The proposed Senate amendment would render a member of the General Assembly ineligible for a judicial office for a period of two years after he ends legislative service or fails to file for election to the General Assembly.
III. South Carolina Public Integrity Unit
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and his staff have testified numerous times that South Carolina needs to create a mechanism that would enable certain state agencies to share information to aid an ethics investigation.
The Senate amendment would create the “South Carolina Public Integrity Unit,” which would be a voluntary partnership among certain s
tate agencies for the investigation or prosecution of more serious ethics violations. Membership would consist of the Attorney General, the Chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the Director of the State Department of Revenue, the Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission, and the Inspector General. The Public Integrity Unit could receive allegations of criminal conduct or complaints against public employees, officers, or officials and would establish protocols for cooperation among the entities during investigations and prosecutions. Without further authorization from the General Assembly, the Public Integrity Unit would sunset after five years following the effective date of the legislation.
A number of statutory changes have been recommended related to the
revolving door between holding elected office and becoming a lobbyist. For example, the Senate amendment would prohibit, for a period of two years, a former public official, public member, or public employee from lobbying or representing clients before the agency or department on which he formerly served in a matter where he directly and substantially participated during his public service or employment. It also would prohibit, for a period of two years, a former public official, public member, or public employee from accepting employment from a person who is regulated by the agency on which the public official or public employee served or was employed and involved a matter where he directly and substantially participated during his service or employment. The Senate amendment would retain a one-year prohibition for lobbying and employment for matters in which the public official, public member, or public employee was not directly and substantially participating during his public service or employment. The Senate Amendment
would increase the annual registration fee for lobbyists and lobbyist‟s principals
from $100 to $200. These additional registration fees would be retained by the State Ethics Commission for use as a part of its annual operating budget.
V. Campaign Finance
A major concern of the Committee is the currently unregulated nature of campaign committees in South Carolina due to a recent federal court decision. In 2010, a South Carolina Federal District Court judge struck down South Carolina's statutory
definition of “committee”
on grounds that it was unconstitutionally overbroad. (South Carolina Citizens for Life, Inc. vs. Krawcheck) Consequently, since that time, there has been no enforceable contribution limits on the amount of money that a political committee can accept for use in influencing the outcome of an elective office in South Carolina. There also has been no enforceable reporting mechanism to