Ethics and Lobbying Laws, Including Gift Prohibitions
In 2007, the State of North Carolina passed comprehensive ethics and lobbying laws in response to several high profile matters involving legislators. This legal topic outlines aspects of the laws. These laws, in addition to previously established laws, cover various employees under different situations and those with varying authority. Therefore, if you are a covered person under one law, you may not be under another law. Accordingly, you should review, in particular, the gift summary memorandum for permissible conduct.
For guidance and further interpretation, please contact the NC State University ethics liaison, Allison Newhart, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, at 515-3932 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the website for the State Ethics Commission has numerous resources, opinions, education schedules, laws and regulations.
Covered persons under the NC State Ethics Act include the members of the NC State University Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, and the Vice Chancellors. These individuals are required to file annual Statements of Economic Interests (SEIs), except for the Student Body President, and to attend ethics education sessions. They are held to the highest ethical standards and conduct such as a prohibition against receiving private gain for serving in their public positions, prohibitions on receiving certain gifts and avoiding conflicts of interest. See N.C. General Statute Chapter §163A.
There are prohibitions on accepting/receiving gifts as a covered person under the State Ethics Act, as well as other NC laws relating to contracts, award of contracts and bribery. If you are a university employee who is charged with preparing plans, specifications or estimates for university contracts, have delegated signatory authority to sign contracts, oversee performance of a contract, or inspect/supervise construction, you must be familiar with the prohibitions. In addition, if you are an employee in student admissions, student financial aid or loans, you are prohibited from accepting gifts from lenders or consolidators of student loans.
A gift summary memorandum is available for your information.
The NC Lobbying Act established certain standards and conduct for lobbyists, lobbyist principals and solicitors. In addition, the university is required to report lobbying expenses to the NC State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. See N.C. General Statute Article 8 of Chapter 163A. For a directory of registered lobbyists, see the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement website.
Federal lobbying laws require annual reporting and disclosure as well. Click on this Memorandum regarding Federal Lobbying Disclosure Reports for information regarding the university reporting obligations under federal law.
Gifts and Favors – N.C. General Statute §133-32
Lobbying Law – N.C. General Statute Article 8 of Chapter 163A
State Government Ethics Act – Presentation by the NC Ethics Commission to NC State University personnel on March 20, 2007.
Conflict of Interest – Presentation by the NC Ethics Commission.
Statement of Economic Interest – Presentation by the NC Ethics Commission.
Lobbying, Legislators, and Public Servants – Presenation by the NC Ethics Commission.
Sponsored Programs & Regulatory Compliance Services (SPARCS) – Conflict of Interest Website