Penalties

Civil Penalties

North Carolina law requires candidate committees, political committees and referendum committees to submit reports disclosing contributions and expenditures on a regular schedule. Each candidate and committee must appoint a treasurer responsible for submitting true and correct reports to the elections board office by the due date.

The regular schedule for reporting contributions and expenditures changes depending on the type of committee, office, and year. It is the responsibility of the treasurer to follow the correct schedule. Due dates for quarterly reports, semiannual reports, pre-referendum reports and final referendum reports are posted on the State Board of Elections’ website. Due dates for municipal reports are available at the county board of elections.

 A committee that fails to submit a report by the due date receives a financial penalty.

If a report affects a statewide election, the committee receives a penalty of $250 per day for each day the report is late, up to a maximum penalty of $10,000. A report affects a statewide election if the committee made any contribution to or in support of a statewide candidate or statewide ballot item during the reporting period.

If a report affects a nonstatewide election, the committee receives a penalty of $50 per day for each day the report is late, up to a maximum penalty of $500. 

In calculating penalties, no day in which the elections board office is closed is counted towards the penalty amount.

If a committee intentionally files a report late in order to conceal contributions or expenditures, the State Board of Elections may assess additional financial penalties.

The Campaign Finance Office of the State Board of Elections strongly encourages treasurers to send disclosure reports by certified mail or by other delivery services with proof of pickup and delivery dates. In the event that a postmark cannot be read, or a report is lost in the mail, the certified mail receipt will serve as proof that that the report was timely.

A committee that fails to file a report entirely will receive a Notice of Noncompliance. If the committee does not file the missing report within 30 days of the Notice of Noncompliance, the committee’s active status will be terminated. A committee that is terminated may not receive or make contributions until it has filed the missing report and paid all penalties for the missing report. Please see rule 08 NCAC 21 .0201 (PDF) for more information.

 

Waiver Requests

The State Board of Elections may waive a penalty if there is good cause for the waiver.

After receiving a Notice of Penalty Assessment, a committee may request a waiver by submitting a written affidavit to the State Board of Elections that sets forth any facts or circumstances that support a waiver of the penalty. A committee may use the Affidavit to Request a Waiver of Civil Late Penalties (PDF) form to request a waiver. Waiver requests are a public record. Waiver requests are considered and voted on at a State Board of Elections meeting.

 

Contested Cases

A committee may also contest a penalty by filing a petition for a contested case with the Office of Administrative Hearings. A petition must be filed within 30 days of receipt of the Notice of Penalty Assessment. Petitioners are required to pay a $20 filing fee. For further information, please contact the Office of Administrative Hearings by email at oah.clerks@oah.nc.gov or by phone at (919) 431-3000.