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Campaign finance requirements for South Carolina ballot measures

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Campaign finance requirements for South Carolina ballot measures are promulgated by the South Carolina State Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission handles most functions of campaign finance under South Carolina law including campaign finance reporting and administrative functions.

The State Ethics Commission maintains an online disclosure database in which lists all campaigns disclosure reports.

If any person feels that someone violated South Carolina campaign finance law, the first step is to file a complaint with the South Carolina State Ethics Commission[1]. It is up to the State Ethics Commission to determine if there is enough probable cause to move forward with an investigation. If someone is found to be in violation of law, the Ethics Commission prosecutes all civil law violations. All criminal violations are referred to the Attorney General[1].

2010 law changes

All campaign finance reports must be filed electronically. The law went into effect on May 28, 2010[2].

General requirements

Ballot Measure Committee

All groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure in South Carolina are considered to be a Ballot Measure Committee[3].

Statement of Organization

All Ballot Measure Committees must file a Statement of Organization within five days to the South Carolina State Ethics Commission[4] within spending or receiving more than $2,500.

Initial report clause

All Ballot Measure Committees must file an initial report within ten days of spending or receiving the first $2,500 of campaign funds[5].

Campaign finance requirements

Anonymous contributions

South Carolina bans all anonymous contributions made to ballot issue committees. All anonymous contributions must be returned within seven days to the South Carolina Children's Trust Fund[6].

Cash contribution limits

South Carolina law limits ballot measure committees from accepting contributions made with cash to twenty five ($25) dollars[7].

Contribution limits

South Carolina limits all campaign contributions for ballot measure committees to $3,500[8].

Corporate/labor union contributions

South Carolina law bans contributions to Ballot Measure Committees from for-profit corporations[9]. Not for profit corporations can donate to Ballot Measure Committees[10]. Other organizations like labor unions can donate to Ballot Measure Committees[11].

Reporting requirements and reports

South Carolina uses a quarterly and annual campaign finance reporting calendar. The following are dates when campaigns must file reports in addition to the initial 10 day report.

Quarterly reports

Quarterly reports are due on:

  • January 10, 2010-For all activity from October 1 to December 31, 2009
  • April 10, 2010-For all activity from January 1 to March 31, 2010
  • July 10, 2010-For all activity from April 1 to June 30, 2010
  • October 10, 2010-For all activity from July 1 to September 30, 2010[12].

Final report

The final election report for Ballot Measure Committees is due sixty (60) days after election. The report covers all activity from October 1 up to the sixty day deadline[13].

Campaign advertising restrictions

There are no campaign advertising restrictions or disclaimer requirements under South Carolina law[14].

Terminating a committee

Any Ballot Measure Committee must not accept contributions or pay/incur expenditures in order to fully dissolve[15]. The committee must report all debts and contributions until all activity is stopped[16].

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 South Carolina Ethics Commission "Complaints"
  2. South Carolina State Ethics Commission "Director's Message"
  3. South Carolina Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Practices Law"(See Section 8-13-1300(32))
  4. South Carolina Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Practices Law"(See Section 8-13-1304(b))
  5. "South Carolina State Ethics Commission" Campaign Practices(See "What form is filed and when?")
  6. South Carolina Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Practices Law"(See Section 8-13-1324(A)-(B))
  7. South Carolina Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Practices Law"(See Section 8-13-1322(B))
  8. South Carolina Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Practices Law"(See Section 8-13-1322(A))
  9. South Carolina Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Practices Law"(See Section 8-13-1332(3))
  10. South Carolina Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Practices Law"(See Section 8-13-1333(A))
  11. South Carolina Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Practices Law"(See Section 8-13-1333(B))
  12. South Carolina State Ethics Commission "Campaign Practices"(See "Quarterly Reports")
  13. South Carolina State Ethics Commission "Campaign Practices"(See "A Final Report for Candidates and Committees")
  14. South Carolina State House "South Carolina Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 8-13-1300 (31)(a)-(c))
  15. South Carolina State Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Ethics and Practices Law"(Referenced Statute 8-13-1368(B), South Carolina Law)
  16. South Carolina State Ethics Commission "South Carolina Campaign Ethics and Practices Law"(Referenced Statute 8-13-1368(C), South Carolina Law)