Skip Navigation
The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Statement of Economic Interest Law  

Section 8-13-1110, etal. 

 

SECTION 8-13-1110. Persons required to file statement of economic interests.

(A) No public official, regardless of compensation, and no public member or public employee as designated in subsection (B) may take the oath of office or enter upon his official responsibilities unless he has filed a statement of economic interests in accordance with the provisions of this chapter with the appropriate supervisory office. If a public official, public member, or public employee referred to in this section has no economic interests to disclose, he shall nevertheless file a statement of inactivity to that effect with the appropriate supervisory office. All disclosure statements are matters of public record open to inspection upon request.

(B) Each of the following public officials, public members, and public employees must file a statement of economic interests with the appropriate supervisory office, unless otherwise provided:

(1) a person appointed to fill the unexpired term of an elective office;

(2) a salaried member of a state board, commission, or agency;

(3) the chief administrative official or employee and the deputy or assistant administrative official or employee or director of a division, institution, or facility of any agency or department of state government;

(4) the city administrator, city manager, or chief municipal administrative official or employee, by whatever title;

(5) the county manager, county administrator, county supervisor, or chief county administrative official or employee, by whatever title;

(6) the chief administrative official or employee of each political subdivision including, but not limited to, school districts, libraries, regional planning councils, airport commissions, hospitals, community action agencies, water and sewer districts, and development commissions;

(7) a school district and county superintendent of education;

(8) a school district board member and a county board of education member;

(9) the chief finance official or employee and the chief purchasing official or employee of each agency, institution, or facility of state government, and of each county, municipality, or other political subdivision including, but not limited to, those named in item (6);

(10) a public official;

(11) a public member who serves on a state board, commission, or council.

  

SECTION 8-13-1120. Contents of statement of economic interests.

(A) A statement of economic interests filed pursuant to Section 8-13-1110 must be on forms prescribed by the State Ethics Commission and must contain full and complete information concerning:

(1) the name, business or government address, and workplace telephone number of the filer;

(2) the source, type, and amount or value of income, not to include tax refunds, of substantial monetary value received from a governmental entity by the filer or a member of the filer's immediate family during the reporting period;

(3)(a) the description, value, and location of all real property owned and options to purchase real property during the reporting period by a filer or a member of the filer's immediate family if:

(i) there have been any public improvements of more than two hundred dollars on or adjacent to the real property within the reporting period and the public improvements are known to the filer; or

(ii) the interest can reasonably be expected to be the subject of a conflict of interest; or

(b) if a sale, lease, or rental of personal or real property is to a state, county, or municipal instrumentality of government, a copy of the contract, lease, or rental agreement must be attached to the statement of economic interests;

(4) the name of each organization which paid for or reimbursed actual expenses of the filer for speaking before a public or private group, the amount of such payment or reimbursement, and the purpose, date, and location of the speaking engagement;

(5) the identity of every business or entity in which the filer or a member of the filer's immediate family held or controlled, in the aggregate, securities or interests constituting five percent or more of the total issued and outstanding securities and interests which constitute a value of one hundred thousand dollars or more;

(6)(a) a listing by name and address of each creditor to whom the filer or member of the filer's immediate family owed a debt in excess of five hundred dollars at any time during the reporting period, if the creditor is subject to regulation by the filer or is seeking or has sought a business or financial arrangement with the filer's agency or department other than for a credit card or retail installment contract, and the original amount of the debt and amount outstanding unless:

(i) the debt is promised or loaned by a bank, savings and loan, or other licensed financial institution which loans money in the ordinary course of its business and on terms and interest rates generally available to a member of the general public without regard to status as a public official, public member, or public employee; or

(ii) the debt is promised or loaned by an individual's family member if the person who promises or makes the loan is not acting as the agent or intermediary for someone other than a person named in this subitem; and

(b) the rate of interest charged the filer or a member of the filer's immediate family for a debt required to be reported in (a);

If a discharge of a debt required to be reported in (a) has been made, the date of the transaction must be shown.

(7) the name of any lobbyist, as defined in Section 2-17-10(13) who is:

(a) an immediate family member of the filer;

(b) an individual with whom or business with which the filer or a member of the filer's immediate family is associated;

(8) if a public official, public member, or public employee receives compensation from an individual or business which contracts with the governmental entity with which the public official, public member, or public employee serves or is employed, the public official, public member, or public employee must report the name and address of that individual or business and the amount of compensation paid to the public official, public member, or public employee by that individual or business;

(9) the source and a brief description of any gifts, including transportation, lodging, food, or entertainment received during the preceding calendar year from:

(a) a person, if there is reason to believe the donor would not give the gift, gratuity, or favor but for the official's or employee's office or position; or

(b) a person, or from an officer or director of a person, if the public official or public employee has reason to believe the person:

(i) has or is seeking to obtain contractual or other business or financial relationship with the official's or employee's agency; or

(ii) conducts operations or activities which are regulated by the official's or employee's agency if the value of the gift is twenty-five dollars or more in a day or if the value totals, in the aggregate, two hundred dollars or more in a calendar year.

