Elizabeth Colbert Busch has based her campaign appeal on being a “fiscally conservative” businesswoman. It is a good profile in the Republican-leaning district. It isn’t how most voters would describe an employee of a public university, however, which Colbert Busch is. Nor is it how they would describe someone who helped steer $45 million in federal stimulus funds to her employer. Unsurprisingly, Colbert Busch’s stimulus project has failed to live up to its hype.
In 2009, as a new employee of Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, Colbert Busch co-authored a proposal to develop a wind-turbine testing facility at the University. In early 2010, the school was awarded $45 million in stimulus funds to construct and run the facility. Colbert Busch, until her run for Congress, has been director of sales and marketing for the facility. She earned $120,000 a year in the taxpayer-funded position.
Colbert Busch boasted to a local paper that wind energy is “bigger than the automative industry.” She also predicted that, eventually, the facility could help attract 20,000 jobs to South Carolina. According to Recovery.gov, however, the $45 million grant has so far “saved or created” 134 jobs. That works about to almost $350,000 per job.
That doesn’t sound very “fiscally conservative.”