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General Information 

South Carolina Code of Laws

A lobbyist is defined as any person who is employed, appointed, or retained, with or without compensation, by another person to influence by direct communication with public officials or public employees.

A lobbyist's principal is the person on whose behalf and for whose benefit the lobbyist engages in lobbying and who directly employs, appoints, or retains a lobbyist to engage in lobbying.

All lobbyists and lobbyist's principals are required by law to register with the State Ethics Commission prior to January 5 of each year or within 15 days after being hired, employed, or retained as a lobbyist or within 15 days after hiring, employing, or retaining a lobbyist.  A $100 registration fee must accompany each lobbyist and lobbyist's principal registration. There is a $4.00 processing fee paid to NIC for credit card payments.  All lobbyist's principals must identify each person who will act as a lobbyist on its behalf during the covered period.  This registration must be done electronically, as does the twice a year disclosure. 

Any state employee who lobbies on behalf of that particular state agency is not required to submit the $100 registration fee, however, the state agency must submit a registration form identifying each lobbyist who will represent the agency.

The Lobbyist and Lobbyist's Principal Disclosure Statement is to be filed by each registered lobbyist and lobbyist's principal prior to June 30 and January 31.  Each report should encompass income received and expenditures made through May 31 and December 31, respectively. If a lobbyist or lobbyist's principal terminates a registration, then the applicable disclosure will be due.

A lobbyist or a person acting on behalf of a lobbyist shall not offer, solicit, facilitate, or provide to or on behalf of any member of the General Assembly, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, any other statewide constitutional officer, any public official of any state agency who engaged in covered agency actions, or any of their employees any of the following:

  1. lodging
  2. transportation
  3. entertainment
  4. food, meals, beverages, money, or any other thing of value
  5. contributions

This does not apply to the rendering of emergency assistance given gratuitously and in good faith by a lobbyist.

A lobbyist's principal may not offer, solicit, facilitate, or provide to a public official or public employee, and no public official or public employee may accept lodging, transportation, entertainment, food, meals, beverages, or an invitation to a function paid for by a lobbyist's principal except for:

  1. as to members of the General Assembly, a function to which a member of the General Assembly is invited if the entire membership of the House, the Senate, or the General Assembly is invited, or one of the committees, subcommittees, joint committees, legislative caucuses, or county legislative delegations of the General Assembly of which the legislator is a member is invited/  Exceptions for conventions and conferences.
  2. as to a public official of a state agency, board, or commission, a function to which an official of a state agency, board, or commission is invited if the entire board or commission of which the public official is a member is invited.
  3. as to public employees, except for public employees of any statewide constitutional officer, a function to which a public employee is invited if a public official of the agency or department by which the public employee is employed also is invited.
  4. as to public employees of any statewide constitutional officer, a function to which all statewide constitutional officers are invited.
  5. as to statewide constitutional officers, a function to which a statewide constitutional officer is invited.
  6. as to public officials or public employees, activities reasonably and directly related to state or local economic development efforts.
  7. as to cabinet officers, a function to which all cabinet officers are invited.

No lobbyist's principal or person acting on behalf of a lobbyist's principal may provide to a public official or a public employee the value of lodging, transportation, entertainment, food meals, or beverages exceeding $70 in a day or $560 in a calendar year per public official or public employee.