Jim Clyburn Flip-Flops On Opportunity Zones

Congressman can’t take the heat …

U.S. congressman Jim Clyburn has been emphatic in his opposition to so-called “opportunity zones.”

Last month he told reporter Jamie Lovegrove of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier they were “B.S.”

“It’s a bunch of smoke and mirrors,” Clyburn said of the zones, which encourage investors to park their capital gains dividends in economically “distressed” areas (or, if you read the fine print, areas close to “economically distressed” areas).

Clyburn also told reporter Emma Dumain of McClatchy that these zones unfairly picked “winners and losers” in the economy.

We agreed with Clyburn … until he flip-flopped.

Clyburn now supports opportunity zones, according to Dumain. In fact, this week he is scheduled to roll out new anti-poverty legislation with U.S. senator Cory Booker – an opportunity zone supporter – that “is actually designed to complement (opportunity zones).”

Not only that, Clyburn said previous reports about his opposition to opportunity zones “were inaccurate” – a shameful attempt to place the blame for his flip-flop on the media.

What gives?


Our guess is Clyburn – who apparently wants to hand-off his seat in congress to his daughter at some point in the future – is leery of the hay being made on this issue by former state representative Bakari Sellers.

Sellers has supported opportunity zones from the beginning, and has criticized Clyburn for opposing the program based on politics – not policy.

The issue has helped boost Sellers’ already promising prospects as a possible successor to Clyburn – which would obviously upset the 78-year-old politician’s plans to gift this seat to his self-proclaimed “familial heir,” Jennifer Clyburn Reed.

Sellers, 34, is a CNN host and lawyer with the influential firm of former U.S. attorney Pete Strom. He the son of Palmetto State civil rights legend Cleveland Sellers – one of the black leaders wounded during the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. A native of Denmark, S.C., he became the youngest black man ever elected to public office (anywhere in the nation) in 2006 at the age of 22.

Sellers has also demonstrated a refreshing willingness to challenge liberal orthodoxy when he believed it was in the best interests of low-income South Carolinians. During his tenure as a state lawmaker, for example, he actually introduced a gas tax cut arguing (correctly) that this levy is regressive.

Stay tuned … sources have told us Clyburn and Reed have been “backpedaling” in recent weeks regarding the latter’s prospective congressional candidacy, although they did not immediately elaborate as to what that meant.

The Palmetto State’s sixth congressional district (map) is one of many heavily gerrymandered “majority minority” districts across the country – meaning its lines were specifically drawn to ensure the election of a black, Democratic lawmaker.

It worked. Clyburn was elected to the seat in 1992 and has held it ever since.



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