state board of elections
6400 Mail Service Center ● Raleigh, NC 27699-6400
GARY O. BARTLETT Mailing Address
Director PO Box 2169
Raleigh, NC 27602-2169
Fax (919) 715-0135
November 22, 2000
Ms. Libby Anderson
North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, Inc.
P.O. Box 10278
Raleigh, NC 27605
RE: Request under G.S. 163-278.23 for an opinion
Dear Ms. Anderson:
This is a response to your inquiry for the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Inc.'s political action committee, FAMPAC.
When a PAC is formed by a professional organization, unless it's statement of organization differs; the PAC's membership is limited to the members of the professional association. In that situation, since only members could contribute to the PAC, any gifts to FAMPAC by non-members would be unlawful. We are assuming that your continuing education courses are open to non-members. If they are, and you decide to solicit funds for FAMPAC, it would be advisable to note in the solicitation that only members of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians could lawfully contribute.
Assuming that the political action committee FAMPAC was properly formed and has continued to comply with the election laws of North Carolina, a solicitation on your continuing education forms for this PAC, as set out in your letter of November 13, 2000, would appear not to violate the election law if:
1. Contributions were only received from your membership and not from non-members.
2. The solicitations for such contributions were given only to your members and not any non-member.
This would mean that if your solicitation was printed on the registration form, you would need to make sure that particular type of registration form would not be sent to non-members. It might be simpler to give a separate solicitation sheet to your members as they check-in at the registration table.
This is an opinion tendered under the provisions of G.S. 163-278.23.
Gary O. Bartlett