South Carolina law and the South Carolina Ethics Commission require all public officials to file a Statement of Economic Interests Report (SEI) annually. The SEI is due by noon on March 30 of each calendar year.
Why did Cheryl Caution-Parker file her SEI on 3/30/2020 at 3:24PM?
The Report should cover the previous year. Just like a person's income tax year. The Report should cover the entire year (ex., from 1/1/2019 to 12/31/2019), so it has to be filed after the Calendar Year ends on December 31. In that way the Report will include the full year.
A report filed by March 30, 2020 should cover the Calendar Year of 2019. Just like when you file your Federal Income Tax Return. When you file your form with IRS by April 15, 2020, it is for the year ending 12/31/19.
But the Ethics Commission's User Guide instructs Filers to call the 1/1/19-12/31/19 report the 2020 Report.
So filers submit forms by March 30, 2020 for the Year 2020.
Last year I suggested to the Ethics Commission that it re-program its system to prevent a filer from choosing an incorrect Filing Year. When I followed up this year, I was directed to the User Guide.
Now, why would Caution-Parker file late? As an elected official she must be familiar with the law. She would have known that the SEI could be filed on any day between January 1, 2020 and March 30, 2020. And for the calendar year 2019. That's how many days? 31 + 29 + 30. And she still missed the deadline by three hours 24 minutes.
She was just re-elected as the Secretary to the Board of Trustees of the Richland 2 School District. Should we be worried about her attention to detail?
Will she just sign any form put in front of her? Or will she look at it carefully and think, "Is this right? Is this true?"
Caution-Parker wasn't alone in filing late.
S.C. Sen. Mia McLeod missed the deadline by 53 minutes.
S.C. Rep. Ivory Thigpen missed the deadline by 2 days, 8 hours 16 minutes and then filed Amendment 1 the next day at 10:11PM.
S.C. Sen. Dick Harpootlian missed the deadline by 6 minutes and then filed Amendment 1 60 minutes later.