Some states elect leaders with college educations and a varied resume of experience across a spectrum of disciplines. Not Wisconsin. They elected a governor with no college diploma, and whose experience was limited to political maneuvering. It was to be a “learn on the job” administration, because people liked the way he sounded and believed in what he said. Walker was a “reformer” and Wisconsin became his “reform school”.
A major reform of Walker was to abolish and transform a major department of government – the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to create the new and reformed Wisconsin Department of Economic Development (WEDC).
1955 Wisconsin Department of Commerce is created
The Department of Commerce was administered by the Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce, who was appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Wisconsin State Senate.
The department traced its roots to the Division of Industrial Development within the Office of the Governor, as established by the Wisconsin Legislature in 1955.
The the entire Department of Commerce, that functioned without major problems for 35 years, was dismantled, “reformed”, and restructured by Gov. Scott Walker in February 2011. Commerce was replaced with the new and streamlined Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and branded as a public-private agency, to boost job growth. This was the flag ship of “Walker Reform” boasting an $83 million budget. The regulatory, big government, impediments of the Commerce Department would be striped to make room for the Neoconservative efficiency of WEDC – the flagship of the new Walker reform to allow for the lofty goal of creating jobs, jobs, jobs. Thus the Department of Commerce was “reformed” and WEDC was to be the engine that would drive the creation of 250,000 jobs by the end of his term, as Walker promised in his campaign.
So, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) was created in February of 2011 by the state GOP controlled Legislature and Walker. Five months later, on July 1st – the flagship of reform took over the economic development functions of the old and antiquated Department of Commerce.
The initial Promise? “WEDC will create 50,000 jobs by June 2012”
The Old Commerce Department was abolished in favor of WEDC with a single purpose – Walker’s spokesman Cullen Werwie told how the Governor was working closely with the WEDC and was getting regular updates from chief executive officer, Paul Jadin, and it would retain or create 50,000 jobs by June 2012.
Another “Walker reform” was afoot and speeches were made, ribbons were cut, and the new bigger and better, neoconservative job machine was primed and polished for jobs, jobs, jobs!
We all know now the promised jobs never materialized – not by July 2012 or 2013 or 2014 nor will they appear by July 2015. In that time the WEDC has been a study in cut and paste reorganization of top execs and the kind of account management of an embezzler’s dreams. If the WEDC is an example of Walker’s administration skills then the GOP would be better going with Bernie Madoff. Walker’s Reform School
The WEDC has not lived up to its promise for creating jobs, but it certainly has performed well as Walker’s Pay-to-Play- Bank – surely WEDC must be the acronym for Wisconsin Election Donation Chest. That is the function it has performed since its inception. Walker has been granting tax break and cherry job offers to big contributors for over five years – and I think this is illegal. You’d never know it. Even though Bill Gardner (top picture far right) was indicted for illegal campaign contributions to Candidate Walker, it did not stop Bill’s Railroad from receiving 14 Million in grants. Just Walker’s way of saying “Thanks. Sorry for your troubles”. Read Walker Rail Whooops!
Candidate Walker is attracted to the big bucks like a spider to a fly. Is it coincidence that the wealthiest man and woman in the State of Wisconsin were favored with tax breaks and credits for “donating” to his campaigns? Walker refers to such well heeled folk as “stakeholders” , and he gave John Menard a million dollars (pictured far left in top graphic) tax breaks for his lumber/hardware company after John’s campaign contribution. He gave billionaire Diane Hendricks (2nd from right in graphic above) the wish she requested along with her check of $500,000. She asked him if Wisconsin could be a Right to Work State, and just three years later she got her request.
Finally noticed. This might be illegal?
Rewards for campaign support have been dished out right in front of god and everyone, for the past five years. So, it remains a mystery why the media, and political pundits have finally noticed how Walker’s pay-to-play government might just be illegal. As part of Bill Minahan’s quest to secure government funding for Building Committee Inc., he gave Walker’s campaign the max $10,000 and other BCI employees poured tens of thousands of dollars.
The company was able to secure taxpayer funding from only one source: a $500,000 loan from Walker’s flagship job-creation agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The company has not repaid the loan.
Four former employees and two others familiar with the energy retrofit project said another part of Minahan’s strategy involved unspecified help from his long-time friend Gary George, a former Democratic state senator from Milwaukee who spent time in federal prison beginning in 2004 for receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks. The sources requested anonymity, saying they feared retribution or damaging relationships.Company obtained loan from WEDC – Host Madison
This is the deal that got traction that squealed the tires all the way along Walker’s campaign trail, when it is really just another – “there was a crooked man, who lived in a crooked house”, example of the pay-to-play politics that has been Scott Walker’s MO from the beginning of his political career. So, why now? And, who’s complaining?