Johnson Supports Outsourcing Wisconsin Jobs to China, Takes Government Health Care to Create Jobs for Prisoners, Launches Desperate Attack on Author of Buy American Improvement Act

Oct 10, 2010

MADISON—Ron Johnson’s poll numbers are moving in the wrong direction because he supports unfair trade deals that have shipped more than 64,000Wisconsin jobs to other countries. On Friday, the media revealed that Johnson has been using prison workers, with government-paid health insurance, at his company for more than a decade. Over 1,700 Oshkosh families have lost their jobs to the trade deals Johnson supports. The Economic Policy Institute also reported that 59,100 Wisconsin jobs were lost due to our trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2007 alone.

Now Johnson, a Republican, has desperately launched another negative TV ad claiming that U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, author of the Buy American Improvement Act,supported allowing “U.S. tax dollars to go to foreign companies to create manufacturing jobs overseas.”

The fact is Feingold pushed successfully to get Buy American language in the Recovery Act, and every energy project receiving stimulus dollars is located in the U.S.  Johnson’s fellow Republicans fought the Buy American provisions and sought to eliminate them from the Recovery Act,as did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is running negative TV ads supporting Johnson funded by secret donors and potentially foreign money.

The Johnson TV ad recycles a blatantly false claim that funds from the Recovery Act have gone to create “3,000 jobs in China.”  This is a reference to a wind farm project located in Texas that hasn’t actually received any Recovery Act funding.  Rather than creating jobs overseas, the Recovery Act has provided funding for Wisconsin companies like Renewegy in Oshkosh,a manufacturer of small wind energy turbines — the type that serve Wisconsin commercial and industrial businesses, schools, universities, municipalities and farms. Johnson, who lives and works in Oshkosh, opposes the Recovery Act and the investments in Renewegy.

News outlets and independent organizations agree: the latest Johnson attack ad is false.

FACT: By Law, Wind Projects Funded by Recovery Act Built in US. By law, 100% of wind projects that receive investments through the Recovery Act are built in the United States by American workers to provide power for U.S. homes and businesses. According to Department of Treasury guidance, “Property which is used predominantly outside the United States does not qualify for a payment under section 1603.” [U.S. Treasury Department]

FACT: 100% of Money Goes to Wind Projects Built in the U.S.The American Wind Energy Association found that “100% of Recovery Act money goes to wind projects built in the U.S.” and, “Every penny of the money from the Recovery Act is provided as a tax credit for investment in American wind projects built in the U.S.” [American Wind Energy Association] According to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, “every dollar awarded through this program helps put Americans to work.  The program’s benefits flow only to renewable energy projects installed in the United States.”[]

FACT: Incorrect to Say Any Money Has Gone to Chinese. The Pulitzer Prize winning St. Petersburg Times’ Politifact stated flatly: “It’s incorrect to say that any stimulus money has gone to Chinese turbine manufacturers, let alone 80 percent of the $2 billion spent on renewable energy projects.” [Politifact, 2/17/10]

FACT: Texas Wind Farm Used in Johnson Attack Has Not Received Any Recovery Act Funding.The proposed wind farm Johnson uses for the basis of his false claim has never received any Recovery Act funds and hasn’t even applied for funding. As the Charleston Daily Mail reported, the Department of Energy confirmed that “the wind farm had yet to file an application for stimulus funds.” [Charleston Daily Mail, 9/30/10]