Secretary of State of South Carolina

Office of the Secretary of State

Seal of South Carolina
Agency overview
Headquarters Columbia, SC
Employees 26
Annual budget $623,371[1]
Minister responsible

The Secretary of State of South Carolina is an elected position that is responsible to maintain clear records of statewide corporations, supply to the public with customer service, and administrate the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act.[2]

Presently, Mark Hammond serves as the Secretary of State since 2003, and the Co-Chairman of International Relations Committee on Business Services.[3]

The Office of Secretary of State

The South Carolina Office of Secretary of State oversees organizations that provides in registration of companies, non profit organizations, partnerships, employment agencies, state trademarks and business opportunities. Secretary of State also has authority of issuing cable franchise applications and certificates, annexations of land, and investigations of counterfeited finances. Composed of five organizations, The Business Filings Division, Trademarks Division, Charities Division, Notaries, and The Cable Franchise, are set to deliver regulation and composure of records to accommodate each division to taxpayers, businesses, charities, banks, and the government.[4]


The Secretary of State's salary is set at $92,007 annually.[5]


Business Filings Division

The Business Filing Division is accountable for filings for business corporations, nonprofit corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships.[4]

The Uniform Commercial Code is another responsibility of the Business Filings Division, this Code conducts the laws of commercial transactions. This includes the sale of goods, commercial paper, bank deposits and collections, letters of credit, bulk transfers, bills of lading and investment securities.[6]

Trademarks Division

The Trademarks Division enforces a protection of copyrighted products and assists law enforcement in the seizing of any forged goods. According to the Secretary of State Accountability Report, about two million dollars of dishonorable merchandise was collected from fifty six individuals in the financial year from 2009 to 2010.[4]

Public Charities Division

The Public Charities Division promotes and educations the public of charitable non profit organizations and sets regulations to maintain records in order to provide competent donations. Also the division investigates charities that violate the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act. To further inform the public, Secretary Hammond formed the Secretary of State/Nonprofit Advisory Council. All charities in South Carolina must register and include a review of annual financial reports, and is susceptible to investigations and prosecutions. Those who do not register, do not file financial records, or mislead the public are fined.[4] Files submitted to the Division of Public Charities are available to the public for inspection.[7]

South Carolina Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act

The South Carolina Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, or SC Act, was implemented by The Public Charities Division to regulated public charities to register and file financial reports. The SC Act specifies Charities Organizations as any organization that has a tax exemption from the IRS, recognizes itself as a charity, or employs a charitable appeal as the basis of solicitations. Charities must register to the Public Charities Division and file annual financial reports four months and two weeks after the charities fiscal year ending period.[7]

Religious organizations funded privately, government grants, and political campaigns have are exemptible from the SC Act. Charities are also exemptible from registration and reporting if meets the conditions. The first condition is to not intend to solicit or accept donations from the public over $7,500 yearly. The other condition is the exclusion of professional solicitors, professional fundraising, or commercial joint businesses and meets one of the circumstance: to not solicit over $20,000 in a year, received a letter of tax exemption from the IRS, and the cost of fundraising was a maximum of $500; any state or government agency affected by the Freedom of Information Act; a charted veterans organization; or an educational institute that only receive payment or donations from students, families, alumni, faculty, and friends.[7]

Penalties for filing and annual updates are suspected to be fined, Notice of Solicitation Forms and Joint Financial Reports can cause $2000 fines per misdemeanor. Any persons who are intent to violate the SC Act may be fined up to $5,000 and given up to five years in jail. False information submitted intentionally can be fined up to $2,000 and imprisoned up to one year.[7]

Notaries Division

The Notaries Division maintains apostilles and is responsible for all notary public applications. This division handles all filings for state boards and commissions.[4] The Secretary of State has the authority to verify the signature of any official is filed within the office.[8]

Notary Public

A notary public is a person who is authorized to administer oaths, certify documents, perform official acts, and declare the credibility of signatures. To qualify as a notary public a candidate must be registered to vote in South Carolina thirty days before election. A term for a notary will serve for ten years and is commissioned with a certificate signed by the Secretary of State.[9]

Cable Franchise

The Cable Franchise Division has the authorizations to issue permits to cable companies.[10]


According to the South Carolina Secretary of State Accountability Report, in 2010, twenty eight employees are staffed, twenty three as full-time employees, three as temporary employees, and two college interns.[4]

Past office holders

Name Date Party
Samuel Hammond 1831–1835 Democratic
Barnabas Kelet Henagan 1846–1850 Democratic
Francis Lewis Cardozo 1868–1872 Republican
Henry E. Hayne 1872–1877 Republican
William Plumer Blackwell 1924–1950[11] Democratic
Oscar Frank 1950–1979[12] Democratic
John T Campbell 1971–1991[13] Democratic
James M. Miles 1991–2003[14] Republican

See also


  1. "South Carolina Accountability Report Secretary of State 2010 -2011" (PDF). Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  2. "Mission Statemet". Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  3. Reid, Charles F. (2011). South Carolina Legislative Manual (PDF). p. 338.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "South Carolina Secretary of State 2009 - 2010 Accountability Report" (PDF). Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  5. "Executive Branch Salaries" (PDF). Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  6. "UCC Filings". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "South Carolina Charitable Solicitation Laws". Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  8. "Notaries and Apostilles".
  9. "South Carolina Notary Public Reference Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  10. "South Carolina General Assembly General Bill".
  11. Gibbs, J. Wilson (1924). South Carolina Legislative Manual.
  12. Watson, Inez; Hunter, James E. Jr. (1950). 1950 South Carolina Legislative Manual (31st ed.).
  13. Shealy, Louis T. (1979). 1979 South Carolina Legislative Manual.
  14. McKinney, Sandra K. (2003). 2003 South Carolina Legislative Manual.
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