GOP-Controlled Committee Puts Special Interests Funded by Gov. Scott Walker’s Campaign Co-Chair at Front of the Line While Shutting Out Wisconsin Families

Seven Groups Taking in Nearly $3 Million Given Special Preference Before Committee Chair Abruptly Cut Off Public Testimony

MADISON, Wis. — Seven groups that received funding from the Bradley Foundation, run by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, were at the head of the line to have their say at yesterday’s public hearing on a wrong for Wisconsin right to work law. Meanwhile a large numbers of Wisconsin citizens who would be hurt by the law and waited all day to have their say were denied their right to speak when the committee chair abruptly ended the hearing.

“Republicans put the handful of special interests who support their scheme to tip the system even further in favor of CEOs and the wealthy at the head of the line,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Meanwhile the people who would take the $5,000 per year pay cut from a wrong for Wisconsin right to work law were denied their right to speak up and be heard by their legislators.”

Representatives of seven organizations that took in nearly $3 million in 2012 and 2013 from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, run by Gov. Walker’s campaign co-chair, were placed at the head of the line to give their testimony in favor of the Republicans scheme to hurriedly pass their bill by GOP committee chair Sen. Steve Nass.

One Wisconsin Now’s review of tax records found that the Bradley Foundation financial support for the groups in 2012 and 2013 totaled $2,895,000:

  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Foundation – $230,000
  • Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty – $1,125,000
  • Association of American Educators – $335,000
  • National Right to Work Foundation – $150,000
  • Mackinac Center – $100,000
  • Heritage Foundation – $205,000
  • Wisconsin Policy Research Institute – $750,000

Nass went on to abruptly adjourn the public hearing, with no prior notice, despite the committee hearing room and two overflow rooms filled with citizens who travelled to Madison and waited all day for their opportunity to testify.

Ross noted Republicans appear to have been afraid to allow the hearing to continue because of the overwhelming public opposition being expressed on the measure. In states with right to work laws the average family makes over $5,000 less per year, public school funding is over $3,300 per pupil lower and rates of uninsured are higher.

He concluded, “Republicans know that this law is for the benefit of CEOs and not the families of Wisconsin. While bending over backwards to accommodate the special interests, their behavior to deny the people who would be hurt the chance to have their say is shameful.”

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