of the books and accounts of the entity incurring the expense.

(2)        The principal place of business of the entity incurring the expense if the entity is not an individual.

(3)        The amount of each expense incurred of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) during the period covered by the statement and the identification of the entity to whom the expense was incurred.

(4)        The candidates in the candidate-specific communications that are identified or are to be identified.

(5)        The identity of every provider of funds or anything of value whatsoever to the entity, providing an amount in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000). If the provider is an individual, the statement shall also contain the principal occupation of the provider. The "principal occupation of the provider" shall mean the same as the "principal occupation of the contributor" in G.S. 163A-4540.

(c)        Creating Multiple Organizations. - It shall be unlawful for any individual, business entity, or entity to create, establish, or organize more than one political organization, as defined in section 527(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, with the intent to avoid or evade the reporting requirements contained in this Article.

" 163A-5603:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-5604:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-5605.  Penalties.

The State Board has the same authority to compel from any individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals covered by this Article the disclosures required by this Article that the State Board has to compel the disclosures required by Article 45 of this Chapter. The civil penalties and remedies in G.S. 163A-4518 shall apply to violations of this Article.

" 163A-5606.  Determination of candidate-specific communication.

(a)        Any individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals that produces a communication to be distributed to the relevant electorate in the time periods under G.S. 163A-5601(1)b. may, but is not required to, ask the State Board for a determination as to whether or not that communication is a candidate-specific communication prior to the airing of that communication.

(b)        The State Board shall establish a process for determination as to whether a communication is a candidate-specific communication prior to the airing of that communication when it is requested under subsection (a) of this section. 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 include an opportunity for immediate appeal to the State Board of the determination by the Executive Director.

"Article 60.

"Legal Expense Funds.

" 163A-6001.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1)        Business. - Any partnership, joint venture, joint-stock company, company, firm, or any commercial or industrial establishment or enterprise.

(2)        Elected officer. - Any individual serving in or seeking a public office. An individual is seeking a public office when that individual has filed any notice, petition, or other document required by law or local act as a condition of election to public office. An individual continues to be an elected officer for purposes of this Article as long as a legal action commenced while the individual was an elected officer continues. If a legal action is commenced after an individual ceases to serve in or seek public office but the legal action concerns subject matter in the individual's official capacity as an elected officer, for purposes of this Article, that individual is an elected officer as long as that legal action continues.

(3)        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-6020. An expenditure forgiven by an individual, business entity, or entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a legal expense donation.

(4)        Legal action. - A formal dispute in a judicial, legislative, or administrative forum, including, but not limited to, a civil or criminal action filed in a court, a complaint or protest filed with a board of elections, an election contest filed under Article 3 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes or G.S. 163-182.13A, or a complaint filed under Subchapter II of this Chapter or with the Legislative Ethics Committee. The term "legal action" also includes investigations made or conducted before the commencement of any formal proceedings. The term "legal action" does not include the election itself or the campaign for election.

(5)        Legal expense donation. - A legal expense donation means any advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, payment, gift, subscription of money, or anything of value whatsoever, and any contract, agreement, or other obligation to make a contribution to a legal expense fund for a permitted use as provided in G.S. 163A-6020. The term "legal expense donation" does not include either of the following:

a.         The provision of legal services to an elected officer by the State or any of its political subdivisions when those services are authorized or required by law.

b.         The provision of free or pro bono legal advice or legal services, provided that any costs incurred or expenses advanced for which clients are liable under other provisions of law shall be deemed legal expense donations.

(6)        Legal expense fund. - Any collection of money for the purpose of funding a legal action, or a potential legal action, taken by or against an elected officer in that elected officer's official capacity.

(7)        Legal expense fund treasurer. - An individual appointed by an elected officer or other individual or group of individuals collecting money for a legal expense fund.

(8)        Official capacity. - Related to or resulting from the campaign for public office or related to or resulting from holding public office. "Official capacity" is not limited to "scope and course of employment" as used in G.S. 143-300.3.

" 163A-6002.  Creation of legal expense funds.

(a)        An elected officer, or another individual or group of individuals on the elected officer's behalf, shall create a legal expense fund if given a legal expense donation, other than from that elected officer's self, spouse, parents, brothers, or sisters, for any of the following purposes:

(1)        To fund an existing legal action taken by or against the elected officer in that elected officer's official capacity.

(2)        To fund a potential legal action taken by or against an elected officer in that elected officer's official capacity.

(b)        This section shall not apply to any payment to the State or any of its political subdivisions.

(c)        The legal expense fund shall comply with all provisions of this Article.

(d)        If an elected officer funds legal actions entirely from that elected officer's own legal expense donations or those of the elected officer's spouse, parents, brothers, or sisters, that elected officer is not required to create a legal expense fund. If a legal expense fund accepts legal expense donations as described in subsection (a) of this section, that legal expense fund shall report the elected officer's own legal expense donations and those of those family members along with the other legal expense donations in accordance with G.S. 163A-6010.

(e)        No more than one legal expense fund shall be created by or for an elected officer for the same legal action. Legal actions arising out of the same set of transactions and occurrences are deemed the same legal action for purposes of this subsection. A legal expense fund created for one legal action or potential legal action may be kept open by or on behalf of the elected officer for subsequent legal actions or potential legal actions.

(f)         Contractual arrangements, including liability insurance, or commercial relationships or arrangements made in the normal course of business if not made for the purpose of lobbying, are not "legal expense donations" for purposes of this Article. Use of such contractual arrangements to fund legal actions does not by itself require the elected officer to create a legal expense fund. If a legal expense fund has been created pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, such contractual arrangements shall be reported as expenditures.

(g)        A violation of this Article shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

" 163A-6003 through 163A-6005:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-6006.  Legal expense fund treasurer.

(a)        Each legal expense fund shall appoint a legal expense fund treasurer and, under verification, report the name and address of the legal expense fund treasurer to the State Board.

(b)        A legal expense fund may remove its legal expense fund treasurer. In case of the death, resignation, or removal of its legal expense fund treasurer, the legal expense fund shall appoint a successor within 10 calendar days of the vacancy and certify the name and address of the successor in the same manner provided in the case of an original appointment.

(c)        Every legal expense fund treasurer of a legal expense fund shall receive training from the State Board as to the duties of the office within three months of appointment and at least once every four years thereafter.

" 163A-6007.  Detailed accounts to be kept by legal expense fund treasurer.

(a)        The legal expense fund treasurer of each legal expense fund shall keep detailed accounts, current within seven calendar days after the date of receiving a legal expense donation or making an expenditure, of all legal expense donations received and all expenditures made by or on behalf of the legal expense fund.

(b)        Accounts kept by the legal expense fund treasurer of a legal expense fund or the accounts of a legal expense fund treasurer or legal expense fund at any bank or other depository may be inspected by a member, designee, agent, attorney, or employee of the State Board who is making an investigation pursuant to G.S. 163A-4506.

(c)        For purposes of this section, "detailed accounts" shall mean at least all information required to be included in the quarterly report required under this Article.

(d)        When a legal expense fund treasurer shows that best efforts have been used to obtain, maintain, and submit the information required by this Article, any report of the legal expense shall be considered in compliance with this Article and shall not be the basis for criminal prosecution or the imposition of civil penalties. The State Board shall adopt rules to implement this subsection.

" 163A-6008.  Reports filed with State Board.

(a)        The legal expense fund treasurer of each legal expense fund shall file with the State Board the following reports:

(1)        Organizational report. - The report required under G.S. 163A-6009.

(2)        Quarterly report. - The report required under G.S. 163A-6010.

(b)        Any report or attachment required by this Article shall be filed under certification of the legal expense fund treasurer as true and correct to the best of the knowledge of that officer.

(c)        The organizational report shall be filed within 10 calendar days of the creation of the legal expense fund. All quarterly reports shall be filed with the State Board no later than 10 business days after the end of each calendar quarter.

(d)        Legal expense fund treasurers shall electronically file each report required by this section that shows a cumulative total for the quarter in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) in legal expense donations or expenditures, according to rules adopted by the State Board. The State Board shall provide the software necessary to the legal expense fund treasurer to file the required electronic report at no cost to the legal expense fund.

(e)        Any statement required to be filed under this Article shall be signed and certified as true and correct by the legal expense fund treasurer and shall be certified as true and correct to the best of the legal expense fund treasurer's knowledge. The elected officer creating the legal expense fund, or the other individual or group of individuals creating the legal expense fund on the elected officer's behalf, shall certify as true and correct to the best of their knowledge the organizational report and appointment of the legal expense fund treasurer. A certification under this Article shall be treated as under oath, and any individual making a certification under this Article knowing the information to be untrue is guilty of a Class I felony.

