Lobbying on the radio should be disclosed

By Todd Cohen

The North Carolina Association of Educators and state Secretary of State’s Office have their heads in the sand.

The teachers group hired communications professional Kevin Geddings to develop radio ads to push Republican lawmakers to vote for a state lottery to provide revenue for public schools.

State law says lobbying is “solicitation of others by lobbyists” to shape legislation.

A lobbyist, the law says, is an individual paid to lobby.

And a “principal,” an entity for which a lobbyist tries to shape legislation, must identify its lobbyists and disclose their costs.

But in a form it must file with the Secretary of State’s Office, the teachers group did not identify Geddings or disclose what it spent on the ads.

The group’s chief says it hired a vendor, not a lobbyist.

The Secretary of State’s Office says the radio ads constituted lobbying but that state law does not require their cost be disclosed.

Teachers would never accept such excuses from students failing to hand in assignments.

The teachers association hired Geddings to create radio ads to shape legislation.

It should disclose that lobbying.

And the Secretary of State’s Office should show some leadership and enforce the law.

Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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