In a late afternoon news dump last Friday, Scott Walker’s failed flagship jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, released publicly documents detailing $124 million worth of taxpayer-funded economic development assistance, more than two dozen awards, made without staff review – yet Republicans in the legislature still won’t join Democrats in calling for a thorough investigation.
The stunning revelation comes following reports that a troubled company owned by a high dollar donor to Scott Walker received what appeared to be preferential treatment in receiving a $500,000 loan.
And more donors to Walker were among the companies on the list released Friday; the Associated Press reports that the chief executive of KSC International donated $8,500 to Walker and that the owners of County Materials have donated a least $36,000 to Walker.
Equally disturbing is the return on investment for these awards -- just about 34 percent of the jobs expected to be created, or about 2,100 of 6,100 jobs, have actually been created as a result of these awards.
Democrats are calling for a full investigation at WEDC and have requested the assistance of Attorney General Brad Schimel in facilitating the release of full records and documentation on any unsecured WEDC loans, WEDC loans issued over concerns of underwriters, or WEDC loans where underwriting documentation is missing or was not complete.
“As a businesswoman and an advocate of good government, I’m pleased that Democrats in the legislature are standing up for transparency and accountability, but fixing the problems at WEDC shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said Tuesday. “These repeated failures would be unacceptable in any business setting, from a Fortune 500 company to a Main Street store in rural Wisconsin. It’s time for Republicans like Rick Gudex to join Democrats in calling for a full investigation into Scott Walker’s flagship jobs agency.”