" 163A-6009.  Organizational report.

(a)        Each appointed legal expense fund treasurer shall file with the State Board a statement of organization that includes all of the following:

(1)        The name, address, and purpose of the legal expense fund.

(2)        The names, addresses, and relationships of affiliated or connected elected officers, candidates, political committees, referendum committees, political parties, or similar organizations.

(3)        The name, address, and position with the legal expense fund of the custodian of books and accounts.

(4)        A listing of all banks, safety deposit boxes, or other depositories used, including the names and numbers of all accounts maintained and the numbers of all such safety deposit boxes used. The State Board shall keep any account number required by this Article confidential except as necessary to conduct an audit or investigation, except as required by a court of competent jurisdiction, or except as confidentiality is waived by the legal expense fund treasurer. Disclosure of an account number in violation of this subdivision shall not give rise to a civil cause of action. This limitation of liability does not apply to the disclosure of account numbers in violation of this subdivision as a result of gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing that would otherwise be actionable.

(5)        The name or names and address or addresses of any assistant legal expense fund treasurers appointed by the legal expense fund treasurer. Such assistant legal expense fund treasurers shall be authorized to act in the name of the legal expense fund treasurer, who shall be fully responsible for any act or acts committed by an assistant legal expense fund treasurer, and the legal expense fund treasurer shall be fully liable for any violation of this Article committed by any assistant legal expense fund treasurer.

(6)        Any other information which might be requested by the State Board that deals with the legal expense fund organization.

(b)        Any change in information previously submitted in a statement of organization shall be reported to the State Board within 10 calendar days following the change.

" 163A-6010.  Quarterly report.

The legal expense fund treasurer of each legal expense fund shall be required to file a quarterly report with the State Board containing all of the following:

(1)        Legal expense donations. - The name and complete mailing address of each donor, the amount of the legal expense donation, the principal occupation of the donor, and the date the legal expense donation was received. The total sum of all legal expense donations to date shall also be plainly exhibited. The legal expense fund treasurer is not required to report the name of any donor making a total legal expense donation of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less in a calendar quarter, but shall instead report the fact that the legal expense fund treasurer has received a total legal expense donation of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less, the amount of the legal expense donation, and the date of receipt.

(2)        Expenditures. - A list of all expenditures made by or on behalf of the legal expense fund. The report shall list the name and complete mailing address of each payee, the amount paid, the purpose, and the date such payment was made. The total sum of all expenditures to date shall also be plainly exhibited. The payee shall be the entity to whom the legal expense fund is obligated to make the expenditure. If the expenditure is to a financial institution for revolving credit or a reimbursement for a payment to a financial institution for revolving credit, the statement shall also include a specific itemization of the goods and services purchased with the revolving credit. If the obligation is for more than one good or service, the statement shall include a specific itemization of the obligation so as to provide a reasonable understanding of the obligation.

(3)        Loans. - All proceeds from loans shall be recorded separately with a detailed analysis reflecting the amount of the loan, the source, the period, the rate of interest, and the security pledged, if any, and all makers and endorsers.

" 163A-6011 through 163A- 6015:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-6016.  Limitations on legal expense donations.

(a)        No entity shall make, and no legal expense fund treasurer shall accept, any monetary legal expense donation in excess of fifty dollars ($50.00) unless such legal expense donation is in the form of a check, draft, money order, credit card charge, debit, or other noncash method that can be subject to written verification. No legal expense donation in the form of check, draft, money order, credit card charge, debit, or other noncash method may be made or accepted unless it contains a specific designation of the intended donee chosen by the donor.

(b)        The State Board may adopt rules as to the reporting and verification of any method of legal expense donation payment allowed under this Article. For legal expense donations by money order, the State Board shall adopt rules to ensure an audit trail for every legal expense donation so that the identity of the donor can be determined.

(c)        For any legal expense donation made by credit card, the credit card account number of a donor is not a public record.

(d)        No legal expense fund shall accept legal expense donations from a corporation, labor union, insurance company, professional association, or business in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) per calendar year. No legal expense fund shall accept legal expense donations from a corporation which when totaled with legal expense donations to the same legal expense fund for the same calendar year from any affiliated corporation exceed the per calendar year legal expense donation limits for that legal expense fund. No legal expense fund shall accept legal expense donations from a labor union which when totaled with legal expense donations to the same legal expense fund for the same calendar year from any affiliated labor union exceed the per calendar year legal expense donation limits for that legal expense fund. No legal expense fund shall accept legal expense donations from an insurance company which when totaled with legal expense donations to the same legal expense fund for the same calendar year from any affiliated insurance company exceed the per calendar year legal expense donation limits for that legal expense fund. No legal expense fund shall accept legal expense donations from a professional association which when totaled with legal expense donations to the same legal expense fund for the same calendar year from any affiliated professional association exceed the per calendar year legal expense donation limits for that legal expense fund. No legal expense fund shall accept legal expense donations from a business which when totaled with legal expense donations to the same legal expense fund for the same calendar year from any affiliated business exceed the per calendar year legal expense donation limits for that legal expense fund. This subsection does not apply to political committees created pursuant to G.S. 163A-4557(d), except that no legal expense fund shall accept a legal expense donation which would be a violation of G.S. 163A-4542 if accepted by a candidate or political committee. This subsection does not apply to corporations permitted to make contributions in G.S. 163A-4557(h).

(e)        No entity shall make a legal expense donation to a legal expense fund that the legal expense fund could not accept under subsection (d) of this section.

" 163A-6017 through 163A-6019:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

" 163A-6020.  Permitted uses of legal expense funds.

(a)        A legal expense fund may be used for reasonable expenses actually incurred by the elected officer in relation to a legal action or potential legal action brought by or against the elected officer in that elected officer's official capacity. The elected officer's campaign itself shall not be funded from a legal expense fund.

(b)        Upon closing a legal expense account, the legal expense fund treasurer shall distribute the remaining monies in the legal expense fund to any of the following:

(1)        The Indigent Persons' Attorney Fee Fund under Article 36 of Chapter 7A of the General Statutes.

(2)        The North Carolina State Bar for the provision of civil legal services for indigents.

(3)        Payments to an organization described in section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 170(c)), provided that the candidate or the candidate's spouse, children, parents, brothers, or sisters are not employed by the organization.

(4)        To return all or a portion of a legal expense donation to the donor.

(5)        Payment to the Escheat Fund established by Chapter 116B of the General Statutes."

SECTION 2.  The following statutes are repealed:

(1)        Chapter 138A of the General Statutes.

(2)        Chapter 120C of the General Statutes.

(3)        Article 22A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

(4)        Article 22B of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

(5)        Article 22D of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

(6)        Article 22G of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

(7)        Article 22H of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

(8)        Article 22J of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

(9)        Article 22M of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 3.  G.S. 14-217(d) reads as rewritten:

"(d)      For purposes of this section, a thing of value or personal advantage shall include a campaign contribution made or received under Article 22A of Chapter 163Article 45 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 4.  G.S. 18B-201 reads as rewritten:

" 18B-201.  Conflict of interest; gifts.

(e)        Conflicts of Interest for the Commission. - The provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes shall apply to the Commission.

(f)         Conflicts of Interest for Local Boards. - Except as permitted under subsection (h) of this section, a local ABC board member shall not knowingly use the local ABC board member's position on the board in any way that will result in financial benefit to the local ABC board member, the local ABC board member's spouse, any person related to the local ABC board member by blood to a degree of first cousin or closer, or any business with which the local ABC board member is associated.

(g)        For purposes of subsection (f) of this section, "business with which associated" shall have the same meaning as in G.S. 138A-3(3).G.S. 163A-200(4). For purposes of this section, "financial benefit" shall mean a direct pecuniary gain or loss, or a direct pecuniary loss to a business competitor.

."

SECTION 5.  G.S. 58-50-180(i) reads as rewritten:

"(i)        The members of the Board are public servants under G.S. 138A-3(30)G.S. 163A-200(40) and are subject to the provisions of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 6.  G.S. 62A-41(d) reads as rewritten:

"(d)      Public Servants. - The members of the 911 Board are public servants under G.S. 138A-3G.S. 163A-200(40) and are subject to the provisions of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 7.  G.S. 66-58(c)(17) reads as rewritten:

"(17)    The sale by the State Board of ElectionsState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to political committees and candidate committees of computer software designed by or for the State Board of ElectionsState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to provide a uniform system of electronic filing of the campaign finance reports required by Article 22A of Chapter 163Article 45 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes and to facilitate the State Board's monitoring of compliance with that Article. This computer software for electronic filing of campaign finance reports shall not exceed a cost of one hundred dollars ($100.00) to any political committee or candidate committee without the State Board of ElectionsState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement first notifying in writing the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations."

