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TO AMEND SECTION 2-17-30, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO LOBBYIST'S REPORTING OF LOBBYING ACTIVITIES, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT ALL LOBBYISTS ARE REPORTING THE TOTAL SUM OF MONIES PAID THEM TO LOBBY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OR ANOTHER GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY; TO AMEND SECTION 8-13-530, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ETHICS COMMITTEES, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMITTEES RETAIN FULL JURISDICTION OVER A PERSON REQUIRED TO FILE A QUARTERLY DISCLOSURE FORM; TO AMEND SECTION 8-13-540, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE MANNER IN WHICH INVESTIGATIONS AND HEARINGS MUST BE CONDUCTED BY THE SENATE OR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ETHICS COMMITTEES, SO AS TO INCREASE FROM ONE TO TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS THE AMOUNT OF A CIVIL PENALTY FOR FILING A COMPLAINT WITHOUT JUST CAUSE OR WITH MALICE; AND TO AMEND SECTION 8-13-1300, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO DEFINITIONS FOR PURPOSES OF THE PROVISIONS RELATING TO CAMPAIGN PRACTICES, SO AS TO CLARIFY THE DEFINITION OF "CONTRIBUTION".
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 2-17-30(A)(4) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(4) the identification of each person from whom income attributable to the lobbyist's lobbying is paid or promised and the amount of the income attributable to the lobbyist's lobbying paid or promised the lobbyist to lobby the General Assembly or another governmental entity;"
SECTION 2. Section 8-13-530 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 76 of 2003, is further amended by adding at the end:
"(8) retain full jurisdiction over a person required to file a quarterly disclosure report pursuant to the provisions of this chapter."
SECTION 3. Section 8-13-540(1) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 184 of 1993, is further amended to read:
When If a complaint is filed with or by the ethics committee, a copy must promptly be sent promptly to the person alleged to have committed the violation. If the ethics committee determines the complaint does not allege facts sufficient to constitute a violation, the complaint must be dismissed and the complainant and respondent notified. If the ethics committee finds that the complaining party wilfully filed a groundless complaint, the finding must be reported to appropriate law enforcement authorities. The wilful filing of a groundless complaint is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, a person must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year. In lieu Instead of the criminal penalty provided by this subsection item, a civil penalty of not more than one two thousand dollars may be assessed against the complainant upon proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the filing of the complaint was wilful and without just cause or with malice. If the ethics committee determines the complaint alleges facts sufficient to constitute a violation, it shall promptly shall investigate the alleged violation and may compel by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of pertinent books and papers.
such the preliminary investigation, the ethics committee finds that probable cause exists to support an alleged violation, it shall, as appropriate:
(a) render an advisory opinion to the respondent and require the respondent's compliance within a reasonable time; or
(b) convene a formal hearing on the matter within thirty days of the respondent's failure to comply with the advisory opinion. All ethics committee investigations and records relating to the preliminary investigation are confidential.
No A complaint shall may not be accepted which is filed later than four years after the alleged violation occurred."
SECTION 4. Section 8-13-1300(7) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 76 of 2003, is further amended to read:
"(7) 'Contribution' means a gift, subscription, loan, guarantee upon which collection is made, forgiveness of a loan, an advance, in-kind contribution or expenditure, a deposit of money, or anything of value made to a candidate or committee to influence an election; or payment or compensation for the personal service of another person which is rendered for any purpose to a candidate or committee without charge, whether any of the above are made or offered directly or indirectly. 'Contribution' does not include (a) volunteer personal services on behalf of a candidate or committee for which the volunteer or
any a person acting on behalf of or instead of the volunteer receives no compensation either in cash or in-kind, directly or indirectly, from any source; or (b) a gift, subscription, loan, guarantee upon which collection is made, forgiveness of a loan, an advance, in-kind contribution or expenditure, a deposit of money, or anything of value made to a committee, other than a candidate committee, and is used to pay for communications made not more than forty-five days before the election to influence the outcome of an elective office as defined in Section 8-13-1300(31)(c). These funds must be deposited in an account separate from a campaign account as required in Section 8-13-1312."
SECTION 5. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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