Formal Lobbying Advisory Opinions

This is a list of formal advisory opinions issued by the State Ethics Commission interpreting the Lobbying Law in response to written requests for an advisory opinion from:

  • Prospective or registered lobbyists or lobbyist principals subject to the Lobbying Law and their counsel.
  • Former legislators and state agency employees subject to the restrictions against registering as a lobbyist within six months of service.
  • Individuals, entities, legislators, legislative employees, and public servants who are not otherwise subject to the Lobbying Law, but who may have to report under the “Miscellaneous Reporting” requirements of Article 8 of the Lobbying Law.
  • State agencies subject to certain restrictions against using state funds to hire contract lobbyists.
  • Legislative Liaisons

The Lobbying Law requires that formal advisory opinions issued by the State Ethics Commission be published in an edited format to protect the requester’s identity. If the requester authorized the publication of an unedited version of the opinion it will have an * beside it.

These opinions are arranged according to the issues addressed in the opinion.

More information about obtaining a formal advisory opinion and informal advice from the Commission’s staff.

**Please note that the General Assembly recodified the Ethics Act in 2019, renumbering G.S. 138A-32(d1) to (e) and the gift ban exceptions from G.S. 138A-32(e) to G.S. 138A-32(f)**

The Gift Ban & Gift Ban Exceptions

Tab/Accordion Item

L-12-002 2012 Applicability of Lobbying Law's Gift Ban and Reporting Requirements and the Ethics Act's Gift Ban to an Event. G.S. 120C-303(a)120C-402120C-403138A-32(c)-(d);  S.L. 2010-169
L-11-004 2011 Donation of Products, Informational Materials, "Branded Items," and Funding to a State Agency's Public Outreach Efforts and the Reporting of Those Donations. G.S. 120C-303(a)120C-403(b)(1)120C-403(b)(5)138A-32(e)(2)138A-32(e)(6)
L-10-002 2010 Sponsoring Legislator and Public Servant Participation in International Trip. G.S. 120C-303(a)(2)138A-32(c) and (d1)138A-32(e)(3) 138A-32(f)
L-09-004 2009 Lobbyists’ and Lobbyist Principals’ In-Kind Contributions to a State Governmental Entity for a Meeting of a Regional Affiliate of a National Nonpartisan Organization. G.S. 120C-303(a)(2and (b)138A-32(e)(5)
L-08-007 2008 Donations to the Junior League of Raleigh for the 2009 Inaugural Ball Weekend — A Fund Raiser with Ticketed Events. G.S. 120C-303(a)120C-402120C-403138A-32(c)-(d)
L-07-007 2007 Gift to a Non-Covered Spouse of a Public Servant — “Indirect” Gifts & Reporting Requirements. G.S. 138A-32(c) and (d)120C-100(a)(12)120C-400120C-402120C-403

L-12-003 2012 Permissibility of Providing Food and Beverages to Organization's Advisors and Directors. G.S.138A-32(e)(1)c138A-32(e)(10) - (12)
L-10-003 2010 Legislative Reception Sponsored by A Lobbyist Principal — Complimentary Transportation Cannot be Provided under the G.S. 138A-32(e)(1) Food and Beverage Gift Ban Exception. G.S.120C-303(a); 138A-32(e)(1)c
L-09-003 2009 Gathering Open to the General Public - Requisite Sign Displayed at Gathering. G.S. 120C-303138A-32(e)(1)b
L-09-001 2009 Legislative Reception and Fundraiser with Multiple Sponsors — Who is the “Person” and Who is “Associated with the Person?.” G.S. 120C-303; 138A-32(e)(1)c
L-07-010 2007 Lobbyists’ and Lobbyist Principals’ Sponsorship of Events Held In Conjunction With Legislative Conferences; “Public Event” Gift Ban Exception & Reporting Requirements. G. S. 138A-32(e)(1)138A-3(29)120C-401-402-403
L-07-009 2007 Municipality’s Reception for Municipal Legislative Delegation — Application of Gifts Ban to Local Governmental Units — Local Governmental Officials Performing Official Duties Exempt from Lobbying Law. G.S. 138A-32(c);138A-32(e)(1);138A-3(29)120C-700(3)
L-07-005 2007 Legislative Reception with Multiple Sponsors - Indirect Gifts & the “Public Event” Gift Ban Exception. G.S. 138A-32(e)(1)
L-07-003 2007 Legislative Dinner and the “Public Event” Gift Ban Exception. G.S.138A-32(e)(1)138A-3(29)138A-32(e)(3)(i)
L-07-001 2007 “Freshman” Legislative Breakfast Not a “Public Event” or “Educational Meeting.” G.S.138A-32(e)(1)138A-3(29)138A-32(e)(3)(i)

