At yesterday’s Legislative audit committee hearing, a top Scott Walker administration official made the shocking claim that he was “proud of” Walker’s flagship agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, even as a recent audit showed the state’s chief jobs agency has failed to follow state law and properly track millions of dollars in taxpayer funded loans.
Despite being grilled by Democratic legislators on the committee about the lack of accountability measures at the scandal-plagued agency, WEDC CEO Reed Hall commented that he was “proud of” what the agency had done and would do in the future.
Wisconsin Radio Network also reported from the hearing that WEDC did no job creation evaluation from July 2011 through December 2012, and had no policies to do so.
Hall, who was a donor to both Walker’s 2010 campaign and his recall campaign, as well as to Republicans like J.B. Van Hollen and voucher advocate Scott Jensen, was tapped to serve as the CEO at WEDC in January following a lengthy and expensive taxpayer-funded nationwide search. Hall is also a past board member at Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, has railed publicly against healthcare reform, and last year spoke at a Central Wisconsin Tea Party rally alongside extremists Kim Simac and Pat Snyder.
“Wisconsin is 44th in the nation on job creation, 45th in wages and dead last in short-term job growth -- is Scott Walker’s administration really ‘proud of’ those statistics?” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Friday. “Or did Reed Hall mean that the Walker administration is ‘proud of’ spending taxpayer money on booze and football tickets, losing track of millions of dollars in taxpayer loans, and breaking state laws? Either way, the stunning failure at Scott Walker’s flagship jobs agency is a source of embarrassment, not of pride.”