wisconsin capitol
Press Release
July 30, 2015

New Research: WEDC is Four Years of Failure

Report Details Four Years of Failure at Gov. Walker’s Flagship Jobs Agency

MADISON, Wis. — A report released today by One Wisconsin Institute analyzes four years of failure by the quasi-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), created by Gov. Scott Walker. The report details ties between WEDC award recipients and Walker campaign donors, as well as businesses whose owners, directors or employees contributed to the campaign of Scott Walker receiving over sixty percent of dollars awarded by the jobs agency.

One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “After four years, the verdict on Walker’s flagship jobs agency is in. Beyond the devastating audits and a revolving door of top personnel, the agency has been a complete failure on meeting promised job creation goals. It’s only success appears to be in directing awards to Scott Walker’s campaign donors.”

Key findings of the report, “WEDC: Four Years of Failure”, include:

  • Gov. Walker received more than $2.1 million in campaign contributions from individuals with ties to WEDC award recipients, who in turn received more than 60 percent of the state’s economic development awards
  • WEDC economic development dollars are not resulting in promised job creation
  • The majority of awards made by WEDC have not included any job creation or retention goals
  • The agency has awarded funds to outsourcers and promotes outsourcers as “success” stories on its website

“The people of Wisconsin should be able to trust taxpayer dollars at the Governor’s privatized commerce department are not being used to provide favors to campaign donors,” said Ross. “Unfortunately, the lack of protections for taxpayer dollars combined with WEDC’s record of incompetence and corruption raise serious questions about whether political calculation and influence outweigh merit in Wisconsin.”

A review of campaign finance records for Friends of Scott Walker found that businesses associated with Walker campaign donors received $700,119,372 in awards from WEDC, more than 60 percent of the $1.14 billion awarded through the end of 2014. Friends of Scott Walker took in over $2.1 million in campaign contributions from individuals associated with WEDC recipients.

Ross concluded, “After four years, the verdict on Walker’s flagship jobs agency is in. Beyond devastating audits, a revolving door of key personnel, and a failure to meet jobs goals, the agency has been an abject failure for the people of Wisconsin.”

“WEDC: Four Years of Failure” is part of a series of investigative research reports compiled as part of the Wisconsin Investigative Research Project. Read the full report at http://onewi.org/WEDC-Report.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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