The South Carolina Bar is a unified Bar in which membership is compelled by state law as a condition of practicing law in the state. Annual license fees are used to finance activities reasonably intended to effectuate the following purposes of the South Carolina Bar set forth in Section 1.2 of Article I of the Bar's Constitution:

The pur­poses of the Bar shall be to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Con­sti­tu­tion of the State of South Caro­li­na; to pro­tect, and maintain re­spect for, rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment; to con­tin­u­al­ly im­prove the ad­min­is­tra­tion of justice through­out the State; to re­quire the high­est stan­dards of eth­i­cal and pro­fes­sion­al con­duct, and up­hold the in­teg­ri­ty and hon­or of the legal pro­fes­sion; to ad­vance the sci­ence of ju­ris­pru­dence; to promote con­sis­tent high qual­i­ty of le­gal edu­ca­tion and legal ser­vic­es to the public; to apply the knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence and ability of the le­gal profession to the pro­mo­tion of the pub­lic good; to encour­age good­will and re­spect for integ­ri­ty and ex­cel­lence in pub­lic ser­vice among the mem­bers of the legal pro­fession and the pub­lic; to per­form any addi­tion­al pur­pos­es and duties as may be as­signed to it by the Supreme Court of South Caro­li­na; to pro­mote and corre­late such pol­i­cies and ac­tiv­i­ties as fall within these pur­pos­es in the in­ter­est of the legal pro­fes­sion and the pub­lic.

Under Keller v. State Bar of California, the South Carolina Bar cannot use the license fees of objecting members for political or ideological activities that are not reasonably related to the regulation of the legal profession or improving the quality of legal services. The South Carolina Bar does not believe it engages in any activity, including political or ideological activities, not germane to the regulation of the legal profession or the improvement of the quality of legal services.

Section 6.6 of South Carolina Bar Constitution requires the Bar to publish, on an annual basis, the amount expended from unrestricted funds to support legislative policies and file briefs, independently verified by a certified public accountant. That amount must be used to determine the pro rata amount of a member's license fee expended for those activities in the same proportion as the license fees are across membership categories.

While the Bar believes its expenditures comply with Keller, and does not engage in non-germane activity, the Bar treats the entire amount of any expenditures on government relations, briefing, or legislative positions as potentially subject to challenge under the process set forth in Section 6.6 of the Bar Constitution.

The Bar has determined the amount spent on governmental affairs, briefing or legislative positions was 2.57% of the overall unrestricted revenue received by the Bar in Fiscal Year 2020-2021. 97.43% of unrestricted revenue received by the Bar in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 was spent on other Bar programs and expenses or retained as savings.

See Section 6.6 of the South Carolina Bar Constitution.