IPCPR Legislative | Political Involvement in South Carolina

Political Involvement in South Carolina

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Requirements for Political Involvement in South Carolina

“Lobbying” means promoting or opposing through direct communication with public officials or public employees:

  • The introduction or enactment of legislation before the General Assembly or the committees or members of the General Assembly
  • Covered gubernatorial actions
  • Covered agency actions, or
  • Consideration of the election or appointment of an individual to a public office elected or appointed by the General Assembly

 

“Lobbying” does not include the activities of a member of the General Assembly, a member of the staff of a member of the Senate or House of Representatives, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or a member of the executive staff of the Governor or Lieutenant Governor acting in his capacity as a public official or public employee with regard to his public duties.

 

S.C. Code § 2-17-10(12): Definitions

 

“Lobbyist” means 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:

  • the action or vote of any member of the General Assembly, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or any other statewide constitutional officer concerning any legislation
  • the vote of any public official on any state agency, board, or commission concerning any covered agency actions, or
  • the action of the Governor or any member of his executive staff concerning any covered gubernatorial actions.

 

“Lobbyist” also means any person who is employed, appointed, or retained, with or without compensation, by a state agency, college, university, or other institution of higher learning to influence by direct communication with public officials or public employees:

  • the action or vote of any member of the General Assembly, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or any other statewide constitutional officer concerning any legislation
  • the vote of any public official of any state agency, board, or commission concerning any covered agency actions, or
  • the action of the Governor or any member of his executive staff concerning any covered gubernatorial actions.

 

“Lobbyist” does not include:

  • an individual who receives no compensation to engage in lobbying and who expresses a personal opinion on legislation, covered gubernatorial actions, or covered agency actions to any public official or public employee
  • a person who appears only before public sessions of committees or subcommittees of the General Assembly, public hearings of state agencies, public hearings before any public body of a quasi-judicial nature, or proceedings of any court of this State
  • any duly elected or appointed official or employee of the State, the United States, a county, municipality, school district, or a political subdivision thereof, or a member of the judiciary when appearing solely on matters pertaining to his office and public duties unless lobbying constitutes a regular and substantial portion of such official’s or employee’s duties
  • a person performing professional services in drafting legislation or in advising and rendering opinions to clients as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislation
  • a person who owns, publishes, or is employed by a radio station, television station, wire service, or other bona fide news medium which in the ordinary course of business disseminates news, editorials, columns, other comments, or other regularly published periodicals if such person represents no other person in lobbying for legislation, covered agency actions, or covered gubernatorial actions. This exception applies to the publication of any periodical which is published and distributed by a membership organization to its subscribers at least twelve times annually and for which an annual subscription charge of at least one dollar fifty cents a subscriber is made.
  • a person who represents any established church solely for the purpose of protecting the rights of the membership of the church or for the purpose of protecting the doctrines of the church or on matters considered to have an adverse effect upon the moral welfare of the membership of the church
  • a person who is running for office elected by the General Assembly or a person soliciting votes on the behalf of a person who is running for office elected by the General Assembly unless such person is otherwise defined as a lobbyist by this section, or
  • an individual who receives no compensation to engage in lobbying and who does not make expenditures or incur obligations for lobbying in an aggregate amount in excess of five hundred dollars in a calendar year.

 

S.C. Code § 2-17-10(13): Definitions

 

“Lobbyist principal” means 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.

 

“Lobbyist principal” does not include a person who belongs to an association or organization that employs a lobbyist, nor an employee, officer, or shareholder of a person who employs a lobbyist. If a membership association or organization is a lobbyist’s principal, the association or organization must register and report under the provisions of this chapter. A person is considered a lobbyist’s principal only as to the public office or public body to which he has authorized, pursuant to this chapter, a lobbyist to engage in lobbying.

 

S.C. Code § 2-17-10(14): Definitions

 

“Expenditure” means a purchase, payment, loan, forgiveness of a loan, an advance, in-kind contribution or expenditure, a deposit, transfer of funds, gift of money or anything of value for any purpose, and a payment to a lobbyist for compensation, for expenses, or lobbying, including the direct payment of expenses incurred at the request or suggestion of a lobbyist.

 

S.C. Code § 2-17-10(5): Definitions

Any person who acts as a lobbyist or lobbyist principal must register with the State Ethics Commission prior to January 5th of each year or within 15 days of being employed, appointed, or retained as a lobbyist or within 15 days of hiring, employing, or retaining a lobbyist. A $100 registration fee must accompany each lobbyist and lobbyist’s principal registration form.

 

S.C. Code § 2-17-20(A): Registration of lobbyists; notice of termination of lobbying activities; supplemental registration statements; list of lobbyists; recording keeping requirements; reregistration requirements
S.C. Code § 2-17-25(A): Registration of lobbyist’s principal; notice of termination of lobbying authority; supplemental registration statements; list of lobbyist’s principal; recording keeping requirements; reregistration requirements

 

The Lobbyist and Lobbyist’s Principal Disclosure Statement is to be filed by each registered lobbyist and lobbyist’s principal prior to June 30th and January 31st. Each report should encompass income received and expenditures made through May 31st and December 31st, respectively.

 

S.C. Code § 2-17-30 (A): Lobbyist’s reporting of lobbying activities
S.C. Code § 2-17-35(A): Lobbyist’s principal’s reporting of lobbying expenditures

 

Lobbyist Registrations, Lobbyist’s Principal Registrations, and Lobbyist and Lobbyist’s Principal Disclosure Statements must be filed electronically through the Public Disclosure and Accountability Reporting System at https://ssl.sc.gov/EthicsRegistration/Login/Login.aspx.

 

South Carolina State Ethics Commission: Lobbying: General Information
http://ethics.sc.gov/Lobbying/Pages/index.aspx

 

Public Disclosure and Accountability Reporting System
https://ssl.sc.gov/EthicsRegistration/Login/Login.aspx

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