N. Carolina Legalizes Call Girls For Politicians

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In North Carolina, lobbying firms can now hire people who can offer – and pay for – sexual services for politicians. And they don’t even need to register as lobbyists or anything else because the Ethics Committee says those services are of no value.

I’d like to see poll results from politicians on that!

Before you accuse me of twisting a ruling or sensationalizing, check out the actual letter from the Ethics Committee, titled “Sexual Favors or Sexual Acts as a Gift or ‘Thing of Value.’”

STATE ETHICS COMMISSION
1324 MAIL SERVICE CENTER
RALEIGH, NC 27699

FORMAL ADVISORY OPINION – CONFIDENTIALITY WAIVED
February 13, 2015

Ms. Joal H. Broun, Lobbying Compliance Director
Department of the Secretary of State
Lobbying Compliance Division
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622

Re: Sexual Favors or Sexual Acts as a Gift or “Thing of Value”

Dear Ms. Broun:
This is in response to your request for a formal advisory opinion submitted on behalf of the North Carolina Secretary of State (“the Secretary”). You have asked whether consensual “sexual favors or sexual acts” between a lobbyist and a designated individual constitute a gift or “thing of value” that would trigger the gift ban and reporting requirements of the Lobbying Law and whether those activities would fall within the definition of “goodwill lobbying” and trigger the Lobbying Law’s registration obligation. You have made this request in a general and largely hypothetical context, with little or no supporting facts. This response must therefore be likewise limited.

This opinion was adopted by the State Ethics Commission at its February 13, 2015, meeting.1

Section 120C-303(a)(1) of the Lobbying Law restricts a registered lobbyist from giving a gift to a designated individual unless a gift ban exception applies. “Gift” is defined as “[a]nything of monetary value given or received without valuable consideration….” G.S. 138A-3(15). A lobbyist must report certain “reportable expenditures,” defined to include gifts and “things of value” greater than $10 per day given to a designated individual or immediate family member.

Consensual sexual relationships do not have monetary value and therefore are not reportable as gifts or “reportable expenditures made for lobbying” for purposes of the Lobbying Law’s expenditure reporting provisions. See G.S. 120C-402 and G.S. 120C-403.2 However, a lobbyist or lobbyist principal’s provision of paid prostitution services by a third party to a designated individual could constitute a gift or thing of value, albeit an illegal one, depending on the particular facts. You have not provided any information that this is an issue in this situation.

So, these “relations” have no monetary value, so do not need to be reported. It continues:

You have also asked whether consensual sexual relationships between a person and a designated individual could constitute “goodwill lobbying” and would thereby trigger the lobbyist registration requirements of the Lobbying Law, G.S. 120C-200. It is unclear why you have asked this question, because in the scant factual assumptions provided, you state that your question concerns a relationship between a “lobbyist” and a designated individual, so presumably the person in question is already registered. Indeed, if there were no lobbyist involved, there would be no need to even consider the application of the Lobbying Law’s gift ban or expenditure reporting requirements. However, in order to avoid the need to further address these issues, the Commission will respond to your question.

G.S. 120C-200 requires the registration of a “lobbyist,” which is defined as an “individual who engages in lobbying” and is employed by the lobbyist principal or receives payment for lobbying. G.S. 120C-100(a)(10). “Lobbying” includes both direct lobbying and “developing goodwill through communications or activities, including the building of relationships, with a designated individual … with the intention of influencing current or future legislative or executive action.” G.S. 120C-100(a)(9). Thus, if the lobbyist does not receive payment from the lobbyist principal for engaging in the sexual relationship which you reference, which the Commission presumes to be the case here, those activities would not constitute goodwill lobbying and would therefore not trigger a registration requirement.

So, in addition, if the person is not registered as a lobbyist, there was never any point of concern, even if the service was paid for by a third-party.

In plain words, lobbyists can hire people expressly for a politician to use in a sexual manner, even if the politician asks for or otherwise indicates their desire for such a service?

Let us say a politician does partake, yet the person who paid for the night of temptation was a less than honest broker. A few hidden cameras, some veiled threat that did not cross the line into blackmail territory, a night of infidelity could put a politician into a less honorable group’s pocket without major cost, and all now rendered perfectly legal by the Ethics Committee of North Carolina.

Isn’t that special?

 

About Author

Baron Von Kowenhoven

Baron was just a shy kid with a dream, growing up in the 40's with a knack for story-telling. After a brief career in film, Von Kowenhoven went to Europe in search of fringe-scientific discoveries and returned in the 90's to unleash them on the entertainment and political landscape of America.

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