MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has amassed an appalling record of cronyism, corruption and incompetence. Instead of seeking reforms to improve it’s performance, a media report reveals Gov. Walker’s WEDC is seeking to impose what amounts to a gag order on members of the Board of Directors at its next meeting.
“Gov. Walker’s WEDC has flat out failed to perform. It has failed to perform on jobs, it has failed to operate ethically and it has failed to manage our money transparently,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Now, instead of fixing the problems, Walker and his gang are trying to implement a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy’ to gag board members and to try to cover up their failures.”
According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the WEDC board is slated to consider new policies including pre-screenings of WEDC board members requests for information by the staff before deciding whether to fulfill or deny the request, prohibiting members of the WEDC board from speaking directly to the press and attempting to impose “disciplinary” actions against members for violating the proposed new restrictions.
Ross noted how Walker’s WEDC has been plagued with unprecedented cronyism, corruption and incompetence. Research by One Wisconsin Institute exposed the cozy relationship between Walker cronies and campaign contributors and his WEDC, finding 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.
A myriad of media reports also have uncovered how political pressure resulted in loans doled out to unqualified campaign contributors, the agency failed to follow basic accounting procedures, made no effort to try to retain a major corporate headquarters in Wisconsin, spent tax dollars on sports tickets, liquor and gift cards and repeatedly gave funds to businesses that outsourced Wisconsin jobs to other states and other countries.
“It is appalling that Gov. Walker would think for even a second that it is appropriate to try to gag the members of the WEDC board of directors with this ‘‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. He ought to apologize first for the incompetent performance of his WEDC and then for this latest affront to open and accountable state government,” concluded Ross.