Sanford calls on Colbert Busch to return union donations

gsmith@islandpacket.comApril 10, 2013 

Mark Sanford wants his Democratic rival, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, to return $5,000 in donations from a union that unsuccessfully fought to keep plane-maker Boeing from coming to South Carolina.

Colbert Busch has refused, saying Sanford is making false attacks.

On Tuesday, both Sanford and Colbert Busch, who will face each other in a May 7 general election for the 1st Congressional District, applauded the $1 billion expansion at Boeing's North Charleston plant that will create about 2,000 new jobs over eight years.

They agreed on little else.

"You can't say you're for jobs and also for the union that took the rather unusual stand of going before the National Labor Relations Board to try to prevent Boeing from coming to South Carolina," Sanford said Wednesday. "She has taken $5,000 from the very union that brought the case before NLRB that would have prevented the (Boeing jobs) announcement we both commented on positively yesterday."

In 2011, the Machinists Union filed a complaint with the NLRB, claiming Boeing's plans to build a non-unionized plant in right-to-work South Carolina was retaliation for labor activities at the Washington state plant. Ultimately, the high-profile complaint was dropped.

Colbert Busch responded to Sanford's comments by touting her business experience including work with Boeing.

"If there is anyone out there who believes that a board member of the Chamber of Commerce -- not to mention the chairwoman of the S.C. Maritime Association, chairwoman of the International Trade Conference and one of the Journal of Commerce's Top 20 Women in Transportation -- is in the pocket of big labor, I have some oceanfront property in Wyoming for you," Colbert Busch said in a statement. She added that in her job at Clemson University, she has worked with Boeing on research and development and with community leaders to "strengthen our workforce through science, technology, engineering and math education."

Both candidates support the $120 million in incentives the state is providing for upfront expansion costs.

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