SECTION 8.  G.S. 66-260(11)v. reads as rewritten:

"v.        A person soliciting political contributions in accordance with Article 22A of Chapter 163Article 45 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 9.  G.S. 84-34 reads as rewritten:

" 84-34.  Membership fees and list of members.

Every active member of the North Carolina State Bar shall, prior to the first day of July of each year, pay to the secretary-treasurer an annual membership fee in an amount determined by the Council but not to exceed three hundred dollars ($300.00), plus a surcharge of fifty dollars ($50.00) for the implementation of Article 22D of Chapter 163Article 47 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes, and every member shall notify the secretary-treasurer of the member's correct mailing address. Any member who fails to pay the required dues by the last day of June of each year shall be subject to a late fee in an amount determined by the Council but not to exceed thirty dollars ($30.00). All dues for prior years shall be as were set forth in the General Statutes then in effect. The membership fee shall be regarded as a service charge for the maintenance of the several services authorized by this Article, and shall be in addition to all fees required in connection with admissions to practice, and in addition to all license taxes required by law. The fee shall not be prorated: Provided, that no fee shall be required of an attorney licensed after this Article shall have gone into effect until the first day of January of the calendar year following that in which the attorney was licensed; but this proviso shall not apply to attorneys from other states admitted on certificate. The fees shall be disbursed by the secretary-treasurer on the order of the Council. The fifty-dollar ($50.00) surcharge shall be sent on a monthly schedule to the State Board of Elections.State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The secretary-treasurer shall annually, at a time and in a law magazine or daily newspaper to be prescribed by the Council, publish an account of the financial transactions of the Council in a form to be prescribed by it. The secretary-treasurer shall compile and keep currently correct from the names and mailing addresses forwarded to the secretary-treasurer and from any other available sources of information a list of members of the North Carolina State Bar and furnish to the clerk of the superior court in each county, not later than the first day of October in each year, a list showing the name and address of each attorney for that county who has not complied with the provisions of this Article. The name of each of the active members who are in arrears in the payment of membership fees shall be furnished to the presiding judge at the next term of the superior court after the first day of October of each year, by the clerk of the superior court of each county wherein the member or members reside, and the court shall thereupon take action that is necessary and proper. The names and addresses of attorneys so certified shall be kept available to the public. The Secretary of Revenue is hereby directed to supply the secretary-treasurer, from records of license tax payments, with any information for which the secretary-treasurer may call in order to enable the secretary-treasurer to comply with this requirement.

The list submitted to several clerks of the superior court shall also be submitted to the Council at its October meeting of each year and it shall take the action thereon that is necessary and proper."

SECTION 10.  G.S. 93B-5(g) reads as rewritten:

"(g)       Within six months of a board member's initial appointment to the board, and at least once within every two calendar years thereafter, a board member shall receive training, either from the board's staff, including its legal advisor, or from an outside educational institution such as the School of Government of the University of North Carolina, on the statutes governing the board and rules adopted by the board, as well as the following State laws, in order to better understand the obligations and limitations of a State agency:

(1)        Chapter 150B, The Administrative Procedure Act.

(2)        Chapter 132, The Public Records Law.

(3)        Article 33C of Chapter 143, The Open Meetings Act.

(4)        Articles 31 and 31A of Chapter 143, The State Tort Claims Act and The Defense of State Employees Law.

(5)        Chapter 138A, The State Government Ethics Act.

(6)        Chapter 120C, Lobbying.

(7)        Chapter 163A, State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

Completion of the training requirements contained in Chapter 138A and Chapter 120CChapter 163A of the General Statutes satisfies the requirements of subdivisions (5) and (6)subdivision (7) of this subsection."

SECTION 11.  G.S. 105-159.1(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Amounts designated under subsection (a) shall be credited to the North Carolina Political Parties Financing Fund on a quarterly basis. Interest earned by the Fund shall be credited to the Fund and shall be allocated among the political parties on the same basis as the principal of the Fund. The State Board of ElectionsElections and Ethics Enforcement which administers the Fund, shall make a quarterly report to each State party chairman stating the amount of funds allocated to each party for that quarter, the cumulative total of funds allocated to each party to date for the year, and an estimate of the probable total amount to be collected and allocated to each party for that calendar year."

SECTION 12.  G.S. 105-159.2 reads as rewritten:

" 105-159.2.  Designation of tax to North Carolina Public Campaign Fund.

(a)        Allocation to the North Carolina Public Campaign Fund. - To ensure the financial viability of the North Carolina Public Campaign Fund established in Article 22D of Chapter 163 Article 47 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes, the Department must allocate to that Fund three dollars ($3.00) from the income taxes paid each year by each individual with an income tax liability of at least that amount, if the individual agrees. A taxpayer must be given the opportunity to indicate an agreement or objection to that allocation in the manner described in subsection (b) of this section. In the case of a married couple filing a joint return, each individual must have the option of agreeing or objecting to the allocation. The amounts allocated under this subsection to the Fund must be credited to it on a monthly basis.

(b)        Returns. - Individual income tax returns must give an individual an opportunity to agree to the allocation of three dollars ($3.00) of the individual's tax liability to the North Carolina Public Campaign Fund. The Department must make it clear to the taxpayer that the dollars will support a nonpartisan court system, that the dollars will go to the Fund if the taxpayer marks an agreement, and that allocation of the dollars neither increases nor decreases the individual's tax liability. The following statement must be used to meet this requirement: "Mark 'Yes' if you want to designate $3 of taxes to this special Fund for voter education materials and for candidates who accept spending limits. Marking 'Yes' does not change your tax or refund." The Department must consult with the State Board of ElectionsState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to ensure that the information given to taxpayers complies with the intent of this section.

The Department must inform the entities it approves to reproduce the return that they must comply with the requirements of this section and that a return may not reflect an agreement or objection unless the individual completing the return decided to agree or object after being presented with the statement required by subsection (b) of this section and, as available background information or instructions, the information required by subsection (c) of this section. No software package used in preparing North Carolina income tax returns may default to an agreement or objection. A paid preparer of tax returns may not mark an agreement or objection for a taxpayer without the taxpayer's consent.

(c)        Instructions. - The instruction for individual income tax returns must include the following explanatory statement: "The N.C. Public Campaign Fund provides an alternative source of campaign money to qualified candidates who accept strict campaign spending and fund-raising limits. The Fund also helps finance a Voter Guide with educational materials about voter registration, the role of the appellate courts, and the candidates seeking election as appellate judges in North Carolina. Three dollars from the taxes you pay will go to the Fund if you mark an agreement. Regardless of what choice you make, your tax will not increase, nor will any refund be reduced."

SECTION 13.  G.S. 114-15(a) reads as rewritten:

" 114-15.  Investigations of lynchings, election frauds, etc.; services subject to call of Governor; witness fees and mileage for Director and assistants.

(a)        The Bureau shall, through its Director and upon request of the Governor, investigate and prepare evidence in the event of any lynching or mob violence in the State; shall investigate all cases arising from frauds in connection with elections when requested to do so by the Board of Elections, and when so directed by the Governor. Such investigation, however, shall in nowise interfere with the power of the Attorney General to make such investigation as the Attorney General is authorized to make under the laws of the State. The Bureau is authorized further, at the request of the Governor, to investigate cases of frauds arising under the Social Security Laws of the State, of violations of the gaming laws, and lottery laws, and matters of similar kind when called upon by the Governor so to do. In all such cases it shall be the duty of the Department to keep such records as may be necessary and to prepare evidence in the cases investigated, for the use of enforcement officers and for the trial of causes. The services of the Director of the Bureau, and of the Director's assistants, may be required by the Governor in connection with the investigation of any crime committed anywhere in the State when called upon by the enforcement officers of the State, and when, in the judgment of the Governor, such services may be rendered with advantage to the enforcement of the criminal law. The State Bureau of Investigation is hereby authorized to investigate without request the attempted arson of, or arson of, damage of, theft from, or theft of, or misuse of, any State-owned personal property, buildings, or other real property or any assault upon or threats against any legislative officer named in G.S. 147-2(1), (2), or (3), any executive officer named in G.S. 147-3(c), or any court officer as defined in G.S. 14-16.10(1). The Bureau also is authorized at the request of the Governor to conduct a background investigation on a person that the Governor plans to nominate for a position that must be confirmed by the General Assembly, the Senate, or the House of Representatives. The background investigation of the proposed nominee shall be limited to an investigation of the person's criminal record, educational background, employment record, records concerning the listing and payment of taxes, and credit record, and to a requirement that the person provide the information contained in the statements of economic interest required to be filed by persons subject to Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes. The Governor must give the person being investigated written notice that the Governor intends to request a background investigation at least 10 days prior to the date that the Governor requests the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct the background investigation. The written notice shall be sent by regular mail, and there is created a rebuttable presumption that the person received the notice if the Governor has a copy of the notice."

