MADISON, Wis. — A review of Gov. Scott Walker’s most recent campaign finance report reveals he continues to reap a windfall of campaign donations, nearly $167,000 in just the last six months, from individuals associated with state businesses getting tax breaks, loans and grants through his Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The latest information comes on the heels of a report from One Wisconsin Now that found Gov. Walker’s WEDC doled out 60 percent of its economic development funds to businesses donating $1 million to Walker’s campaign.
“Gov. Walker’s WEDC has been a case study in the cronyism, corruption and incompetence that has plagued his entire administration,” according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “The latest campaign finance filings sadly show that Gov. Walker is still better at using his WEDC to raise money for his campaign than create jobs for Wisconsin.”
WEDC recipients have also given the Republican Governors Association (RGA) an additional $110,000 according the RGA’s July 2014 filing report with the Internal Revenue Service. This brings the total of giving to the RGA by WEDC taxpayer-funding recipients to $1.2 million. The RGA has already spent $2 million this year in advertising in Wisconsin for Gov. Walker and has an addition $2 million reserved in spending for the September and October. RGA spent $13 million for Walker in 2010 and 2012 in addition to the $4 million committed so far in 2014.
While recent jobs reports show Wisconsin has lost private sector jobs for the two most recent months in which data is available, Walker’s latest campaign finance report reveals he continues to see a campaign benefit from the recipients of state WEDC incentives, this time worth at least $166,912 in just the first six months of 2014. Included in these numbers are $25,000 in donations from individuals associated with Link Snack Foods and $10,000 from the 3M Company PAC. Both companies received state incentives from Governor Walker’s WEDC.
Among the key findings of One Wisconsin Now’s earlier report “W is for WEDC” were:
- Gov. Walker received a more than $1 million direct campaign benefit and $1 million to the RGA from WEDC aid recipients, who in turn received nearly 60 percent of economic development dollars — $570 million of the $975 million distributed.
- WEDC economic development dollars are not resulting in promised job creation.
- WEDC fund recipients include companies engaged in health and safety violations, mass layoffs and conflicts of interest.
A media report on WKOW-TV in Madison also detailed how two companies that received WEDC awards of state tax credits worth up to nearly $20 million subsequently laid off 279 Wisconsin workers and expanded their operations in Mexico and other overseas locations including China, Romania, Malaysia, Thailand, Germany and the United Kingdom. It was also reported that individuals on the boards of the companies are longtime Walker donors and have given the Governor roughly $20,000 in contributions.
Ross concluded, “We’re dead last in the Midwest on jobs and trailing most of the nation. Based on the lack of results on jobs for the people of Wisconsin from Gov. Walker’s WEDC it seems as though the only people it’s working for are job outsourcers and his own campaign.”