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Complete the Statement of Economic Interest by March 30

The State Ethics Commission’s required Statement of Economic Interests forms aim to promote transparency for any potential benefit that a person’s service in a public position might create. 

Under SC Code Section 8-13-1110, public officials must use SEI forms to report their income as well as any economic interest in real, personal or business property.

Who must complete an SEI form?

Several types of officials must complete an SEI form: 

  • Public officials who are elected or appointed to office
  • Anyone appointed to fill the unexpired term of a state or local elected official
  • Candidates for state and local public office
  • The chief administrative official of each political subdivision, including water and sewer districts; as well as city administrators, managers, supervisors or chief administrative official, by whatever title
  • The chief finance and chief purchasing official of each agency, institution, or facility of state government, and of each county, municipality, or other political subdivision

SC Code Section 8-13-1110 specifies that any public official who has not completed an SEI cannot be sworn into office.
What is an economic interest?

South Carolina’s Ethics Reform Act, found at SC Code Section 8-13-100(11)(a), defines an economic interest for SEI purposes as “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” in an amount of $50 or more. 

What must be disclosed? 

Public officials must disclose any real estate interest they or their immediate family have if it can be reasonably expected to create a conflict of interest. They must also disclose the economic interest if there has been $200 or more of public improvements, such as streets, lighting or water systems, made on their property or adjoining properties. 

Public officials must report any real or personal property sold, leased or rented by a public official or immediate family member to the state or any other public agency.

They must also report the name and relationship of every business or other entity in which the public official or immediate family member has a 5% or greater economic interest in the entity’s value, so long as the value of the interest exceeds $100,000. 

If the public official’s municipality contracts with a business where the public works, has an ownership interest or investment in, or has any other association, the official must disclose the relationship and compensation received from the business.

A 2017 change in the law required that all those completing an SEI form to include income, both source and type, of members of the official’s immediate family. This includes spouses, children residing in the household, and anyone else claimed as a dependent. Reportable income for these people includes anything of value reported on an IRS form.

SEI forms are due by electronic filing by noon on March 30. File the form online