One of S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s closest legislative allies has been asked to “investigate” Innovista – the so-called “research campus” at the University of South Carolina that has received upwards of $140 million in taxpayer money to produce a bunch of half-empty buildings – and even emptier promises.
Innovista was supposed to create “thousands of high-paying jobs” in South Carolina as it ushered in the “hydrogen economy of the future,” but the campus has brought in a paltry $5.1 million in private funds and created fewer than 250 jobs – most of them taxpayer-funded academic positions. Additionally, the future of hydrogen research has been called into question.
In the long and storied annals of government picking winners and (mostly) losers in the marketplace, Innovista is one of the most expensive “losers” of all-time.
“This is South Carolina’s ‘Big Dig,’” one Palmetto politico told FITS, referring to the massive Boston-area highway boondoggle that became a symbol of government incompetence.
Now, with Harrell and University President Harris Pastides scrambling to identify (and justify) continued funding for the embattled campus – and with revelations of fresh incompetence beginning to further discredit Innovista’s hugely over-compensated “leadership” – all of a sudden the time has come to “investigate.”
Or at least give the appearance of investigating … because as with everything in South Carolina state government, this investigation is shaping up to be nothing more than an exercise in political positioning.
For starters, Harrell’s Lowcountry buddy Rep. Chip Limehouse (RINO-Charleston) will lead the inquiry, which sources tell FITS is designed to accomplish two things – provide Speaker Harrell with political cover and give S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, who is running for governor, a stage to score some cheap political points.
“The plan is to let Henry get in the papers for blasting the small stuff, while keeping Bobby clean on the larger waste (of tax dollars),” a source familiar with the strategic thinking behind the investigation told FITS. “It’s playing ‘good cop, bad cop,’ but the real outcome has already been decided.”
Limehouse, a University of South Carolina graduate, will no doubt excel in his role as Harrell and McMaster’s “boob.”
Seriously, people. The only thing this clown knows how to “investigate” is the contents of the nearest all-you-can-eat buffet line.
Interestingly enough, word of this “investigation” first appeared Friday in an article in The State newspaper (a.k.a. La Socialista) … the same news outlet that declined to investigate Innovista over a year ago when it was provided with exclusive details about the project’s questionable developer.