project conflict: SC Policy Council

scpcOur friends over at the South Carolina Policy Council have begun a “project conflict”. They’ve asked legislators to voluntarily disclose all sources of income over $1,000 as it is their view that it should be law. Currently, the only source of income I have that meets this criteria is already current law. Because of state contracts (Medicaid, State Health Plan), I have to disclose that I am president of Bryant Pharmacy & Supply and I disclose the amounts of these contracts. You can look this up here.

Here’s what they are asking:

Report any paid, private-source positions held by you and your spouse (please list name in parentheses and identify as spouse); and generating at least $1,000 in income from Jan. 1, 2012, to the present date. Freshman legislators: Please report paid, private-source positions held by you and your spouse from Nov. 6, 2012, to the present date. Positions include, but are not limited to, those of an officer, director, trustee, general partner, proprietor, representative, employee or consultant of any corporation, firm, partnership or other business enterprise; or any paid positions with private nonprofit organizations or private educational institutions. Lawyer-legislators: Please list the primary areas of legal practice for your law firm under the heading titled, “Type of Organization.” Do not report any paid positions with state or local government entities for you or your spouse.

Report the source and type of earned (salary, wages, contracts, consulting fees, etc.) and investment income (dividends, capital gains, rent, etc.; for stocks, please list names of companies; for rental property, please describe type of property and give address) of at least $1,000 for you and your spouse (please list name in parentheses and identify as spouse) from Jan. 1, 2012, to the present date. Freshman legislators: Please report sources of earned and investment income of at least $1,000 for you and your spouse from Nov. 6, 2012, to the present date. No dollar amount of earned or investment income needs to be specified for you or your spouse. Do not report income from any state or local government entity in South Carolina for you or your spouse.

When do we stop and where do we draw the line? I have mixed feelings about some of this discussion, but as always I’m all ears. The South Carolina Legislature is a part time position. Most members of the General Assembly have other jobs. I think its a good thing. It is healthy to leave the intoxicating atmosphere in Columbia every week and spend a couple of days working in the real world. If and when we strengthen these requirements, it probably won’t affect me personally, however, I struggle with the notion of mandatory disclosure for business associations that are not remotely affected by South Carolina Statute. One of my colleagues noted that this information could be used by a competitor unfairly. Also, should non-conflicting interests of our spouses be public? Feel free to post your thoughts.