When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was running for office, he promised to create 250,000 new jobs for the state outside of the government through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). After three years, WEDC had failed to even meet its first year goal of creating 50,000 jobs. Instead of building Wisconsin’s economy, WEDC is a scandal-ridden jobs agency that gave tax-payer money to companies that outsourced jobs, provided loans to Walker campaign donors without discretion, and regularly failed to follow the law or its own policies.
During his presidential campaign, Walker was dogged by WEDC’s problems. A report by WKOW discovered that one company that received money from WEDC, Eaton Corporation, laid off employees at its plant in the state and sent 163 jobs to Mexico. After it came out that Eaton was outsourcing, WEDC failed to get the money it loaned back. The group also gave multi-million dollar loans to major companies that outsourced jobs at the time: $62.5 million to Kohl’s (AKA the store that Gov. Walker buys all his sweaters at) and $15 million to Plexus Corporation.
WEDC didn’t put America first — it didn’t even put Wisconsin tax payer who were funding it first. However, it did put Scott Walker’s political allies first. Between 2013 and 2014, WEDC gave nearly $2 million in tax credits to Menards, owned by John Mernard Jr. who donated $1.5 million to a group aligned with Walker’s campaign in 2012. Walker donor William Minihan’s company, Building Comittee Inc., was also loaned $500,000 despite having a spotty business record after he gave a “last minute infusion of $10,000 on Election Day” to Walker’s 2010 campaign.
Read American Bridge’s full report on Scott Walker’s disastrous WEDC here.