state board of elections
6400 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6400
GARY O. BARTLETT Mailing Address:
Director P.O. Box 2169
Raleigh, NC 27602-2169
Fax (919) 715-0135
October 2, 2000
Mr. Thomas A. Farr
Maupin Taylor & Ellis, P.A.
P.O. Box 12646
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2646
Re: Request for Opinion Pursuant to G.S. 163-278.23
In your letter of October 2, 2000, you request an opinion pursuant to G.S. 163-278.23 on two requirements for political campaign advertisements recently added to the North Carolina Campaign Reporting Act.
The first question is relative to the requirement in G.S. 163-278.39(a)(5) that print media sponsored by a political party must state in the legend whether or not the mailing is authorized by a candidate. You state that some NCGOP candidates may be generally aware that the NCGOP is planning to conduct mailings into certain state legislative districts and that some have given their positions on issues. It is further state that beyond that, no Republican candidate has had any input into producing the mailings.
Considering the information submitted it is my opinion that the candidates have not authorized the mailings described above. Provided no further coordination occurs between the NCGOP and the Republican candidates it is appropriate for the NCGOP legend on these mailings to state:
"Paid for by the North Carolina Republican Party
Not authorized by a candidate"
G.S. 163-278.39(a)(6) requires the name of the candidate who benefits to be listed if the mailings are coordinated with the benefiting candidates. It is not necessary for the legend to include the names of the candidates who are intended to benefit from the mailing because there had been no consultation with them.
The second question is whether or not the requirement for disclosure as an in-kind contribution in G.S. 163-278.11(b) applies to these mailings. The first part of the requirement that "a political party executive committee that makes an expenditure that benefits a candidate or group of candidates shall report the expenditure, including the date, amount, and purpose of the expenditure and the name of and office sought by the candidate or candidates on whose behalf the expenditure was made" must be fulfilled.
The second part that "a candidate who benefits from the expenditure shall report the expenditure or the proportionate share of the expenditure from which the candidate benefited as an in-kind contribution if the candidate or the candidate's committee has coordinated with the political party executive committee concerning the expenditure" is not required with the mailings. The reporting requirement is based on whether or not the mailings were coordinated.
Please feel free to contact me if you need assistance.
Gary O. Bartlett