(B) This article does not require the disclosure of economic interests information concerning:

(1) a spouse separated pursuant to a court order from the public official, public member, or public employee;

(2) a former spouse;

(3) a campaign contribution that is permitted and reported under Article 13 of this chapter; or

(4) matters determined to require confidentiality pursuant to Section 2-17-90(E).

  

SECTION 8-13-1125. Exception to reporting requirement for events to which entire legislative body invited.

Notwithstanding Sections 2-17-90(C) and 8-13-710, the reporting requirement of Section 8-13-1120(A)(9) does not apply to an event to which a member of the General Assembly is invited by a lobbyist's principal, regardless of whether or not the member attended the event, if the invitation was extended to the entire membership of the House, Senate, or General Assembly, and the invitation was accepted by the House or Senate Invitations Committee pursuant to House or Senate rules.

  

SECTION 8-13-1127. Legislative invitations committees to keep records of invitations accepted; public inspection.

The House and Senate Invitations Committees shall keep an updated list of invitations accepted by the body. The list must be available for public inspection during regular business hours.

  

SECTION 8-13-1130. Report on names of, and purchases by, lobbyists.

In addition to the statement of economic interests required pursuant to Section 8-13-1110, a person required to file the statement shall further report to the appropriate supervisory office the name of any person he knows to be a lobbyist as defined in Section 2-17-10(13) or a lobbyist's principal as defined in Section 2-17-10(14) and knows that the lobbyist or lobbyist's principal has in the previous calendar year purchased from the filer, a member of the filer's immediate family, an individual with whom the filer is associated, or a business with which the filer is associated, goods or services in an amount in excess of two hundred dollars.

  

SECTION 8-13-1140. Filing of updated statement.

A person required to file a statement of economic interests under this chapter shall file an updated statement for the previous calendar year with the appropriate supervisory office annually, no later than April fifteenth of each calendar year, listing any addition, deletion, or change in his economic status with respect to which information is required to be supplied under this article. If the person has filed the description by name, amount, and schedule of payments of a continuing arrangement relating to an item required to be reported under this article, an updating statement need not be filed for each payment under the continuing arrangement, but only if the arrangement is terminated or altered.

  

SECTION 8-13-1150. Filing of statement by certain consultants.

A consultant must file a statement for the previous calendar year with the appropriate supervisory office no later than twenty-one days after entering into a contractual relationship with the State or a political subdivision of the State and must file an update within ten days from the date the consultant knows or should have known that new economic interests in an entity have arisen in which the consultant or a member of the consultant's immediate family has economic interests:

(1) where the entity's bid was evaluated by the consultant and who was subsequently awarded the contract by the State, county, municipality, or a political subdivision of any of these entities that contracted with the consultant; or

(2) where the entity was awarded a contract by the consultant.

  

SECTION 8-13-1160. Forwarding of copies of statement to State Ethics Commission and filing person's county of residence.

(A) The Senate Ethics Committee and the House of Representatives Ethics Committee must forward a copy of each statement filed with it to the State Ethics Commission within five business days of receipt.

(B) Within five business days of receipt, a copy of all statements of economic interests received by the State Ethics Commission must be forwarded to the clerk of court in the county of residence of the filing official or employee.

  

SECTION 8-13-1170. Technical violations of disclosure requirements; extensions of time for filing statements.

(A) The appropriate supervisory office may, in its discretion, determine that errors or omissions on statements of economic interests are inadvertent and unintentional and not an effort to violate a requirement of this chapter and may be handled as technical violations not subject to the provisions of this chapter pertaining to ethical violations. Technical violations must remain confidential unless requested to be made public by the public official, public member, or public employee filing the statement. In lieu of all other penalties, the appropriate supervisory office may assess a technical violations penalty not exceeding fifty dollars.

(B) The appropriate supervisory office may grant a reasonable extension of time for filing a statement of economic interests. The extension may not exceed thirty days except in cases of illness or incapacitation.

  

SECTION 8-13-1180. Soliciting of contributions by elective official or agent from employees; favoritism by public official or employee towards employees making contributions.

(A) An elective official or the elective official's agent may not knowinly solicit a contribution from an employee in the elective official's area of official responsibility.