SECTION 14.  G.S. 115D-2.1(b1) reads as rewritten:

"(b1)    Upon receipt of a referral from the State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement in accordance with G.S. 138A-12(k)G.S. 163A-206(m) concerning a member of the State Board of Community Colleges, the principal clerk of the house of the General Assembly receiving the referral shall immediately refer the matter to the appropriate education committee of that house. That committee may recommend to that house a resolution providing for the removal of the Board member. If the committee's proposed resolution is adopted by a majority of the members present and voting of that house, the public servant shall be removed and the seat previously held by that Board member becomes vacant."

SECTION 15.  G.S. 116-7(b1) reads as rewritten:

"(b1)    Upon receipt of a referral from the State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement in accordance with G.S. 138A-12(k)G.S. 163A-206(m) concerning a member of the Board of Governors, the principal clerk of the house of the General Assembly receiving the referral shall immediately refer the matter to the appropriate education committee of that house. That committee may recommend to that house a resolution providing for the removal of the Board member. If the committee's proposed resolution is adopted by a majority of the members present and voting of that house, the public servant shall be removed and the seat previously held by that Board member becomes vacant."

SECTION 16.  G.S. 120-4.33(c)(2) reads as rewritten:

"(2)      Perjury or false information as follows:

a.         Perjury committed under G.S. 14-209 in falsely denying the commission of an act that constitutes an offense within the purview of an offense listed in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section.

b.         Subornation of perjury committed under G.S. 14-210 in connection with the false denial of another as specified by subdivision (2) of this subsection.

c.         Perjury under Article 22A of Chapter 163Article 45 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 17.  G.S. 120-19.4A reads as rewritten:

" 120-19.4A.  Requests to State Bureau of Investigation for background investigation of a person who must be confirmed by legislative action.

The President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House may request that the State Bureau of Investigation perform a background investigation on a person who must be appointed or confirmed by the General Assembly, the Senate, or the House of Representatives. The person being investigated shall be given written notice by regular mail at least 10 days prior to the date that the State Bureau of Investigation is requested to perform the background investigation by the presiding officer of the body from which the request originated. There is a rebuttable presumption that the person being investigated received the notice if the presiding officer has a copy of the notice. The State Bureau of Investigation shall perform the requested background investigation and shall provide the information, including criminal records, to the presiding officer of the body from which the request originated. A copy of the information also shall be provided to the person being investigated. The term "background investigation" shall be limited to an investigation of a person's criminal record, educational background, employment record, records concerning the listing and payment of taxes, and credit record, and to a requirement that the person provide the information contained in the statements of economic interest required to be filed by persons subject to Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 18.  G.S. 120-30.9B, as amended by S.L. 2011-145, Sec. 22.3, is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(c)       The Executive Director of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement or, in the discretion of the Legislative Services Commission, a person designated by the Legislative Services Commission shall seek approval, as required by 42 U.S.C. 1973c, within 30 days of the time they become laws of all acts of the General Assembly that amend, delete, add to, modify, or repeal any provision of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes which constitute a "change affecting voting" under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

SECTION 19.  G.S. 120-70.141 reads as rewritten:

" 120-70.141.  Purpose and powers of Committee.

(a)        The Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee shall examine, on a continuing basis, election administration and campaign finance regulation in North Carolina, in order to make ongoing recommendations to the General Assembly on ways to improve elections administration and campaign finance regulation. In this examination, the Committee shall do the following:

(1)        Study the budgets, programs, and policies of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement and the county boards of elections to determine ways in which the General Assembly may improve election administration and campaign finance regulation.administration.

(1a)      Study the budgets, programs, and policies of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement and the county boards of elections to determine ways in which the General Assembly may improve campaign finance regulation.

(2)        Examine election statutes and court decisions to determine any legislative changes that are needed to improve election administration and campaign finance regulation.

(3)        Study other states' initiatives in election administration and campaign finance regulation to provide an ongoing commentary to the General Assembly on these initiatives and to make recommendations for implementing similar initiatives in North Carolina; and

(4)        Study any other election matters that the Committee considers necessary to fulfill its mandate.

(b)        The Committee may make interim reports to the General Assembly on matters for which it may report to a regular session of the General Assembly. A report to the General Assembly may contain any legislation needed to implement a recommendation of the Committee."

SECTION 20. G.S. 120-85.1 reads as rewritten:

" 120-85.1.  Definitions.

As used in this Article, the following terms mean:

(1)        Business with which associated. - As defined in G.S. 138A-3.G.S. 163A-200(4).

(2)        Confidential information. - As defined in G.S. 138A-3.G.S. 163A-200(7).

(3)        Economic interest. - As defined in G.S. 138A-3.

(4)        Immediate family. - As defined in G.S. 138A-3.G.S. 163A-200(20).

(5)        Legislator. - As defined in G.S. 138A-3.G.S. 163A-200(36).

(6)        Nonprofit corporation or organization with which associated. - As defined in G.S. 138A-3.G.S. 163A-200(31).

(7)        Vested trust. - As defined in G.S. 138A-3.G.S. 163A-200(31)."

SECTION 21.  G.S. 120-86.1 reads as rewritten:

" 120-86.1.  Personnel-related action unethical.

It shall be unethical for a legislator to take, promise, or threaten any legislative action, as defined in G.S. 120C-100(5),G.S. 163A-200(24) for the purpose of influencing or in retaliation for any action regarding State employee hirings, promotions, grievances, or disciplinary actions subject to Chapter 126 of the General Statutes."

SECTION 22.  G.S. 120-102(a)(6a) reads as rewritten:

"(6a)     Review, modify, or overrule advisory opinions issued to legislators by the State Ethics Commission under G.S. 138A-13.State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement under G.S. 163A-204."

SECTION 23.  G.S. 120-103.1 reads as rewritten:

" 120-103.1.  Investigations by the Committee.

(a)        Institution of Proceedings. - On its own motion, or upon receipt of a referral of a complaint from the State Ethics Commission under Chapter 138A State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement under Chapter 163A of the General Statutes, the Committee shall conduct an investigation into any of the following:

(1)        The application or alleged violation of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes and of this Article.

(2)        Repealed by Session Laws 2007-348, s. 2, effective August 9, 2007.

(3)        The alleged violation of the criminal law by a legislator while acting in the legislator's official capacity as a participant in the lawmaking process.

(a1)      Complaints on Its Own Motion. - An investigation initiated by the Committee on its own motion instituted under subsection (a) of this section shall be treated as a complaint for purposes of this section and need not be sworn or verified. Any requirements under this section that require the Committee to notify the complainant shall not apply to complaints taken up by the Committee on its own motion. If the Committee is acting on a complaint referred to the Committee by the CommissionState Board where the Commission State Board was acting on its own motion, the Committee shall be deemed to have satisfied the notice requirements by providing notice to the Commission. State Board. Any notice provided to the Commission State Board under this section is confidential and shall not be disclosed by the Commission.State Board.

(b)        Initial Consideration of a Complaint. - All of the following shall apply to the Committee's initial consideration of a complaint:

(1)        The Committee may, in its sole discretion, request additional information to be provided by the complainant within a specified period of time of no less than seven business days.

(2)        The Committee may decline to accept or further investigate a complaint if it determines that any of the following apply:

a.         The complaint is frivolous or brought in bad faith.

b.         The individuals and conduct complained of have already been the subject of a prior complaint.

c.         The conduct complained of is primarily a matter more appropriately and adequately addressed and handled by other federal, State, or local agencies or authorities, including law enforcement authorities. If other agencies or authorities are conducting an investigation of the same actions or conduct involved in a complaint filed under this section, the Committee may stay its complaint investigation pending final resolution of the other investigation.

(3)        Repealed by Session Laws 2009-549, s. 1, effective August 28, 2009.

(4)        Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, complaints filed with the Committee concerning the conduct of the Lieutenant Governor shall be referred to the State Ethics Commission under Chapter 138A State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement under Chapter 163A of the General Statutes without investigation by the Committee.

(c)        Investigation of Complaints. - The Committee shall investigate all complaints properly before the Committee in a timely manner. Within 10 business days of receiving a complaint or a referral of a complaint to the Committee, the Committee shall do at least one of the following:

(1)        Dismiss the complaint.

