Monday July 24, 2017

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walkerCriminal violations may have taken place at Gov. Scott Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Request follows the Wisconsin State Journal investigation that WEDC may have granted a $500,000 loan to one of the governor’s campaign contributors.

MADISON – Democrats here sent an official request to federal authorities this morning asking them to launch an investigation into whether criminal violations may have taken place at Gov. Scott Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Their request follows the Wisconsin State Journal investigation that indicates WEDC may have granted at least one loan – totaling $500,000 – as a favor to one of the governor’s campaign contributors.

Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), the Democratic representatives on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Board of Directors, sent the request by letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorneys John Vaudreuil and James Santelle.

peter_barca“Like many taxpayers across Wisconsin, I am outraged by these explosive media reports, but as a board member I feel a responsibility to ensure we find out how this improper loan was granted and that this is not the tip of the iceberg, while also finding solutions following the recent scathing audit of Gov. Walker’s WEDC,” Rep. Barca said. “Given all the turmoil and potential federal laws being broken at WEDC, a thorough federal investigation is the best way to determine whether the governor and some of his closest aides engaged in pay-to-play activities or committed other serious ethical violations.”

julie_lassa“We need an independent investigation to get to the bottom of what happened at WEDC,” Sen. Lassa said. “As legislators and WEDC Board members, we have a responsibility to protect the taxpayers of this state and make sure any wrongdoing is exposed.”

Sen. Lassa and Rep. Barca also renewed their call for an emergency WEDC Board of Directors meeting and for the state budget committee (Joint Committee on Finance) to hold off on considering changes today to WEDC, given the media investigation and serious problems identified by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. In addition, the governor’s proposal to make drastic changes to the state’s economic development programs requires the immediate feedback of the WEDC Board and entrepreneurs and local economic development agencies affected. Rushing through major changes to WEDC will only exacerbate the chaos at that agency.

A copy of the letter to the U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Attorneys is available here.

Two recent State Journal stories attached to the letter are available here and here.

Written by Assembly Democrats, Laura Smith   

kids-milwWhile the plan increases K-12 funding, it also expands School Choice in Wisconsin and approves Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Reform Plan allowing the County Executive to appoint a commissioner to run a type of recovery program for public schools.

Written by GBP Staff   
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