(B) A public official or public employee may not provide an advantage or disadvantage to a public employee or applicant for public employment concerning employment, conditions of employment, or application for employment based on the employee's or applicant's contribution, promise to contribute, or failure to contribute to a candidate, a political party, as defined in Section 8-13-1300(26) or a committee, as defined in Section 8-13-1300(6).

  

SECTION 8-13-100. Definitions.

(1)(a) "Anything of value" or "thing of value" means:

(i) a pecuniary item, including money, a bank bill, or a bank note;

(ii) a promissory note, bill of exchange, an order, a draft, warrant, check, or bond given for the payment of money;

(iii) a contract, agreement, promise, or other obligation for an advance, a conveyance, forgiveness of indebtedness, deposit, distribution, loan, payment, gift, pledge, or transfer of money;

(iv) a stock, bond, note, or other investment interest in an entity;

(v) a receipt given for the payment of money or other property;

(vi) a chose-in-action;

(vii) a gift, tangible good, chattel, or an interest in a gift, tangible good, or chattel;

(viii) a loan or forgiveness of indebtedness;

(ix) a work of art, an antique, or a collectible;

(x) an automobile or other means of personal transportation;

(xi) real property or an interest in real property, including title to realty, a fee simple or partial interest in realty including present, future, contingent, or vested interests in realty, a leasehold interest, or other beneficial interest in realty;

(xii) an honorarium or compensation for services;

(xiii) a promise or offer of employment;

(xiv) any other item that is of pecuniary or compensatory worth to a person.

(b) "Anything of value" or "thing of value" does not mean:

(i) printed informational or promotional material, not to exceed ten dollars in monetary value;

(ii) items of nominal value, not to exceed ten dollars, containing or displaying promotional material;

(iii) a personalized plaque or trophy with a value that does not exceed one hundred fifty dollars;

(iv) educational material of a nominal value directly related to the public official's, public member's, or public employee's official responsibilities;

(v) an honorary degree bestowed upon a public official, public member, or public employee by a public or private university or college;

(vi) promotional or marketing items offered to the general public on the same terms and conditions without regard to status as a public official or public employee; or

(vii) a campaign contribution properly received and reported under the provisions of this chapter.

(2) "Appropriate supervisory office" means:

(a) the State Ethics Commission for all persons required to file reports under this chapter except for those members of or candidates for the office of State Senator or State Representative;

(b) the Senate Ethics Committee for members of or candidates for the office of State Senator and the House of Representatives Ethics Committee for members of or candidates for the office of State Representative.

(3) "Business" means a corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, an enterprise, a franchise, an association, organization, or a self-employed individual.

(4) "Business with which he is associated" means a business of which the person or a member of his immediate family is a director, an officer, owner, employee, a compensated agent, or holder of stock worth one hundred thousand dollars or more at fair market value and which constitutes five percent or more of the total outstanding stock of any class.

(5) "Candidate" means a person who seeks appointment, nomination for election, or election to a state or local office, or authorizes or knowingly permits the collection or disbursement of money for the promotion of his candidacy or election. It also means a person on whose behalf write-in votes are solicited if the person has knowledge of such solicitation. 'Candidate' does not include a person within the meaning of Section 431(b) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1976.

(6) "Compensation" means money, anything of value, an in-kind contribution or expenditure, or economic benefit conferred on or received by a person.

(7) "Confidential information" means information, whether transmitted orally or in writing, which is obtained by reason of the public position or office held and is of such nature that it is not, at the time of transmission, a matter of public record or public knowledge.

(8) "Consultant" means a person, other than a public official, public member, or public employee who contracts with the State, county, municipality, or a political subdivision thereof to:

(a) evaluate bids for public contracts, or

(b) award public contracts.

(9) "Contribution" means a gift, subscription, loan, guarantee upon which collection is made, forgiveness of a loan, an advance, in-kind contribution or expenditure, a deposit of money or anything of value made to a candidate or committee, as defined in Section 8-13-1300(6), for the purpose of influencing an election; or payment or compensation for the personal service of another person which is rendered for any purpose to a candidate or committee without charge. "Contribution" does not include volunteer personal services on behalf of a candidate or committee for which the volunteer receives no compensation from any source.

(10) "Corporation" means an entity organized in the corporate form under federal law or the laws of any state.

(11)(a) "Economic interest" means an interest distinct from that of the general public in a purchase, sale, lease, contract, option, or other transaction or arrangement involving property or services in which a public official, public member, or public employee may gain an economic benefit of fifty dollars or more.

(b) This definition does not prohibit a public official, public member, or public employee from participating in, voting on, or influencing or attempting to influence an official decision if the only economic interest or reasonably foreseeable benefit that may accrue to the public official, public member, or public employee is incidental to the public official's, public member's, or public employee's position or which accrues to the public official, public member, or public employee as a member of a profession, occupation, or large class to no greater extent than the economic interest or potential benefit could reasonably be foreseen to accrue to all other members of the profession, occupation, or large class.

