Will Gov. Walker Answer the $700,000 Question?

After Gogebic’s $700,000 Club for Growth Donation to Fend Off Walker Recall Election, Gov. Called Pro-Gogebic Mining Bill Top Priority

MADISON, Wis. — Despite claims made by Gov. Walker to the media that he was an intractable supporter of reducing mining regulations, as reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today Walker as a state legislator voted for the so-called “mining moratorium” bill authored by environmental champion, former Madison Democratic State Rep. Spencer Black.

“Scott Walker joined nearly every member of the legislature in voting for environmental leader Spencer Black’s ‘mining moratorium’ bill. The ‘$700,000 Question’ that Gov. Walker must now answer is what changed his mind?” said Ross.

Walker was already a veteran GOP state legislator when the Republican-led State Assembly passed Senate Bill 3 authored by Black and Democratic Sen. Kevin Shibilski. The State Senate also passed the bill and Gov. Tommy Thompson signed the mining moratorium bill into law.

“According to the court documents released last Friday, Scott Walker had 700,000 reasons to forget his previous vote to pass the historic mining moratorium bill,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “This looks like yet another case of career politician Scott Walker putting his political interests before the state’s best interests.”

Walker is under fire after documents in the John Doe investigation show that he was personally soliciting contributions for the Wisconsin Club for Growth, an allegedly independent group, and that he was “encouraging all to invest in the Wisconsin Club for Growth” as a centralized hub for messaging during his recall campaign. The Doe investigation surrounds allegations of illegal coordination between independent pro-Republican groups and Gov. Walker’s campaign.

According to the documents, Gogebic Taconite, which sought law changes to build a four-mile wide open pit mine in Northern Wisconsin, contributed $700,000 to Club for Growth during the recalls. Less than two weeks after the recalls, the Wisconsin State Journal reported the bill had “quietly been given new life by Gov. Scott Walker, who initiated a process that could see mining legislation taken up once again by lawmakers when they convene early next year.”

At an event hosted by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce on November 28, 2012, Walker made a lengthy call for immediate passage of the Gogebic bill when the legislature returned in January 2013, saying it was a “high and important priority” and made a “specific request” to members of WMC to contact legislators and lobby them to pass the bill. WMC is referenced in the court documents as receiving and spending millions as part of the fundraising effort by Walker and Club for Growth.

The Gogebic plan became 2013 Senate Bill 1 when the legislature reconvened weeks later. Documents reviewed by One Wisconsin Now in 2013 revealed that Gogebic helped draft the bill and marshaled through extensive modifications.

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