August 19, 2010

FBI Files, Nick Hurtgen and Scott Walker (8/19/10)

Unanswered Questions About Sweetheart Bond Deal

MADISON - An early Scott Walker supporter who benefited from Walker's largesse was back in the news this week after it was reported that Nick Hurtgen was withdrawing his guilty plea in a federal corruption case in Chicago with ties to the trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Hurtgen, an old friend of Scott Walker's dating to his days with Tommy Thompson's administration, underwrote a bond deal questioned at the time by Milwaukee County supervisors, and later scrutinized by federal investigators.

Scott Walker awarded the $389,000 contract to Bear Stearns, which was locally managed by the later-indicted P. Nicholas Hurtgen.  Soon after awarding the contract, Hurtgen helped to arrange two fundraisers for Walker worth $25,000.  A 2004 investigation found that the Bear Stearns contract had been awarded improperly.  They won the contract from Walker even though their bid cost $90,000 more than a competing company.  When public records were sought during that investigation, it was found that most were either “lost” or destroyed. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Bond deal bid was too vague,” 7/23/04; “Bond deal records missing, Choice explanations murky,” 7/15/04)

Today, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin called on Scott Walker to work to make public the details of the FBI investigation into his dealings with Hurtgen and the troubling circumstances surrounding the borrowing project, which involved lost files and a probe by the Milwaukee County District Attorney.

"Scott Walker's troubling relationship with Nick Hurtgen has never been fully explained to the public," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Thursday. "If Walker wants to be free of the appearance of impropriety, he will ask that the FBI files be opened and that his relationship with Hurtgen be fully explored."

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