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Statements of Economic Interest Forms Due

The State Ethics Commission’s mandatory Statement of Economic Interest forms is a tool public officials must use to disclose any potential personal benefit he or she might receive as a result of holding a public position. 

Officials must complete the forms by March 30 to report their income and any economic interest in real, personal or business property. Beyond elected officials, the law applies to candidates for office, managers, administrators, chief finance officials and chief purchasing officials. 

The Ethics Reform Act, found in SC Code Section 8-13-100(11)(a), defines a reportable economic interest as a transaction in which the public official or employee may “gain an economic benefit of at least $50.” The Act also requires the reporting of the source and amount of any gift regardless of the dollar amount or value received because of the official’s public office.

Those completing the form must include all income, including source and type, of all immediate family members, including spouses, children living at home, and any other dependent. 

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 interest if there has been $200 or more of public improvements, such as streets, lighting or water systems, made on the property or adjoining properties. They 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. 

Public officials must also report the name and relationship of every business or other entity in which they or their immediate family has a 5% or greater interest in the entity’s value, so long as the value of the interest exceeds $100,000. 

If a municipality contracts with a business where the public official 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.

SEI forms are due by electronic filing by noon on March 30. File the form at www.ethics.sc.gov.