More than sixty candidates seeking seats in the S.C. General Assembly failed to submit required disclosure forms to the State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) during the primary filing period that ended on March 30.

That’s a big no-no …

In fact, based on our reading of state ethics law it means that these candidates could wind up being ineligible to appear on the ballot – which would obviously result in an already underwhelming anti-incumbent movement becoming even less formidable.

State law (code section 8-13-1356) dictates that “a candidate must file a statement of economic interests for the preceding calendar year at the same time and with the same official with whom the candidate files a declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination.” The code goes on to say that officers authorized to receive these filing forms “may not accept a declaration of candidacy” unless such a declaration is “accompanied by a statement of economic interests.”

These statements provide the public with information regarding a candidate’s financial allegiances – unless of course the candidate follows the lead of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and refuses to provide that info (Haley filled out the required forms, she just failed to disclose tens of thousands of dollars that she received from an engineering firm with business before the state).

Anyway, the drama associated with these late filings has thrown the 2012 election cycle into something of a tizzy – and a major legal drama is looming that could have far reaching implications on the upcoming primary and general election.

Originally, the SCSEC indicated that it had given candidates who missed the deadline a ten day grace period, however it was later revealed that this reprieve only applied to the question of fines assessed by the agency – not the question of ballot eligibility. Meanwhile the S.C. Election Commission (SCEC) – which discussed the issue at its meeting this week – has left the decision regarding these candidates’ ballot eligibility to the two major political parties.

What are they going to do?

“We’re going to follow the law,” Harpootlian said. “My understanding is that there is a lawsuit about to be filed in Lexington County on this issue and we will abide by the ruling of the courts.”

As to his views on the facts of the case, Harpootlian says that the law doesn’t provide any wiggle room for late filers – nor is ignorance of the law an excuse.

“It would seem to me that ‘must’ means ‘must,'” Harpootlian said. “It is a candidate’s responsibility to follow the law, and this is clearly the law.”

As for the Republicans, SCGOP executive director Matt Moore said that his party’s leaders were consulting with their attorneys and had yet to take a position on the matter.

While this issue heats up, let’s take a look at the candidates who could be booted from the ballot as a result of either failing to file their statements of economic interest (or submitting the documents after the filing deadline).

S.C. Senate Candidates


Betty Engleman 4/3/12 7:33 AM
Ennis Fant 4/15/2012 4:45 PM
Lillian Brock Flemming: 4/13/12 6:48 PM
Walter Hundley 4/2/12 10:35 AM
Nancy B Lee 4/2/12 2:33 PM
John W. Pettigrew, Jr. 4/6/12 4:57 PM
Katrina Shealy: 4/12/12 10:05 PM
DeeDee Vaughters 4/13/12 12:25 PM
Kerry Wood 3/30/12 12:32 PM


Bob Carrison (party officials say he filed his statement in print prior to the deadline)
Jeff Dishner
Perry Finch
Greg Hembree
Debra Langley Kennedy
Morgan Bruce Reeves
Rex Rice

S.C. House Candidates


Jermaine A. Boyce 4/1/12 7:58 PM
Michael Carmany 3/30/12 4:30 PM
Larry Carter Center 4/17/12 1:27 AM
Mike Connett 3/30/12 9:42 PM
Rena Raye Felder 4/9/12 10:31 AM
Kevin Hardee 4/16/12 11:24 AM
Donna C. Hicks 3/30/12 4:55 PM
Jonathan C. Hill 4/4/12 5:58 PM
Nancy Blackmon Lee 4/2/12 2:33 PM
John H. Lewis 3/30/12 12:03 PM
Joseph Martin: 4/11/12 6:41 PM
Jimmy D. McMillan: 4/16/12 11:42 AM
Seldon Peden 3/30/12 1:07 PM
Robert L. Ridgeway III 4/10/12 12:03 PM
Leola Robinson –Simpson 4/4/12 10:47 AM
Johnny Sellers 3/30/12 12:24 PM
Laura Sterling 3/30/12 4:33 PM
James Taft: 4/11/12 11:15 AM
Rodney Travis: 4/6/12: 1:05 PM
LeAnne Troutman: 4/5/12 4:53 AM
Jonathan Walker 3/30/12 12:10 PM
William E. Wiegand III 4/12/12 4:19 PM
Jim Wiszowaty: 4/5/12 11:11 PM


Michael Bailey
Tonia Aiken-Taylor
Renita Barksdale
Willie Bethune
Kim Demer
Mary Gail Douglas
Randall English
J. Wayne George
Liz Gilland
Walid Hakim
Daniel A. Lawrence
John J. Mondo, Sr.
Samuel Rivers, Jr.
Michael Ryhal
Andrew Seegars
Robert “Bob” Shirley
Gary Stephens
Peter VonLehe Ruegner
Bill Weigand
Allan Weiss
Don Wells
Donna H. Wood

Obviously this is just an initial list … and it only includes candidates for the S.C. House of Representatives and the State Senate. Incumbents are not subject to the disclosure law because they already file an annual statement of economic interest with the SCSEC.