Instructions for Filing an Ethics Complaint

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Complaints must be made in writing. The Commission provides a form for filing complaints.

You must include your name, address, telephone number, and email address in your complaint. This is important so we can contact you if we have any questions and to keep you up to date on your complaint. 

It is required by law that your complaint be signed, sworn, and notarized.

2019 changes to the Ethics Act provide that only registered voters may file a complaint under the Ethics Act. Any complaint filed by a person who is not registered to vote at the time the complaint is filed will be dismissed.

You must include both the name and elected or appointed position or job title of the person against whom you are filing a complaint.

The Commission does NOT have jurisdiction over all public officials or state employees. Before you file a complaint,  check this list to make sure the person is someone against whom you can file an Ethics complaint.

Your time is valuable, please call us if you are in doubt about whether you can file a complaint against a particular person.


We are here to assist you. But you need to make sure that you list facts that, if true, would establish a violation of the Ethics Act. Call us to discuss, we will help you understand how we can help and, if not, who can.

Issues that the Ethics Commission can investigate:

  1. Use of public position (title) in nongovernmental advertising (unless listed exception applies) G.S. 138A-31(b)
  2. Use of State funds for advertising or PSAs in newspapers or magazines or on television or radio. G.S. 138A-31(c)
  3. Conflict of interest--making official decisions that would benefit the official. G.S. 138A-31(a) and 36 (for public servants); G.S. 138A-37 (for legislators)
  4. Accepting a gift from a lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or entity doing or seeking to do business with State agency, unless an exception applies. G.S. 138A-32
  5. Use of confidential or nonpublic information for private gain G.S. 138A-34 and 120-87
  6. Soliciting or receiving other compensation for acting in an official capacity G.S. 138A-33
  7. Causing the employment of or supervising an extended family member G.S. 138A-40



Your complaint must include the date of the violation happened. And your complaint must be filed within two (2) years of when you knew (or should have known) of the violation.

All complaints received by the Commission are confidential and may not be disclosed by the Commission or its staff to third parties. Your conversations with Commission staff about your complaint are also strictly confidential.

But remember, the person against whom you have filed a complaint will be provided with a copy and given an opportunity to respond.