(2)        Initiate a preliminary investigation of the complaint.

(3)        Refer the complaint for further investigation and a hearing in accordance with subsection (i) of this section.

(4)        Make recommendations to the house in which the legislator who is the subject of the complaint is a member without further investigation, if the referral is from the State Ethics Commission.State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

."

SECTION 24.  G.S. 120-104 reads as rewritten:

" 120-104.  Advisory opinions.

(a)        At the request of any member of the General Assembly, the Committee shall render formal advisory opinions on specific questions involving legislative ethics.

(b)        The Committee shall receive and review recommended advisory opinions issued to legislators, except the Lieutenant Governor, by the State Ethics Commission under G.S. 138A-13.State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement under G.S. 163A-204. The opinion shall not be considered a formal advisory opinion until the advisory opinion is adopted by the Committee. The Committee may modify or overrule the recommended advisory opinions issued to legislators by the State Ethics Commission,State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and the final action on the opinion by the Committee shall control.

(c)        A legislator who acts in reliance on a formal advisory opinion issued by the Committee under this section shall be entitled to the immunity granted under G.S. 138A-13(b1).G.S. 163A-204(b).

(d)        Staff to the Committee may issue informal, nonbinding advisory opinions under procedures adopted by the Committee.

(e)        The Committee may interpret Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes as it applies to legislators, except the Lieutenant Governor, and these interpretations are binding on all legislators upon publication.

(f)         The Committee shall submit its formal advisory opinions to the State Ethics Commission, and the State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and the Board shall publish the Committee's opinions under G.S. 138A-13(d).G.S. 163A-204(i). The Committee shall edit for publication purposes as necessary to protect the identities of the individuals requesting opinions prior to submission to the State Ethics Commission.State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The Committee may distribute the edited formal advisory opinion to members of the General Assembly prior to publication by the State Ethics Commission.State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

(g)        Except as provided under subsection (f) of this section, a request made by a legislator to the Committee for an advisory opinion, advisory opinions issued under this section, recommended advisory opinions received from the State Ethics Commission,State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and any supporting documents submitted or caused to be submitted to the Committee in connection with requests for advisory opinions or recommended advisory opinions are confidential. Neither the identity of the legislator making the request nor the existence of the request may be revealed to any person without the consent of the legislator. A legislator requesting or receiving an advisory opinion may authorize the release to any other person, the State, or any governmental unit of the request, the recommended advisory opinion, the advisory opinion, or any supporting documents.

For purposes of this section, "document" is as defined in G.S. 120-129. Requests for advisory opinions, recommended advisory opinions, advisory opinions issued by the Committee, and any supporting documents are not "public records" as defined in G.S. 132-1.

(h)        Requests for advisory opinions may be withdrawn by the requestor at any time prior to the issuance of an advisory opinion."

SECTION 25.  G.S. 120-105 reads as rewritten:

" 120-105.  Continuing study of ethical questions.

The Committee shall conduct continuing studies of questions of legislative ethics including revisions and improvements of this Article and Chapter 138A and Chapter 120CChapter 163A of the General Statutes. The Committee shall report to the General Assembly from time to time recommendations for amendments to the statutes and legislative rules which the Committee deems desirable in promoting, maintaining and effectuating high standards of ethics in the legislative branch of State government."

SECTION 26.  G.S. 126-14 reads as rewritten:

" 126-14.  Promise or threat to obtain political contribution or support.

(a)        It is unlawful for a State employee or a person appointed to State office, other than elective office or office on a board, commission, committee, or council whose function is advisory only, whether or not subject to the Personnel Act, to coerce:

(1)        a State employee subject to the Personnel Act,

(2)        a probationary State employee,

(3)        a temporary State employee, or

(4)        an applicant for a position subject to the Personnel Act

to support or contribute to a political candidate, political committee as defined in G.S. 163-278.6,G.S. 163A-4502, or political party or to change the party designation of the individual's voter registration by threatening that change in employment status or discipline or preferential personnel treatment will occur with regard to an individual listed in subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection.

(a1)      It is unlawful for an individual as defined in G.S. 138A-3(30)a.G.S. 163A-200(8) to coerce a person as described in G.S. 138A-32(d)(1), (2), or (3)G.S. 163A-402(d)(1), (2), or (3) to support or contribute to a political candidate, a political committee as defined in G.S. 163-278.6,G.S. 163A-4502, or a political party by threatening discipline or promising preferential treatment with regard to that person's business with the individual's State office or that person's activities regulated by the individual's State office.

."

SECTION 27.  G.S. 126-14.1(a) reads as rewritten:

" 126-14.1.  Threat to obtain political contribution or support.

(a)        It is unlawful for any person to coerce:

(1)        a State employee subject to the Personnel Act,

(2)        a probationary State employee,

(3)        a temporary State employee, or

(4)        an applicant for a position subject to the Personnel Act

to support or contribute to a political candidate, political committee as defined in G.S. 163-278.6,G.S. 163A-4502 or political party or to change the party designation of his voter registration by explicitly threatening that change in employment status or discipline or preferential personnel treatment will occur with regard to any person listed in subdivisions (1) through (3) of this subsection."

SECTION 28.  G.S. 128-38.4(c) reads as rewritten:

"(c)       The offenses under the laws of this State covered by this section are as follows:

(1)        A felony violation of Article 29, 30, or 30A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes (Relating to bribery, obstructing justice, and secret listening) or G.S. 14-228 (Buying and selling offices), or Part 1 of Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes (Code of Legislative Ethics), Article 20 or 22 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes (Relating to absentee ballots, corrupt practices and other offenses against the elective franchise, and regulating of contributions and expenditures in political campaigns).

(2)        Perjury or false information as follows:

a.         Perjury committed under G.S. 14-209 in falsely denying the commission of an act that constitutes an offense within the purview of an offense listed in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section.

b.         Subornation of perjury committed under G.S. 14-210 in connection with the false denial of another as specified by subdivision (2) of this subsection.

c.         Perjury under Article 22A of Chapter 163Article 45 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 29.  G.S. 130A-250(7) reads as rewritten:

"(7)      Establishments (i) that are incorporated as nonprofit corporations in accordance with Chapter 55A of the General Statutes or (ii) that are exempt from federal income tax under the Internal Revenue Code, as defined in G.S. 105-228.90, or (iii) that are political committees as defined in G.S. 163-278.6(14)G.S. 163A-4502(21) and that prepare or serve food or drink for pay no more frequently than once a month for a period not to exceed two consecutive days, including establishments permitted pursuant to this Part when preparing or serving food or drink at a location other than the permitted locations. A nutrition program for the elderly that is administered by the Division of Aging of the Department of Health and Human Services and that prepares and serves food or drink on the premises where the program is located in connection with a fundraising event is exempt from this Part if food and drink are prepared and served no more frequently than one day each month."

SECTION 30.  G.S. 131E-191.1 reads as rewritten:

" 131E-191.1.  Lobbyists prohibited from serving on the North Carolina State Health Coordinating Council.

No person registered as a lobbyist under Chapter 120CChapter 163A of the General Statutes shall be appointed to or serve on the North Carolina State Health Coordinating Council. No person previously registered as a lobbyist under Chapter 120CChapter 163A of the General Statutes shall be appointed to or serve on the North Carolina State Health Coordinating Council within 120 days after the expiration of the lobbyist's registration."

SECTION 31.  G.S. 133-32(d) reads as rewritten:

"(d)      This section is not intended to prevent a gift a public servant would be permitted to accept under G.S. 138A-32,G.S. 163A-402 or the gift and receipt of honorariums for participating in meetings, advertising items or souvenirs of nominal value, or meals furnished at banquets. This section is not intended to prevent any contractor, subcontractor, or supplier from making donations to professional organizations to defray meeting expenses where governmental employees are members of such professional organizations, nor is it intended to prevent governmental employees who are members of professional organizations from participation in all scheduled meeting functions available to all members of the professional organization attending the meeting. This section is also not intended to prohibit customary gifts or favors between employees or officers and their friends and relatives or the friends and relatives of their spouses, minor children, or members of their household where it is clear that it is that relationship rather than the business of the individual concerned which is the motivating factor for the gift or favor. However, all such gifts knowingly made or received are required to be reported by the donee to the agency head if the gifts are made by a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier doing business directly or indirectly with the governmental agency employing the recipient of such a gift."

