By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
COLUMBIA — For some lawyers, it pays to be a state legislator.
Nearly 30 South Carolina attorney-lawmakers or law firms they worked for collectively earned more than $5.3 million in legal fees from state and local government agencies in 2011, according to The Nerve’s review of the legislators’ most recently filed income-disclosure forms.
Under state law, lawyer-legislators must disclose any public, not private, income that they or their firms received in the previous calendar year. Those legal fees are reported on their statements of economic interests filed annually with the State Ethics Commission.
Of the 170-member state General Assembly in 2011, 43, or 25 percent, were attorney-lawmakers. Among the lawyer group, 27, or about 63 percent, reported legal fees paid by, or in connection to work with, public agencies, The Nerve’s review found.
State Rep. Jenny Horne, R-Dorchester, led the list, reporting $964,899 in legal fees, according to her income-disclosure form.