“Certainly An Appearance of Corruption”

Aug 24, 2014

Not one, but two, Scott Walker pay-to-play schemes came into focus this weekend, as previously unreleased documents revealed that Walker benefited from $700,000 in campaign cash from out-of-state mining special interests — “certainly an appearance of corruption,” according to a nonpartisan special investigator. News reports also revealed that a company owned by Walker donors was set to receive a $6 million award from Walker’s Economic Disaster Corporation.

In an April court filing, special investigator Dean Nickel discussed information that Gogebic Taconite (GTAC), an out-of-state mining corporation that literally wrote its own law, had donated $700,000 to Club for Growth for Walker. Speaking for a special prosecutor,  Nickel said of the donation that, “Because Wisconsin Club for Growth’s fundraising and expenditures were being coordinated with Scott Walker’s agents at the time of Gogebic’s donation, there is certainly an appearance of corruption in light of the resulting legislation from which it benefited.” 

Also this weekend in pay-to-play news came a report that Walker’s failed, flagship jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in January approved a $6 million tax credit for Ashley Furniture Industries on the condition that the company only need to retain half of its in-state workforce over the next five years. WEDC has typically required companies receiving taxpayer-funded incentives to create new jobs or at least retain 100 percent of their employees.

About two weeks after the tax credit was approved, the company’s owners gave a total of $20,000 to Walker’s campaign.

“From the news that out-of-state special interests got to buy their own legislation for $700,000 to reports that a company owned by Walker donors can lay off half of its workforce and still receive millions of dollars in taxpayer-funds, we have two more egregious examples of the price put on democracy in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. “Scott Walker’s pay-to-play corruption is at best unethical and at worst completely criminal. And if it isn’t criminal, it should be.”