WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO COMPLY WITH NCS STATE GOVERNMENT ETHICS ACT & LOBBYING LAWSeptember 2012ETHICS & LOBBYING EDUCATION FOR PUBLIC SERVANTS
What if..You arrive at your office and find an ink pen in a box in your chair.
Can you keep it?
Youve been invited to a reception sponsored by a lobbyist principal where food & beverage will be served.
Can you attend?
If so, can you eat and drink? What if.*
What ifYou are a public servant and your husband owns a business which will financially benefit from a proposed rule change or policy that is scheduled to be voted on by the state board you sit on.
Can you participate in the discussion of the proposed rule change?
Can you vote on it?*
Did you know thatAnyone can file a complaint against you for allegedly violating the State Government Ethics Act.
Violations of the Ethics Act may result in your being removed from your public position.
STATE ETHICS COMMISSION COMPLAINT FORM__________________________________________________
The State Ethics Commission has the authority to investigate complaints against those persons covered by Chapter 138A, North Carolina General Statutes, The State Government Ethics Act, for alleged violations of the Act. Please see section 138A-12 of the Act. This complaint must be filed within two years of the date you, the Complainant, knew or should have known of the conduct upon which this complaint is based. Please note that the Ethics Commission does NOT have jurisdiction over all public officials or state employees.CONTACT INFORMATION(Please Type or Print clearly)
The Ethics Act requires that a complaint contain the name, address, and telephone number of the person filing the complaint. The Commission cannot accept anonymous complaints.
Printed Name: _________________________________________________________Address: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(City) (State) (Zip)
Telephone No: (______) ________________________
Official Use Only:Date Received:Case Number:Type of Official:_______________*
ETHICS LAWS & POLICIESState Govt. Ethics Act & Lobbying LawState & Federal LawsAgency PoliciesExecutive Orders*
GOALS OF EDUCATION PRESENTATIONGive you a broad overview of State Government Ethics Act & Lobbying LawHelp you understand your obligations under these lawsDutiesProhibitionsInform you of the consequences for violationsTell you where & how to get advice*
OVERVIEW OF PRESENTATION*
GOAL OF ETHICS LAWS:CODE OF CONDUCT & TRANSPARENCYCODE OF CONDUCTTRANSPARENCYState Ethics ActMonitor & avoid conflicts of interestBan on gifts from certain personsProhibitions on use of titleProhibition on honorariaLobbying LawProhibition on giving giftsProhibition on certain campaign activities, including contributionsProhibition on accepting contingency feesCannot serve on certain boardsState Ethics ActDisclosure of financial interests (SEIs)Evaluations of SEIs for conflicts of interestPublic disclosure of conflicts of interestsList of covered persons posted on Commission websiteLobbying LawRegistrationReporting of lobbying expendituresReporting of giftsList of lobbyists & lobbyist principals on Secretary of States website*
WHO IS COVERED:ETHICS ACT & LOBBYING LAW*
ETHICS & LOBBYING LAWSSOME PROVISIONS OVERLAPSOMEONE CAN SERVE IN MORE THAN 1 POSITIONPublic Servants*
LEGISLATIVEEXECUTIVEPublic ServantsJUDICIALJudicial OfficersLegislatorsLegislative EmployeesGovernorLt. GovernorCouncil of StateCabinet SecretariesGovernors office employeesPolicy-making positions chief deputies, confidential assistantsCertain managerial positionsOthers designated by GovernorCertain UNC & community college officials, Board of Governors & boards of trustees membersVoting members of State non-advisory boardsSupreme Court JusticesCourt of Appeals JudgesSuperior & District Court JudgesDistrict AttorneysClerks of CourtAOC employees who are covered are public servantsWHO IS COVERED BY THE STATE ETHICS ACT?*
STATE ETHICS ACT: Who is NOT Covered?State Ethics Act does NOT apply to
All State employeesOther ethical codes of conduct, including executive orders, or laws may applyLocal government board members or employees (e.g., county commissioners)Other laws applyLocal governments must adopt a code of ethics (G.S. 160A-83)Members of advisory boards, i.e., those that make only recommendations to a final decision-makerOther ethical codes, including executive orders, may apply*