SECTION 32.  G.S. 133-32(d) reads as rewritten:

"(d)      This section is not intended to prevent a gift a public servant would be permitted to accept under G.S. 138A-32,G.S. 163A-402 or the gift and receipt of honorariums for participating in meetings, advertising items or souvenirs of nominal value, or meals furnished at banquets. This section is not intended to prevent any contractor, subcontractor, or supplier from making donations to professional organizations to defray meeting expenses where governmental employees are members of such professional organizations, nor is it intended to prevent governmental employees who are members of professional organizations from participation in all scheduled meeting functions available to all members of the professional organization attending the meeting. This section is also not intended to prohibit customary gifts or favors between employees or officers and their friends and relatives or the friends and relatives of their spouses, minor children, or members of their household where it is clear that it is that relationship rather than the business of the individual concerned which is the motivating factor for the gift or favor. However, all such gifts knowingly made or received are required to be reported by the donee to the agency head if the gifts are made by a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier doing business directly or indirectly with the governmental agency employing the recipient of such a gift."

SECTION 33.  G.S. 135-18.10(c) reads as rewritten:

"(c)       The offenses under the laws of this State covered by this section are as follows:

(1)        A felony violation of Article 29, 30, or 30A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes (Relating to bribery, obstructing justice, and secret listening) or G.S. 14-228 (Buying and selling offices), or Part 1 of Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes (Code of Legislative Ethics), Article 20 or 22 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes (Relating to absentee ballots, corrupt practices and other offenses against the elective franchise, and regulating of contributions and expenditures in political campaigns).

(2)        Perjury or false information as follows:

a.         Perjury committed under G.S. 14-209 in falsely denying the commission of an act that constitutes an offense within the purview of an offense listed in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section.

b.         Subornation of perjury committed under G.S. 14-210 in connection with the false denial of another as specified by subdivision (2) of this subsection.

c.         Perjury under Article 22A of Chapter 163Article 45 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 34.  G.S. 135-75.1(c) reads as rewritten:

"(c)       The offenses under the laws of this State covered by this section are as follows:

(1)        A felony violation of Article 29, 30, or 30A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes (Relating to bribery, obstructing justice, and secret listening) or G.S. 14-228 (Buying and selling offices), or Part 1 of Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes (Code of Legislative Ethics), Article 20 or 22 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes (Relating to absentee ballots, corrupt practices and other offenses against the elective franchise, and regulating of contributions and expenditures in political campaigns).

(2)        Perjury or false information as follows:

a.         Perjury committed under G.S. 14-209 in falsely denying the commission of an act that constitutes an offense within the purview of an offense listed in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section.

b.         Subornation of perjury committed under G.S. 14-210 in connection with the false denial of another as specified by subdivision (2) of this subsection.

c.         Perjury under Article 22A of Chapter 163Article 45 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 35.  G.S. 143-47.7 reads as rewritten:

" 143-47.7.  Notice and record of appointment required.

(a)        Within 30 days after acceptance of appointment by a person appointed to public office, the appointing authority shall file written notice of the appointment with the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Legislative Library, the State Library, the State Ethics Commission,State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and the State Controller. For the purposes of this section, a copy of the letter from the appointing authority, a copy of the properly executed notice of appointment as set forth in subsection (c) of this section, or a copy of the properly executed Commission of Appointment shall be sufficient to be filed if the copy contains the information required in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)        The notice required by this Article shall contain the following information:

(1)        The name and office of the appointing authority;

(2)        The public office to which the appointment is made;

(3)        The name and address of the appointee;

(4)        The county of residence of the appointee;

(5)        The citation to the law or other authority authorizing the appointment;

(6)        The specific statutory qualification for the public office to which the appointment is made, if applicable;

(7)        The name of the person the appointee replaces, if applicable;

(8)        The date the term of the appointment begins; and

(9)        The date the term of the appointment ends.

(c)        The following form may be used to comply with the requirements of this section:

"NOTICE OF APPOINTMENT

Notice is given that _________ is hereby appointed to the following

                              Name

public office:

Public Office: __________________________________________________________________

Citation to Law or Other Authority Authorizing the Appointment:

_______________________________________________________________________

Specific Statutory Qualification for the Public Office, if Applicable:

_______________________________________________________________________

Address of the Appointee: ________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

County of Residence of the Appointee: _______________________________________________

Date Term of Appointment Begins: __________________________________________________

Date Term of Appointment Ends:                  ___________________________________________

Name of Person the Appointee Replaces, if applicable:

_______________________________________________________________________

________________                                  ________________

Date of Appointment                                        Signature

____________________________________

Office of Appointing Authority

Distribution:

Governor

Secretary of State

Legislative Library

State Library

State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement

State Controller".

SECTION 36.  G.S. 143B-350 reads as rewritten:

" 143B-350.  Board of Transportation - organization; powers and duties, etc.

(i)         Disclosure of Contributions. - Any person serving on the Board of Transportation or as Secretary of Transportation on December 1, 1998, shall disclose on that date any contributions the person or the person's immediate family made to the political campaign of the appointing Governor in the two years preceding December 1, 1998. A person appointed to the Board of Transportation and a person appointed as Secretary of Transportation after December 1, 1998, shall disclose at the time the appointment of the person is officially made public any contributions the person or the person's immediate family made to the political campaign of the appointing Governor in the two years preceding the date of appointment. The term "immediate family", as used in this subsection, means a person's spouse, children, parents, brothers, and sisters. Disclosure forms shall be filed with the State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement as a supplemental filing to the Statement of Economic Interest filed under Article 3 of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes. Disclosure forms shall not be a public record under the provisions of Chapter 132 of the General Statutes until such time as the appointment of the person filing the statement is officially made public.

(j)         Disclosure of Campaign Fund-Raising. - A person appointed to the Board of Transportation on or after January 1, 2001, and a person appointed as Secretary of Transportation on or after January 1, 2001, shall disclose at the time the appointment of the person is officially made public any contributions the person personally acquired in the two years prior to appointment for: any political campaign for a statewide or legislative elected office in North Carolina; any political party executive committee or political committee acting on behalf of a candidate for statewide or legislative office. Disclosure forms shall be filed with the State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement as a supplemental filing to the Statement of Economic Interest filed under Article 3 of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes. Disclosure forms shall not be a public record under the provisions of Chapter 132 of the General Statutes until such time as the appointment of the person filing the statement is officially made public.

(k)        Ethics Policy. - The Board shall adopt by December 1, 1998, a code of ethics applicable to members of the Board, including the Secretary. Any code of ethics adopted by the Board shall be supplemental to the provisions of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes. A code of ethics adopted pursuant to this subsection shall include a prohibition against a member taking action as a Board member when a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, exists. The ethics policy adopted pursuant to this subsection shall specify that a conflict of interest exists when the use of the Board member's position, or any official action taken by the Board member, would result in financial benefit, direct or indirect, to the Board member, a member of the Board member's immediate family, or an individual with whom, or business with which, the Board member is associated. The ethics policy adopted pursuant to this subsection shall specify that an appearance of a conflict of interest exists when a reasonable person would conclude from the circumstances that the Board member's ability to protect the public interest, or perform public duties, would be compromised by personal interest, even in the absence of an actual conflict of interest. The performance of usual and customary duties associated with the public position or the advancement of public policy goals or constituent services, without compensation, shall not constitute the use of the Board member's position for financial benefit. The conflict of interest provision of the ethics policy adopted pursuant to this subsection shall not apply to financial or other benefits derived by a Board member that the Board member would enjoy to an extent no greater than that which other citizens of the State would or could enjoy.

(l)         Additional Requirements for Disclosure Statements. - All disclosure statements required under subsections (i), (j), and (k) of this section must be sworn written statements.

(m)       Ethics and Board Duties Education. - The Board shall institute by January 1, 1999, and conduct annually an education program on ethics and on the duties and responsibilities of Board members. The training session shall be comprehensive in nature, conducted in conjunction with the State Ethics Commission,State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and shall include input from the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Attorney General's Office, the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, and senior career employees of the various divisions of the Department. This program shall include an initial orientation for new members of the Board and continuing education programs for Board members at least once each year.

(n)        Review of Appointments by the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee. - The Governor shall submit the names of all proposed Board of Transportation appointees, along with the disclosure statements required under subsections (i), (j), and (k) of this section, to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee prior to Board members' taking office. The Committee shall have 30 days to review and submit comments to the Governor on the proposed appointees before they take office. The Governor shall consider the views expressed by the Committee concerning the appointees to the Board. If the Committee does not review or submit comments to the Governor on the proposed Board appointees within the 30 days, the Governor may proceed to appoint the proposed members to the Board."

SECTION 37.  G.S. 143B-417(1)aa. reads as rewritten:

"aa.      State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement".

