By Paul Gable
At a press conference yesterday, Seventh Congressional District Democratic candidate Gloria Bromell Tinubu charged Republican opponent Tom Rice with crony capitalism for his support of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation’s notorious Project Blue initiative.
Tinubu pointed to deals benefiting EDC board members and Rice contributors associated with the project which purports to have a startup business called Covation bring a 1,000 job call center to Horry County.
At the heart of Tinubu’s charges are the $24-$30 million public dollars incentives for a project with a brand new company whose details have been kept out of public view through a series of county council “executive sessions” to discuss the project.
Independent media investigations brought to light the shady past of Covation COO David Rocker while due diligence, expected on any project involving public dollars, apparently missed Rocker’s past felony convictions and jail time.
Additionally, Tinubu mentioned Rice’s campaign claims of being a jobs candidate while supporting smaller government and reduced public spending. Tinubu said Rice’s performance countered these claims since he took the lead in expanding public funding of the private, non-profit EDC by 450 percent since he assumed his position of county council chairman.
When Rice was sworn in as county council chairman in January 2011, he promised to serve out his four year term and claimed to have no aspirations for higher office. Approximately six months later, after raising EDC funding from the county’s general fund budget, Rice began making plans for a run at the new congressional seat.
Tinubu said being a public servant should be about protecting the public interest and being a good steward of the public coffers. “In this instance Mr. Rice has not acted in the public interest,” she said.
Questioned whether she called the press conference because she trailed Rice in recent election polling for the Seventh Congressional District race, Tinubu said the only poll that counts is the one voters’ participate in during the November 6th general election.
During his almost two years as county council chairman, Rice has demonstrated little understanding of government and even less of politics. The only qualification Rice brings to his political resume is the “R” behind his name. In this reddest of states, that could be enough.
View the entire press conference here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Dgt2JsaHT4&feature=youtu.be