Key Findings for S.C. Capitol Gains: Outside earnings

Key findings:

  • Since 2009, at least 55 current and former South Carolina lawmakers have reported ties to millions of dollars in outside work connected to government.
  • Lawmakers also reported that they or their family members earned salaries directly from state and local government beyond their earnings as legislators.
  • They pulled in money for everything from public relations campaigns to engineering work, health care contracts and legal services through their businesses or those of their immediate family members. Some earned cash from the very agencies whose budgets they oversee.
  • Such earnings are legal in South Carolina but raise questions about conflicts of interest involving part-time lawmakers whose side businesses profit from state and local government while they determine the laws that regulate those businesses.
  • South Carolina is one of 40 states whose legislators serve part time to varying degrees. California, which has a full-time legislature, is among the few states that have fairly strict limits on outside work by its lawmakers. The majority of states, including South Carolina, don’t.