Lobbying Law Complaints Frequently Asked Questions
The Lobbying Law prohibits:
- Lobbyists from accepting contingency fees for lobbying;
- Attempts to influence a "designated individual" by providing financial support to the designated individual's campaign or by threat of support to the candidate's opponent;
- Gifts, given directly or indirectly, to certain designated individuals by lobbyists and lobbyist principals unless an exception applies;
- Legislators, public servants and other State employees from registering as a lobbyist while in office or within 6 months of leaving their office or employment;
- Lobbyists from being appointed by a State official to certain State Boards; and
- Lobbyists from permitting certain designated individuals to use the cash or credit of the lobbyist.
- Certain public officials registering as a lobbyist while in office or within six months of leaving office.
- State agencies from hiring contract lobbyists.
Anyone may file a complaint as long as they are willing to identify themselves.
- Lobbyists, (as defined in G.S. 120C-100(10))
- Lobbyist Principals, (as defined in G.S. 120C-100(11));
- Liaison Personnel (as defined in G.S. 120C-100(8)); and
- Legislators and certain public servants.
If the Commission finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation occurred, sanctions may be imposed. Complaints may be resolved by settlement, subject to approval by the Commission.
Apparent violations of the Lobbying Law will be referred to the District Attorney for potential prosecution. G.S. 120C-603(a). A willful violation of any provision of Articles 2 or 3 of the Lobbying Law is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted of a violation under Article 2 or 3, a lobbyist may not work as a lobbyist for a period of 2 years following the conviction.
In addition to the criminal penalties, the Commission may levy civil fines for a violation of Articles 1, 3, 5, or 7 of up to $5,000 per violation. The Secretary of State may levy fines for a violation of Articles 2, 4, or 8 of up to $5,000 per violation.
You will be notified if the Commission decides to initiate a complaint investigation.