Frequently Asked Questions About North Carolina’s Ethics and Lobbying Laws

North Carolina enacted a series of ethics and lobbying laws that significantly increased the state’s regulation of interactions between Duke personnel and “covered” state officials. This document provides general information about one of many important aspects of these laws — the “gift” provisions — as well as general guidance regarding common Duke interactions with state officials that may implicate the ethics and lobbying provisions. In this document, “Duke personnel” refers to faculty, staff and all other persons employed by or representing Duke University or any component of Duke Health.

Duke personnel must be aware of and comply with state ethics and lobbying laws, including the “gift” provisions, when planning or engaging in any activity with any state official that involves Duke or is undertaken on Duke’s behalf. These FAQs are intended as a general reference and are not comprehensive; are subject to revision as applicable law and related regulatory guidance develops; and do not constitute legal advice.

Duke is required to report certain government relations-related expenses to state regulators, including some items falling within the gift provisions. Your assistance will be required to enable Duke to prepare these reports.

Accordingly, Duke personnel are strongly encouraged to consult with the appropriate DU or Duke Health government affairs office before engaging in any government relations activities involving Duke or on Duke’s behalf. Specific questions regarding North Carolina’s “gift ban” and gift reporting requirements should be directed to Doug Heron (919-889-8009).

What “gifts” are covered?
What do the “gift” provisions say?
Which state officials are “covered” by the “gift” provisions?
Are any “gifts” to “covered” state officials permitted under the state gift provisions?
What must I do to comply with the law when “inviting” a “covered” person to a Duke gathering?
What must I report…and to whom?
What common Duke activities may be affected by the ethics and lobbying laws, and how can they be made to comply?
What about our board members and officers who are “covered” persons?  What can we provide for them?
Where can I go for further information on state ethics and lobbying laws?