(12) "Election" means:

(a) a general, special, primary, or runoff election;

(b) a convention or caucus of a political party held to nominate a candidate; or

(c) the election of delegates to a constitutional convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of this State.

(13) "Elective office" means an office at the state, county, municipal, or political subdivision level. For the purposes of Articles 1 through 11, the term "elective office" does not include an office under the unified judicial system except that for purposes of campaign practices, campaign disclosure, and disclosure of economic interests, "elective office" includes the office of probate judge.

(14) "Expenditure" means a purchase, payment, loan, forgiveness of a loan, an advance, in-kind contribution or expenditure, a deposit, transfer of funds, a gift of money, or anything of value for any purpose.

(15) "Family member" means an individual who is:

(a) the spouse, parent, brother, sister, child, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild;

(b) a member of the individual's immediate family.

(16) "Gift" means anything of value, including entertainment, food, beverage, travel, and lodging given or paid to a public official, public member, or public employee to the extent that consideration of equal or greater value is not received. A gift includes a rebate or discount on the price of anything of value unless it is made in the ordinary course of business without regard to that person's status. A gift does not include campaign contributions accepted pursuant to this chapter.

(17) "Governmental entity" means the State, a county, municipality, or political subdivision thereof with which a public official, public member, or public employee is associated or employed. "Governmental entity" also means any charitable organization or foundation, but not an athletic organization or athletic foundation which is associated with a state educational institution and which is organized to raise funds for the academic, educational, research, or building programs of a college or university.

(18) "Immediate family" means:

(a) a child residing in a candidate's, public official's, public member's, or public employee's household;

(b) a spouse of a candidate, public official, public member, or public employee; or

(c) an individual claimed by the candidate, public official, public member, or public employee or the candidate's, public official's, public member's, or public employee's spouse as a dependent for income tax purposes.

(19) "Income" means the receipt or promise of any consideration, whether or not legally enforceable.

(20) "Individual" means one human being.

(21) "Individual with whom he is associated" means an individual with whom the person or a member of his immediate family mutually has an interest in any business of which the person or a member of his immediate family is a director, officer, owner, employee, compensated agent, or holder of stock worth one hundred thousand dollars or more at fair market value and which constitutes five percent or more of the total outstanding stock of any class.

(22) "Loan" means a transfer of money, property, guarantee, or anything of value in exchange for an obligation, conditional or not, to repay in whole or in part.

(23) "Official responsibility" means the direct administrative or operating authority, whether intermediate or final and whether exercisable personally or through subordinates, to approve, disapprove, or otherwise direct government action.

(24) "Person" means an individual, a proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, syndicate, business trust, an estate, a company, committee, an association, a corporation, club, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons acting in concert.

(25) "Public employee" means a person employed by the State, a county, a municipality, or a political subdivision thereof.

(26) "Public member" means an individual appointed to a noncompensated part-time position on a board, commission, or council. A public member does not lose this status by receiving reimbursement of expenses or a per diem payment for services.

(27) "Public official" means an elected or appointed official of the State, a county, a municipality, or a political subdivision thereof, including candidates for the office. "Public official" does not mean a member of the judiciary except that for the purposes of campaign practices, campaign disclosure, and disclosure of economic interests, a probate judge is considered a public official and must meet the requirements of this chapter.

(28) "Represent" or "representation" means making an appearance, whether gratuitous or for compensation, before a state agency, office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or council, including the General Assembly, or before a local or regional government office, department, division, bureau, board, or commission.

(29) "Substantial monetary value" means a monetary value of five hundred dollars or more.

(30) "Official capacity" means activities which:

(a) arise because of the position held by the public official, public member, or public employee;

(b) involve matters which fall within the official responsibility of the agency, the public official, the public member, or the public employee; and

(c) are services the agency would normally provide and for which the public official, public member, or public employee would be subject to expense reimbursement by the agency with which the public official, public member, or public employee is associated.

(31) "State board, commission, or council" means an agency created by legislation which has statewide jurisdiction and which exercises some of the sovereign power of the State.

  

PENALTIES

SECTION 8-13-1520. Violation of chapter constitutes misdemeanor; violation not necessarily ethical infraction.

(A) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, a person who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

(B) A person who violates any provision of this Article 13 is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred percent of the amount of contributions or anything of value that should have been reported pursuant to the provisions of this Article 13 but not less than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

(C) A violation of the provisions of this chapter does not necessarily subject a public official to the provisions of Section 8-13-560.