L-15-003 2015 Providing Complimentary Admission to Public Servants and Judicial Officers Attending the NCSA’s 2015 Annual Training Conference G.S. 138A-32(c); 138A-32(e)(3)(i); 138A-32(f); 120C-303(e); 120C-403(b)(5)
L-15-002 2015 Providing Complimentary Admission to Public Servants and Judicial Officers Attending the NCSA’s 2015 Spring Meeting G.S. 138A-32(c); 138A-32(e)(3)(i); 138A-32(f); 120C-303(e); 120C-403(b)(5)
L-11-003 2011 Sponsoring Legislator and Public Servant Participation in International Trip - Global Leaders Program to China G.S. 120C-303(a); 138A-32(e)(3)(i)
L-11-002 2011 Paying Expenses of Legislators and Public Servants to Participate in International Trip - "Learning From Finland" G.S. 120C-303(a); 138A-32(e)(3)(i)
L-11-001 2011 Providing Admission and Complimentary Food and Beverages to Legislators and Public Servants Attending Conference G.S. 120C-303(a); 138A-32(e)(3)(i); 138A-32(e)(3)(ii)
L-10-002 2010 Sponsoring Legislator and Public Servant Participation in International Trip. G.S. 120C-303(a)(2); 138A-32(c) and (d1); 138A-32(e)(3); 138A-32(f)
L-09-012 2009 Application of the Educational Meeting Gift Ban Exception to International Trip Sponsored by Lobbyist Principals and Others. G.S. 120C-303(a) and (b); G.S. 138A-32(e)(3)(i)
L-09-009 2009 Application of the Educational Meeting Gift Ban Exception to a Rural North Carolina Study Tour. G.S. 138A-32(c); 138A-32(e)(3)(i)
L-09-007 2009 Permissibility of Providing Free Registration to NCSEA Forum. G.S. 120C-303(a); 138A-32(e)(3)(i)
L-08-006 2008 Lobbyist Principals and Others Sponsoring Legislator and Public Servant Participation in International Trip & the “Educational Meeting” Gift Ban Exception. G.S. 120C-303(a); 138A-32(c); 138A-32(e)(3)(i); 120C-403(b)
L-08-005 2008 Legislative Leaders Healthcare Retreat & the “Educational Meeting” Gift Ban Exception. G.S. 120C-303; 138A-32(e)(3)(i); 120C-403(b)
L-07-012 2007 International Study Trip & the “Educational Meeting” Gift Ban Exception. G.S. 120C-303(a) and (b); 138A-32(e)(3)

L-15-001 2015 Sexual Favors or Sexual Acts as a Gift or “Thing of Value” G.S. 138A-24(a)(3); 138A-26; 138A-27; 138A-22(a); 138A-21
L-13-002 2010 Lobbyist Giving Event Tickets to Designated Individual with Whom Lobbyist Has Personal Relationship G.S. 138A-32(e)(10); 120C-402(b)(4); 120C-303(a); 120C-100 (a)(2); 120C-100(a)(12)a; 120C-403(b)(5); 138A-32(c)
L-10-003 2010 Legislative Reception Sponsored by One Lobbyist Principal – Complementary Transportation Will Not Be “Generally Available to the General Public or All Other State Employees” and Cannot Be Provided under the G.S. 138A-32(e)(6) Exception. G.S.120C-303(a); 138A-32(e)(6)
L-09-004 2009 Lobbyists’ and Lobbyist Principals’ In-Kind Contributions to a State Governmental Entity for a Meeting of a Regional Affiliate of a National Nonpartisan Organization — Gift to the State Exception. G.S. 138A-32(e)(5); 120C-303(b)
L-08-001 2008 Lobbyists’ and Lobbyist Principals’ Donations to a Nonpartisan State, Regional, National, or International Organization and the Reporting of Such Donations. G.S. 120C-303(d); 120C-403(b)(1); 120C-401(b1) and (b2)
L-07-006 2007 Lobbyist Giving Legislator a Free Ride; Gift Ban Exception for Personal Relationship and Reporting Obligations. G.S. 138A-32(e)(10); 120C-401(b); 120C-402(b)

