A May 2012 South Carolina Supreme Court decision clarified the filing procedure for candidates to run for municipal council or mayor. Candidates for office must now complete a Statement of Economic Interests form online with the South Carolina Ethics Commission and then file a paper copy of the completed SEI with the city official responsible for accepting candidate filings. The Municipal Association of South Carolina further recommends the candidate also submit a copy of the SEI filing confirmation provided by the state Ethics Commission when filing to run.
The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in Anderson and Barger vs. South Carolina Election Commission, et al. that S.C. Code Section 8-13-1356 (B) clarifies candidates must file a copy of the SEI form at the same time they file to run for office with the official responsible for accepting the filing. While the Court does not specifically mention that its ruling applies to municipal offices, cities should comply with the ruling in order to prevent potential candidates from being ruled ineligible to run.
As municipal elections approach, it is important that city officials disclose this ruling to candidates and request they comply with it. Municipal election commissions should familiarize themselves with this ruling since they are responsible for certifying a candidate's eligibility to run for office. If the county election commission conducts a city's election, the county election commission should ask for the SEI from municipal candidates when they file.
Sitting council members and mayors do not have to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling since Section 8-13-1356 (A) specifically exempts them from the SEI filing requirement because they already file an SEI by April 15 of each year.