NEW REPORT: Ron Johnson Sought Recovery Act Funding Again, Despite Opposition to Recovery Act Funding

Oct 30, 2010

Anti-government, Stimulus Opponent Personally Sought Recovery Act Funding Twice 

MADISON — The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported yet another example of millionaire Ron Johnson’s hypocrisy, seeking government aid before he was a political candidate for U.S. Senate despite his constant attacks against the Recovery Act as a candidate.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report:

Late last year, Ron Johnson, working in behalf of the Oshkosh Chamber Partners in Education Council, contacted University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard H. Wells about collaborating with the university to secure an education grant funded by the federal economic stimulus bill.

In a Dec. 15 e-mail to Wells, Johnson sent him a link to the federal grant and gave him the name of a public affairs specialist with the Department of Education.

In his e-mail, Johnson said that he would be happy to meet with Wells to “discuss a strategy to move forward. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10.30.10]

“It’s clear that before Ron Johnson was a political candidate he took government assistance to build his business and sought recovery act funding twice. But then he started playing politics and reinvented his position in order to serve his political ambitions,” said Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “For Ron Johnson to take government aid when it serves his interests but then oppose it for everyone else shows what a phony he is. Wisconsin voters can’t trust Johnson to be on their side and fight for them.”

The Oshkosh Northwestern reported earlier this year that when Johnson served on the board of the Opera House, he played a key role in attempting to find out whether the Opera House could get funding from the Recovery Act for repairs.

“In an e-mail obtained by the Northwestern, Johnson called Oshkosh Area Community Foundation CEO Eileen Connolly-Keesler to ask about the availability of stimulus dollars to help fund the $1.8 million repair project…
“I just got a call from Ron Johnson about the Grand and stimulus money,” Connolly-Keesler wrote in a March 25 e-mail. “I can’t imagine it will pay for non-profit buildings but I am willing to make some calls if you think it would work.”” [Oshkosh Northwestern, 9/18/10]

Meanwhile, three media organizations called Ron Johnson out for his false attack this week, a misleading mailer sent to thousands of Wisconsin families that attacks as wasteful the exact same government bonds Johnson used to grow his own business in the 1980s.

 The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this week however the project Johnson listed in his mail piece was never funded.

And as WKOW reported, Johnson is now attacking the same kind of government aid that he used in the 1980s to build his own business, when Johnson took at least $4 million worth of revenue bonds.

“Indeed, the bonds work nearly identically to the industrial development revenue bonds Johnson took advantage of to help build his Oshkosh plastics factory in the 1970s and 1980s.” [WKOW, 10.27.10]

Johnson defended his own use of Revenue Bonds earlier this year, claiming it was no big deal that he took government aid, even though he opposes government aid to businesses now:
“Thousands of companies utilize industrial revenue bonds for- for initial financing. It’s just what city governments do to attract business into their, into their particular location.” (WisconsinEye Interview 8/30/10)

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Johnson’s attack was nothing more than “a snow job.”

“That’s so bogus it’s not even funny,” said Kelly Pawlak, the general manager of Mount Snow. [Wisconsin State Journal, 10.29.10]