SECTION 38.  G.S. 143B-478(f) reads as rewritten:

"(f)       The Commission shall be treated as a board for purposes of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 39.  G.S. 147-64.6(c)(19) reads as rewritten:

"(19)    Whenever the Auditor believes that information received or collected by the Auditor may be evidence of a violation of any of the provisions of Chapter 138A of the General Statutes, Chapter 120CChapter 163A of the General Statutes, or Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes, the Auditor shall report that information to the State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement and the Secretary of State as appropriate. The Auditor shall be bound by interpretations issued by the State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement as to whether or not any information reported by the Auditor under this subdivision involves or may involve a violation of Chapter 138A of the General Statutes, Chapter 120CChapter 163A of the General Statutes, or Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the Auditor's authority under subdivision (1) of this subsection."

SECTION 40.  G.S. 147-64.6(d) reads as rewritten:

"(d)      Reports and Work Papers. - The Auditor shall maintain for 10 years a complete file of all audit reports and reports of other examinations, investigations, surveys, and reviews issued under the Auditor's authority. Audit work papers and other evidence and related supportive material directly pertaining to the work of the Auditor's office shall be retained according to an agreement between the Auditor and State Archives. To promote intergovernmental cooperation and avoid unnecessary duplication of audit effort, and notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 126-24, pertinent work papers and other supportive material related to issued audit reports may be, at the discretion of the Auditor and unless otherwise prohibited by law, made available for inspection by duly authorized representatives of the State and federal government who desire access to and inspection of such records in connection with some matter officially before them, including criminal investigations.

Except as provided in this section, or upon an order issued in Wake County Superior Court upon 10 days' notice and hearing finding that access is necessary to a proper administration of justice, audit work papers and related supportive material shall be kept confidential, including any interpretations, advisory opinions, or other information or materials furnished to or by the the State Ethics CommissionState Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement under this section."

SECTION 41.  G.S. 147-64.6B(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      The Auditor shall investigate reports of allegations of improper governmental activities of State agencies and State employees within the scope of authority set forth in G.S. 147-64.6, including misappropriation, mismanagement, or waste of State resources, fraud, violations of State or federal law, rule or regulation by State agencies or State employees administering State or federal programs, and substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety. When the allegation involves issues of substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety, the Auditor shall notify the appropriate State agency immediately. When the Auditor believes that an allegation of improper governmental activity is outside the authority set forth in G.S. 147-64.6, the Auditor shall refer the allegation to the appropriate State agency responsible for the enforcement or administration of the matter for investigation. When the Auditor believes that an allegation of improper governmental activity involves matters set forth in subdivisions (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection, those matters shall be referred as follows:

(1)        Allegations of criminal misconduct to either the State Bureau of Investigation or the District Attorney for the county where the alleged misconduct occurred.

(2)        Allegations of violations of Chapter 138A, Chapter 120C,Chapter 163A and Article 14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes to the State Ethics Commission.Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

(3)        Allegations of violations of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes to the State Board of Elections."

SECTION 42.  G.S. 150B-1(c)(6) is repealed.

SECTION 43.  G.S. 150B-1(d)(16) is repealed.

SECTION 44.  G.S. 150B-38(a)(6) reads as rewritten:

"(6)      The State Board of Elections Elections and Ethics Enforcement.in the administration of any investigation or audit under the provisions of Article 22A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes."

SECTION 45.  G.S. 160A-480.3(h) reads as rewritten:

"(h)       Any authority created under this Part shall be treated as a board for purposes of Chapter 138AChapter 163A of the General Statutes."

SECTION 46.  G.S. 163-108(a) reads as rewritten:

"(a)       Within three days after the time for filing notices of candidacy with the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement under the provisions of G.S. 163-106(c) has expired, the chairman or secretary of that Board shall certify to the Secretary of State and to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement the name, address, and party affiliation of each person who has filed with the State Board of Elections, Board, indicating in each instance the office sought."

SECTION 47.  G.S. 163-160(a1) reads as rewritten:

"(a1)     Disclosure of Felony Conviction. - At the same time the candidate files notice of candidacy under this section, the candidate shall file with the same office a statement answering the following question: "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall adapt the notice of candidacy form to include the statement required by this subsection. The form shall make clear that a felony conviction need not be disclosed if the conviction was dismissed as a result of reversal on appeal or resulted in a pardon of innocence or expungement. The form shall require a candidate who answers "yes" to the question to provide the name of the offense, the date of conviction, the date of the restoration of citizenship rights, and the county and state of conviction. The form shall require the candidate to swear or affirm that the statements on the form are true, correct, and complete to the best of the candidate's knowledge or belief. The form shall be available as a public record in the office of the board of elections where the candidate files notice of candidacy and shall contain an explanation that a prior felony conviction does not preclude holding elective office if the candidate's rights of citizenship have been restored. This subsection shall also apply to individuals who become candidates for election by the people under G.S. 163-114, 163-122, 163-123, 163-98, 115C-37, 130A-50, Article 24 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes, or any other statute or local act. Those individuals shall complete the question at the time the documents are filed initiating their candidacy. The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall adapt those documents to include the statement required by this subsection. If an individual does not complete the statement required by this subsection, the board of elections accepting the filing shall notify the individual of the omission, and the individual shall have 48 hours after notice to complete the statement. If the individual does not complete the statement at the time of filing or within 48 hours after the notice, the individual's filing is not complete, the individual's name shall not appear on the ballot as a candidate, and votes for the individual shall not be counted. It is a Class I felony to complete the form knowing that information as to felony conviction or restoration of citizenship is untrue. This subsection shall not apply to candidates required by G.S. 138A-22(d)G.S. 163A-302(f) to file Statements of Economic Interest."

SECTION 48.  G.S. 163-165.9A(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Penalties. - Willful violation of any of the duties in subsection (a) of this section is a Class G felony. Substitution of source code into an operating voting system without notification as provided by subdivision (a)(2) of this section is a Class I felony. In addition to any other applicable penalties, violations of this section are subject to a civil penalty to be assessed by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement in its discretion in an amount of up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per violation. A civil penalty assessed under this section shall be subject to the provisions of G.S. 163-278.34(e).G.S. 163A-4518(e)."

SECTION 49.  G.S. 163-278 reads as rewritten:

" 163-278.  Duty of investigating and prosecuting violations of this Article.

It shall be the duty of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement and the district attorneys to investigate any violations of this Article, and the Board and district attorneys are authorized and empowered to subpoena and compel the attendance of any person before them for the purpose of making such investigation. The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement and the district attorneys are authorized to call upon the Attorney General to furnish assistance by the State Bureau of Investigation in making the investigations of such violations. The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall furnish the district attorney a copy of its investigation. The district attorney shall initiate prosecution and prosecute any violations of this Article. The provisions of G.S. 163-278.28G.S. 163A-4520 shall be applicable to violations of this Article."

SECTION 50.  G.S. 163-326 reads as rewritten:

"(a)       Names of Candidates Sent to Secretary of State.State and State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.- Within three days after the time for filing notices of candidacy with the State Board under the provisions of G.S. 163-323(b) has expired, the chairman or secretary of that Board shall certify to the Secretary of State and the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement the name and address of each person who has filed with the State Board, indicating in each instance the office sought."

SECTION 51.  G.S. 163-19 is repealed.

SECTION 52.  G.S. 163-20 is repealed.

SECTION 53.  G.S. 163-21 is repealed.

SECTION 54.(a)  G.S. 163-22 is recodified as G.S. 163A-1200, part of Article 12 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 54.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-22.

SECTION 54.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Chapter 163" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-22.

SECTION 55.(a)  G.S. 163-22.2 is recodified as G.S. 163A-1201, part of Article 12 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 55.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Chapter 163 of the General Statutes" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-22.2.

SECTION 56.(a)  G.S. 163-22.3 is recodified as G.S. 163A-1202, part of Article 12 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 56.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 11 of this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-22.3.

SECTION 57. G.S. 163-23 is repealed.

SECTION 58. G.S. 163-24 is recodified as G.S. 163A-1203, part of Article 12 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 59.(a)  G.S. 163-25, as amended by S.L. 2011-31, is recodified as G.S. 163-1204. part of Article 12 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 59.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Chapter 163 of the General Statutes" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-25, as amended by S.L. 2011-31.

SECTION 60.  G.S. 163-26 is repealed.

SECTION 61.  G.S. 163-27 is repealed.

SECTION 62.(a)  G.S. 163-27.1 is recodified as G.S. 163A-1205, part of Article 12 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 62.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-27.1.

SECTION 63.  G.S. 163-28 is repealed.

SECTION 64.(a)  Article 4 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 13 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 64.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 4 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 64.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Articles 4, 5, and 20 of this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-33.1.

SECTION 64.(d)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 11 of this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-33.3.