Lobbying & Registration Requirements

Tab/Accordion Item

L-15-001 2015 Sexual Favors or Sexual Acts as a Gift or “Thing of Value” G.S. 138A-24(a)(3); 138A-26; 138A-27; 138A-22(a); 138A-21
L-14-001 2014 The Application of the Lobbying Law's "Cooling Off" Period to Former Legislative Employee  
L-13-001 2012 Law Firm Contracting with Employee of State Board to Provide Non-Lobbying Consulting Services to the Board upon Retirement G. S. 120C-304(c); 120C-100(a)(8); 120C-500; 120C-501(b), (c), and (d); 120C-700(4)
L-11-005 2011 The Application of the Lobbying Law's "Cooling Off" Period to Former Legislators and the Local Government Liaison Equivalent Exemption G.S. 120C-304(a)(2); 120C-501(a); 120C-502(b); 120C-700(3)
L-10-004 2010 Payment for Lobbying and Reimbursement of Actual Travel Expenses: Apartment Lease G.S. 120C-100(a)(9); 120C-100(a)(10)b. and c.; and 120C-100(a)(11k)
L-09-006 2009 Association Employing/Retaining Lobbyist is Lobbyist Principal, Not the Individual Members of the Association. G.S. 120C-100(a)(11); 120C-206; 120C-207
L-09-005 2009 Executive Action and Executive Lobbying. G.S. 120C-100(a)(3) and (a)(9); 120C-100(a)(10); 120C-200; 120C-201; 120C-206; 120C-207
L-07-0011 2007 Members of State Board Lobbying Members of Congress are not “Liaison Personnel.” G.S. 120C-500(a),(b), and (c)
L-07-0004 2007 Designated Individuals Acting in Their Official Capacity Do Not Need to Register as “Liaison Personnel.” G.S 120C-700
L-07-0002 2007 Designated Individuals Acting in Their Official Capacity Do Not Need to Register as “Liaison Personnel.” G.S 120C-700

Lobbyist, Lobbyist Principal & Liaison Reporting Requirements

Tab/Accordion Item

L-13-002 2013 Lobbyist Giving Event Tickets to Designated Individual with Whom Lobbyist Has Personal Relationship G.S. 138A-32(e)(10); 120C-402(b)(4); 120C-303(a); 120C-100 (a)(2); 120C-100(a)(12)a; 120C-403(b)(5); 138A-32(c)
 
L-11-004 2011 Donation of Products, Informational Materials, "Branded Items," and Funding to a State Agency's Public Outreach Efforts and the Reporting of Those Donations G.S. 120C-303(a); 120C-403(b)(1); 120C-403(b)(5); 138A-32(e)(2); 138A-32(e)(6)
L-09-008 2009 Reporting of Lobbyists’ and Lobbyist Principals’ In–Kind Contributions for the 2009 Southern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting. G.S. 138A-32(e)(15); 120C-402(b); 120C-403(b); 120C-401(b1) and (b2)
L-09-003 2009 Gathering Open to the General Public – Required Sign Displayed at Gathering. G.S. 120C-303; 138A-32(e)(1)b; 120C-403(b)(1) and (b)(5); 120C-401(b) and (b1)
L-09-002 2009 Reporting of Gifts Given by Multiple Sponsors at Legislative Reception and Fundraiser. G.S. 120C-400; 120C-401; 120C-403; 120C-800(a)
L-08-006 2008 Lobbyist Principals and Others Sponsoring Legislator and Public Servant Participation in International Trip, the “Educational Meeting” Gift Ban Exception & Reporting. G.S. 120C-303(a); 138A-32(c); 138A-32(e)(3)(i); 120C-403(b); 120C-401; 120C-800(a); 120C-800(e)(5)

