1February 8, 2012MEMORANDUMTo: North Carolina House and Senate legislatorsFrom: Parents for Educational Freedom in North CarolinaRe: Florida fact-finding trip March 14-15, 2012
This memo is drafted to outline the impact of the North Carolina ethics andlobbying laws on the proposed fact-finding trip in Florida on March 14-15, 2012. ThoughParents for Educational Freedom i
n North Carolina (“PEFNC”) sponsored a similar fact
-finding trip in 2008, our analysis considers specific facts regarding our proposed trip inMarch to answer the relevant questions.
This memo addresses whether it is permissible for PEFNC, a lobbyist principalunder the State Lobbying Law (G.S. Chap. 120C), to provide transportation, lodging, andmeals in connection with meetings and a tour of schools in Florida.
The transportation, lodging, and meals provided in connection with the tourand meetings would be gifts subject to the Lobbying Law (G.S. 120C-303(a)(1)).However, pursuant to the educational meeting exception in the Lobbying Law, PEFNCmay provide those items to State legislators, legislative employees, and public servants.
PEFNC is a non-profit corporation that qualifies for tax-exempt status under
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) and a North Carolina
-registeredlobbyist principal. PEFNC will help facilitate a tour of various schools served through
Florida’s Opportunity Tax Credit Program. The educational goal of the tour and meetingsis to enhance the participants’ understanding of various schools in Florida that participatein Florida’s Opportunity Tax Scholarship Program. In addition to touring
schools, thelobbyist principal and legislators will be meeting with key leaders and state groups thatmade the program possible. PEFNC will pay for transportation, lodging, and meals inconnection with the tour and meetings.
Applicable Statutory Provisions:
G.S. Chapter 120C prohibits, among other things, alobbyist, a lobbyist principal, or legislative liaison personnel from giving gifts to adesignated individual unless an exception to the gift ban listed in G.S. 138A-32(e)applies. G.S. 138A-32(e)(3)(
i) permits a lobbyist principal to pay for the “reasonableactual expenditures” of a public servant, legislator, or legislative employee incurred inconnection with the individual’s attendance at an educational meeting “for purposes
primarily relating to t
he public duties and responsibilities of the covered person……”