2010-06-02(2) - WRITTEN OPINIONS

2010-06-02(2). WRITTEN OPINIONS

GARY O. BARTLETT

Executive Director

MAILING ADDRESS:

P.O. BOX 27255

RALEIGH, NC 27611-7255

June 2, 2010

Andrew Whalen

Executive Director

North Carolina Democratic Party

220 Hillsborough Street

Raleigh, NC 27603

Re: N.C. Political Parties Financing Fund

Dear Mr. Whalen:

You have requested a written opinion pursuant to N.C. General Statute § 163-278.23. You inquire as to how a State Political Party Chairman should maintain a full accounting of the expenditures and disbursements of funds received from the N.C. Political Parties Financing Fund, statutorily required by N.C.G.S. § 163-278.43.

All record keeping of monies allocated from the N.C. Political Parties Financing Fund is the sole responsibility of the Chair of the Political Party to which the funds were disbursed, as mandated by N.C.G.S. § 163-278.42(a). Fifty percent (50%) of the disbursed funds are to be allocated by a special committee, of which membership is outlined in N.C.G.S. § 163-278.42(d). This committee has sole discretion of fund disbursement. However, the allocations must fall within the parameters set forth in N.C.G.S. § 163-278.42(e), and the Chair of the Political Party maintains responsibility for accurate and complete accounting of disbursements and expenditures.

The North Carolina General Assembly made the accounting of actual expenditures and disbursements of funds received from the N.C. Political Parties Financing Fund a very strict mandate. Criminal penalties can be imposed on persons who willfully and intentionally violate the provisions of N.C. General Statute Article 22B. Improper use of funds can lead to criminal charges against those who made the improper expenses, an order of reimbursement against the party, and/or a suspension of future funds payment to the party until reimbursement is made. Compliance with the Campaign Finance laws of this State should not be treated casually.

The law requires that the State Chair's records of these financial items to be complete and it is the sole responsibility of the Political Party Chair to insure accuracy of the records. Next, the receipts and all subsequent expenditures and disbursements must be substantiated by the records required by this office. In addition, it is required that such records must be centrally located and readily available. This implies that the data must be promptly tendered and centrally reported to the Chairman by each sub-entity receiving a disbursement of funds. Finally, the Chairman must vouch for the proper expenditure of the funds when he files his annual report pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 163-278.43(b).

This opinion is based upon the facts as stated in your e-mail dated June 2, 2010. If those facts should change, you should evaluate whether this opinion is still applicable and binding. In addition, changes in statutes and case law may affect this opinion and you should evaluate their applicability. This opinion will be filed with the Codifier of Rules to be published unedited in the North Carolina Register and the North Carolina Administrative Code.

Sincerely,

@#17#@

Gary O. Bartlett

Executive Director

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