L-09-008 2009 Reporting of Lobbyists’ and Lobbyist Principals’ In–Kind Contributions for the 2009 Southern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting. G.S. 138A-32(e)(15); 120C-402(b); 120C-403(b)(1)
L-09-003 2009 Gathering Open to the General Public — Requisite Sign Displayed at Gathering. G.S. 120C-303; G.S. 138A-32(e)(1)b; 120C-100(a)(12); 120C-403(b)(1) and (b)(5); and 120C-401(b) and (b1)
L-09-002 2009 Reporting of Reportable Expenditures for Legislative Reception. G.S. 120C-100(a)(12); 120C-400; 120C-401; 120C-403
L-08-001 2008 Lobbyists’ and Lobbyist Principals’ Donations to a Nonpartisan State, Regional National, or International Organization and the Reporting of Such Donations. G.S. 120C-100(a)(12); 120C-402(b)(1); 120C-403(b)(1); 120C-401(b1) and (b2)
L-07-010 2007 Lobbyists’ and Lobbyist Principals’ Sponsoring Events Held In Conjunction With Legislative Conferences; “Public Event” Gift Ban Exception & Reporting Requirements. G. S. 138A-32(e)(1); 138A-3(29); and 120C-401, -402, and -403 See indirect gifts ban exception. See also 138A-32(e)(3)(iii).

 

LC: Effective January 1, 2011, S.L. 2010-169 amended the Lobbying Law’s reporting requirements applicable to payments for lobbying and lobbying services. See G.S. 120C-403(d) and (e).

L-10-001 2010 Determining What Services are For the Purpose of Lobbying — Application of the “But For” Test.
L-09-010 2009 Lobbyist Principal Reporting of “Payment for Services” — Establishing the “But For” Test.

LC: Effective August 15, 2008, S.L. 2008-213 amended the Lobbying Law’s payment for services reporting requirements to exclude reimbursement of actual travel, administrative expenses, or subsistence.

L-08-004 2008 Responsibilities and Requirements for Reporting Payments for Lobbying.
L-08-003 2008 Reporting Compensation.
L-08-002 2008 Reporting Compensation.

Miscellaneous

Tab/Accordion Item

L-13-003 2013 The Application of the Lobbying Law’s “Cooling Off Period” to a Legislator’s Employment by a Private Company G.S. 120C-304(a); 120C-100(a)(10); 120C-100(a)(9)
L-13-001 2012 Law Firm Contracting with Employee of State Board to Provide Non-Lobbying Consulting Services to the Board upon Retirement G. S. 120C-304(c); 120C-100(a)(8); 120C-500; 120C-501(b), (c), and (d); 120C-700(4)
L-12-001 2012 Registered Lobbyist Filing Notice of Candidacy and Running for State Legislative Office. G. S. 120C-304(a)
L-11-005 2011 The Application of the Lobbying Law's "Cooling Off" Period to Former Legislators and the Local Government Liaison Equivalent Exemption G.S. 120C-304(a)(2); 120C-501(a); 120C-502(b); 120C-700(3)
L-09-011 2009 Restriction Against State Agency Using State Funds for Contract Lobbyist/Liaison Personnel Inapplicable to Local Management Entity; LME’s Contract Lobbyist Not Exempt from Lobbying Law. G.S. 120C-304(a)(2); 120C-501(a); 120C-502(b); 120C-700(3)
L-08-001 2008 Contributions to Non-Partisan Organizations. G.S. 120C-304(a)(2); 120C-501(a); 120C-502(b); 120C-700(3)
L-07-0008 2007 Lobbyists Contributing to a Political Action Committee (“PAC”). G.S. 120C-302