LobbyistsLobbyist PrincipalsSomeone who is paid to advocate position of another (lobbyist principal)Person who hires or contracts with lobbyistLaw firm, consulting firm, or other group hired to represent anothers interests.Example: Lawyer in law firm hired as a lobbyist; law firm is NOT a lobbyist principalIndividual members of an associationExample: Trade association employs a lobbyist; trade association IS a lobbyist principal, but members of the association are NOT lobbyist principals
AreAreState AgencyLocal Govt. unless local govt. has contracted with lobbyistAreNOTorororWHO IS COVERED BY THE LOBBYING LAW?*
WHO AREGovernmental Liaisons/Liaison Personnel?State or local government employees whose principal duties include lobbying legislators or legislative employees
NC House of RepresentativesNC Senate*
ETHICS ACT CODE OF CONDUCTDUTIES*
File disclosure of economic & other interests (Statement of Economic Interest or SEI)Attend ethics educationMonitor & avoid conflicts of interest Agency heads have additional duties*
FILE DISCLOSURE: STATEMENTS OF ECONOMIC INTEREST (SEIs)FILINGWHO has to file?WHAT has to be disclosed?WHEN is it due?HOW do I file?PENALTIESEVALUATIONS*
WHO must file?Generally, most everyone covered by the State Ethics ActCandidates for election to covered officesFormer elected officials in covered offices must file year after leaving officeExceptions: Covered State employees making less than $60,000Voting student members of university & community college boards of trustees
Executive BranchPublic ServantsLegislative BranchLegislatorsJudicial BranchJudicial Officers*
WHAT has to be disclosed?Certain financial, professional & personal information about you and your immediate family:Spouse unless legally separatedUnemancipated children living in your householdMembers of your extended family who live with you, includingYou and your spouses lineal ascendants & descendents (great grandparents, grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.), siblings, AND the spouse of any of the above *
DISCLOSURE OF CERTAIN CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONSAppointed to a covered boardBy a Constitutional OfficerMust disclose contributions with a cumulative total of more than $1,000 during preceding calendar yearMade by you to the Constitutional Officer who appointed you*
DISCLOSURE OF CAMPAIGN-RELATED ACTIVITYIf you are a Justice, JudgeHead of Principal State Dept. apptd by Gov., orMember of Certain Board apptd by Constitutional OfficerMust disclose if:Bundled contributionsHosted a fundraiser in the home or businessVolunteered for campaign-related activitiesFor the Constitutional Officer who appointed you
WHEN is the SEI filing due?INITIALANNUALGenerally, SEI must be filed & evaluated before you can begin serving on the covered board or in the covered positionException: Provisional Appointments by Universities & Community Colleges. SEI must be filed but does not have to be evaluated prior to assuming covered positionException: Appointees or employees hired by Constitutional Officers during the first 60 days of Constitutional Officers term
ANNUAL FILING DEADLINE APRIL 15TH *
HOW do I file?Manual Filing print & fill in your responses, sign, and mail or hand-deliver the original to the State Ethics CommissionForms available on website: www.ethicscommission.nc.gov Fillable Web Form obtain an NCID account, fill the form out online, print, sign & mail or hand-deliver the original to the State Ethics Commission.Electronic Filing obtain an NCID account, use the e-filing link on the website & submit your SEI electronically to the State Ethics Commission.
CORRECTIONSCHANGES DURING YEARIf you forget to disclose or need to correct something, notify the Ethics Commission as soon as possible
Once SEI is properly completed and filed, you are not required to update or supplement during the yearAccount for any changes on next years filing
SEI VIOLATIONSCIVIL PENALTY FOR LATE OR NON-FILINGCRIMINAL PENALTIES$250 civil penaltyMay result in removal from public position
Class 1 misdemeanor for knowingly concealing or failing to discloseClass H felony for knowingly providing false information*
SEI EVALUATIONSPublic servant SEIs are evaluated for actual & potential conflicts of interestHaving a conflict does not mean you cannot serveMay require you to recuse yourself Failing to eliminate a disqualifying conflict of interest or resignMay be removed from public positionEvaluation letters help you identify areas where need to exercise caution*
ATTENDING ETHICS EDUCATIONInitial. All public servants & ethics liaisons must attend initial ethics education presentation within 6 months of assuming positionRefresher. Must attend a refresher presentat