Not so long ago, it wasn’t uncommon to hear stories about lobbyists piling undated checks, made out to legislators’ campaigns, on their desks as they awaited the end of North Carolina’s legislative session.
For decades, lobbyists and their employers were prohibited by state law from contributing to legislators’ political campaigns while the legislature met. The ban was intended to prevent a contribution just as a legislator considered a bill that would directly affect the contributor.
In 2006, lawmakers banned lobbyists from contributing any time. The in-session ban, though, still applies to the companies, trade associations and others — in legislative parlance they are called lobbying principals — who employ lobbyists.