The public now can get a look at how the state’s part-time lawmakers and other S.C. officials earn a living from private employers.
In disclosures due Thursday, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster reported private income from his law firm. The Richland Republican practiced law while he was the state’s lieutenant governor, which is a part-time job, the governor’s office said.
McMaster also reported receiving income from his family-owned PJM Properties, a property management business, and listed his children’s employers.
The most powerful lawmaker in the state, Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, reported receiving private income from Leacon Inc. of Florence, a homebuilding construction company he owns and of which he is president; East Florence Properties, where he is a partner; and Florence Concrete Products, where he reports he is a minority stockholder and earns a salary.
Florence Concrete was paid roughly $2 million in the 2016 fiscal year by state agencies, according to a state spending database.
Leatherman also reports that members of his family earn income from Elite Referral Group, Leacon, Leatherman Realty, which his wife owns, and Social Security benefits.
The disclosures come as part of a new S.C. ethics law requiring public officials to disclose the sources – though not the amounts – of their private income for the first time.
The law passed after a string of high-profile ethics scandals sparked cries for public officials, especially the state’s part-time Legislature, to disclose how they earn a living and expose potential conflicts of interest.
Other highlights from a sampling of officials’ private income disclosures, which officials have until noon Tuesday to file without penalty:
▪ Former Gov. Nikki Haley’s private income disclosure includes money earned from Penguin USA, which published her book, “Can’t is Not an Option.” She also reported receiving nearly $27,000 in gifts.
▪ S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson reported no private income, but hauled in more gifts than Haley, reportedly receiving more than $35,000 in gifts.
▪ State Treasurer Curtis Loftis earns income from Home Pest Control, a pest control business of which he is majority owner that operates across the state, and three real-estate companies: Double L Partners, CML Properties and Frink Street Properties.
▪ S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman reported receiving income from Cenergistic, a Texas-based energy consulting firm that advises school districts and other clients. Spearman consulted for the company before she was elected superintendent. She still receives payments from commissions earned before she quit, her spokesman Ryan Brown said.
▪ S.C. Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant reported receiving private income from his company, Bryant Pharmacy and Supply, which also brought him more than $2.8 million from S.C. Medicaid and the state retirement system.
▪ House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, reported private income from the Lucas, Warr & White law firm and family income from Hartsville Family Dentistry.
▪ Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope reported private income from Elrod Pope Law Firm. He also reported rental income from 212 Properties, Retinue Group, PSHL and Seaport Partners.
▪ Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, reported his private income comes from Nance & Massey law firm.
▪ House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-York, reported earning private income from his high-end used car dealership Carolina Motorworks and the Restaurant Corporation of Clemson. He also reported rental income from Seaport Partners, Retinue Group and MSK Group.
▪ Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, reported earning private income from the Setzler and Scott law firm, Greenhill Limited Kestra Investment Services and Santee Cooper mini-bonds.
▪ House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford reported earning income from the Law Office of J. Todd Rutherford, Sweet Temptations Bakery, 803 Trucking, WasteSouth and T.I.S. Consulting & Auto.