Filing a Lobbying Complaint
If you believe that that an individual may have violated the Lobbying Law, you may decide to file a complaint requesting that the State Ethics Commission investigate your concerns.
Complaints May Be in Written or Oral Form
- Written - Complaints may be submitted using a letter or other written statement of the complaint details. Written complaints may also be submitted using this Complaint Form.
- Oral - Complaints may also be submitted by telephone or in person. However, all oral complaints must be confirmed in writing by Commission staff.
Contents of Complaints
In general, a complaint should contain the following:
- The filer's contact information, the Ethics Commission does not accept anonymous complaints.
- Specific facts describing a violation of the Lobbying Law
- Why the filer believes the allegations to be true, including specific facts indicating that a violation of the Lobbying Law has occurred;
- The name and affiliation of the lobbyist, lobbyist principal, legislator, former legislator, public servant, former public servant, or other individual(s) subject to the Lobbying Law who is alleged to violate the Lobbying Law.
No Anonymous Lobbying Law Complaints
The Lobbying Law does not permit the Commission to accept anonymous Lobbying Law complaints.
The Complaint Process
The Commission may initiate an investigation on its own motion.
Once a complaint is properly filed or initiated by the Commission, the Commission will conduct a preliminary inquiry of the allegations and information received; and, if warranted will conduct an investigation of the complaint. The Commission may also dismiss, decline or refer a complaint, as appropriate.
If the matter is investigated, the Commission will determine whether a violation has been established by a preponderance of the evidence. If the Commission does not find by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation occurred, the complaint will be dismissed.
If the Commission finds that a violation occurred, sanctions may be imposed. Commission staff may engage in settlement discussions.
Apparent violations of Articles 2 or 3 of the Lobbying Law will be referred to the District Attorney for potential prosecution. G.S. 120C-603. A willful violation of Articles 2 or 3 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. G.S. 120C-602. Also, if convicted of a violation of the Lobbying Law, a lobbyist may not work as a lobbyist for a period of 2 years following the conviction. G.S. 120C-602.
All complaints and the materials collected in conjunction with the investigation of complaints under the Lobbying Law are confidential and subject to release only by court order. G.S. 120C-601(c).