SECTION 65.(a)  Article 4A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 14 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 65.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 22A of this Chapter" to " Subchapter IV of this Chapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-40.1.

SECTION 66.(a)  Article 5 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 15 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 66.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term " this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 5 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 67.(a)  Article 6 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 16 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 67.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term " this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 6 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 68.(a)  Article 7A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 17 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 68.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term " this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 7A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 68.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 8 of this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-82.7 and G.S. 163-82.10B.

SECTION 69.  Article 8 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 18 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 70.  Article 8A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 19 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 71.(a)  Article 9 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 71.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-97.

SECTION 72.(a)  Article 10 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 21 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 72.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 10 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 72.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 11B of this Chapter" to "Article 23 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-106.

SECTION 73.(a)  Article 11 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 22 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 73.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 14A of this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-122.

SECTION 73.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 25 of this Chapter" to "Article 37 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-122.

SECTION 73.(d)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 11B of this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-122.

SECTION 73.(e)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Subchapter IX of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-122.

SECTION 74.  Article 11B of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 23 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 75.(a)  Article 12 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 24 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 75.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 12A of this Chapter" to "Article 25 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in Article 12 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 75.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 5 of this Chapter" to "Article 15 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-130.2.

SECTION 76.  Article 12A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 25 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 77.(a)  Article 14A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 26 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 77.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 14A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 77.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 15A of this Chapter" to "Article 27 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in Article 14A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 78.(a)  Article 15A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 27 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 78.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 14A of this Chapter" to "Article 26 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in Article 15A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 79.  Article 17 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 28 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 80.(a)  Article 18 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 29 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 80.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 18 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 81.(a)  Article 18A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 30 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 81.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 9 of Chapter 163  of the General Statutes" to "Article 20 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in Article 14A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 82.  Article 19 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 31 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 83.(a)  Article 20 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 32 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 83.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Articles 20 and 21 of this" to "this Article and Article 33 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in Article 20 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 83.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 20 of this Chapter" to "this Article" wherever it appears in Article 20 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 83.(d)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 21 of this Chapter" to "Article 33 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in Article 20 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 84.(a)  Article 21 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is recodified as Article 33 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes.

SECTION 84.(b)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Article 20 of this Chapter" to "Article 32 of this Chapter" wherever it appears in G.S. 163-246.

SECTION 84.(c)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "this Chapter" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 21 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 84.(d)  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "Chapter 163 of the General Statutes" to "this Subchapter" wherever it appears in Article 21 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 85.  G.S. 150B-1(c)(16) is repealed.

SECTION 86.  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the terms "Commission," "Secretary of State," and "Secretary" to "State Board" wherever it appears in Chapter 163A of the General Statutes, as enacted by this act.

SECTION 87.  The Revisor of Statutes shall change the term "State Board of Elections" to "State Board" wherever it appears in Chapter 163A of the General Statutes, as enacted by this act.

SECTION 88.  The Revisor of Statutes, in recodifying any statute or Article as instructed in this act, shall also renumber and change internal cross-references in those statutes and Articles accordingly.

SECTION 89.  Any previous assignment of duties of a quasi-legislative or quasi-judicial nature by the Governor or General Assembly to the agencies or functions transferred by this act shall have continued validity with the transfer under this act. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this act, each enumerated commission, board, or other function of State government transferred to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, as created in this act, is a continuation of the former entity for purposes of succession to all the rights, powers, duties, and obligations of the former. Where the former entities are referred to by law, contract, or other document in their former name, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, as created in this act, is charged with exercising the functions of the former named entity.

SECTION 90.  No action or proceeding pending on January 1, 2014, brought by or against the State Board of Elections regarding campaign finance, the State Ethics Commission, or the Secretary of State regarding the lobbyist registration and lobbying enforcement of the Secretary of State shall be affected by any provision of this act, but the same may be prosecuted or defended in the name of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, as created in this act. In these actions and proceedings, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement or its Executive Director, as appropriate, shall be substituted as a party upon proper application to the courts or other administrative or quasi-judicial bodies.

Any business or other matter undertaken or commanded by any State program or office or contract transferred by this act to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement pertaining to or connected with the functions, powers, obligations, and duties set forth herein, which is pending on January 1, 2014, may be conducted and completed by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement in the same manner and under the same terms and conditions and with the same effect as if conducted and completed by the original program, office, or commissioners or directors thereof.

SECTION 91.  Any previous assignment of duties of a quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial nature by the Governor or General Assembly shall have continued validity with the transfer under this act. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this act, each enumerated commission, board, office, bureau, or other subunit of State government transferred to the Secretary of Commerce and the Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security, is a continuation of the former entity for purposes of succession to all the rights, powers, duties, and obligations of the former. Where the former entities are referred to by law, contract, or other document in their former name, the Secretary of Commerce and the Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security, are charged with exercising the functions of the former named entity.

SECTION 92.  No action or proceeding pending on January 1, 2014, brought by or against the Employment Security Commission shall be affected by any provision of this act, but the same may be prosecuted or defended in the name of the Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security. In these actions and proceedings, the Secretary of Commerce or the Department of Commerce shall be substituted as a party upon proper application to the courts or other administrative or quasi-judicial bodies.

Any business or other matter undertaken or commanded by any State program or office or contract transferred by this act to the Employment Safety and Security Commission, or by the commissioners or directors thereof, pertaining to or connected with the functions, powers, obligations, and duties set forth herein, which is pending on the date this act becomes effective, may be conducted and completed by the Employment Safety and Security Commission in the same manner and under the same terms and conditions and with the same effect as if conducted and completed by the original program, office, or commissioners, or directors thereof.

SECTION 93.  The consolidation provided for under this act shall not affect any ongoing investigation or audit.  Any ongoing hearing or other proceeding before the State Ethics Commission or State Board of Elections related to campaign finance on December 31, 2013, shall be transferred to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, as created by this act, on January 1, 2014. Prosecutions for offenses or violations committed before January 1, 2014, are not abated or affected by this act, and the statutes that would be applicable but for this act remain applicable to those prosecutions. 

SECTION 94.  The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall adopt all existing rules, policies, procedures, or other guidance documents in accordance with Article 2A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. Any existing rule, policy, procedure, or guidance document that has not been readopted by December 31, 2014, shall expire. The list of covered boards adopted by the State Ethics Commission under G.S. 163A-208 shall continue in effect until amended or repealed by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

SECTION 95.  Within six months of its initial appointment, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall adopt rules consistent with this act regarding its investigations and hearings. In the absence of such rules, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall conduct its investigations and hearings to ensure fairness to the parties and enforcement of the law consistent with this act.

SECTION 96.  Any evaluation of a statement of economic interest issued by the State Ethics Commission pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 138A of the General Statutes in 2013 shall remain in effect until amended or repealed by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

SECTION 97.  The authority, powers, duties and functions, records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, or other funds, including the functions of budgeting and purchasing, of the State Ethics Commission are transferred to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, as created in Section 1 of this act. The authority, powers, duties and functions, records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, or other funds, including the functions of budgeting and purchasing, of the State Board of Elections related to campaign finance are transferred to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, as created in Section 1 of this act. The authority, powers, duties and functions, records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, or other funds, including the functions of budgeting and purchasing, of the lobbying registration and lobbying enforcement functions of the Secretary of State are transferred to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, as created in Section 1 of this act. The Director of the Budget shall resolve any disputes arising out of this transfer.

SECTION 98.  Until such time as the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement appoints an Executive Director, the director under G.S. 163A-9 with the most State service shall be acting Executive Director. The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall appoint an Executive Director on or before December 31, 2014.

SECTION 99.  The State Ethics Commission is transferred to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and the transfer shall have all the elements of a Type I transfer under G.S. 143A-6.

SECTION 100.  The functions of the State Board of Elections, including the staff assigned to those functions on June 1, 2013, are transferred to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and the transfers shall have all the elements of a Type I transfer under G.S. 143A-6.

SECTION 101.  The lobbying registration and lobbying enforcement functions of the Secretary of State are transferred to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and the transfers shall have all the elements of a Type I transfer under G.S. 143A-46. Specifically, the following positions shall be transferred: Lobbying Compliance Director (Position 60008800), Law Enforcement Agent (Position 60008806), Administrative Assistant II (Position 60008801), Administrative Assistant II (Position 60008802), and Administrative Assistant II (Position 60008803).

SECTION 102.  The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shall report to the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee and the Legislative Ethics Committee on or before April 1, 2014, and again on or before March 1, 2015, as to recommendations for statutory changes necessary to further implement this consolidation.

SECTION 103.  If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this act that can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.

SECTION 104.  The act becomes effective January 1, 2014.