The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was supposed to be the crown jewel among Governor Scott Walker’s first term accomplishments. It was part of his agenda to downsize government and privatize government functions in one fell swoop…as well as serve as a lynch pin in his promised job development in Wisconsin.

Well since then WEDC has failed two state audits. The audits essentially found that the agency didn’t follow state law and didn’t even follow their own internal rules on loans and verification of results from the firms receiving loans.

So what does the governor do when faced with issues surrounding the business loans his organization is making? Does he replace anyone in authority? Does he question why WEDC goes through financial officers like water? Does he call a board meeting (as governor he is board chairman) and get everyone in line like a chair of a business would? Does he hold a public forum and discuss the aims and goals of WEDC…it’s fit in the economy of Wisconsin…and the value and purpose of the loans? NO, he just throws up his hands and says that WEDC shouldn’t be making business loans.

A week after an audit documenting failures by the state’s top jobs agency, Gov. Scott Walker is seeking to end the authority’s $19 million a year in lending, shifting his plans for the agency for the second time in as many weeks.

The Republican governor Friday proposed phasing out the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s $74 million loan portfolio — one of the problem areas identified by nonpartisan auditors but not the only one. Within hours of the release of the Legislative Audit Bureau report last week, Walker dropped his proposed merger of WEDC with another state agency that deals with the economy.

And then apparently at his own behest (and that Zach mentioned yesterday), the legislature is removing the governor from his role as WEDC board chair:

GOP legislators voted along with Walker (emphasis mine) to remove him as chairman of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. but chose to keep their legislative representatives on the board of the embattled jobs agency.

WEDC has been plagued by lax oversight…

When the going gets tough…the tough bail out? That’s leadership?

I imagine Gov. Walker’s continued leadership of a failing state jobs agency would totally play against the image he is trying to portray on the presidential campaign trail. Time to bail before there is too much national media scrutiny on his major policy failure.

But let’s roll back to the lax oversight statement. Very recently there has been a lot of scrutiny of a loan WEDC made to a now defunct business owned by a contributor to the governor’s campaign.

Gov. Scott Walker’s top aides pressed for a taxpayer-funded $500,000 loan to a now-defunct Milwaukee construction company that was collapsing and created no jobs, according to a newspaper investigation.

Walker’s economic development agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, awarded an unsecured loan to Building Committee Inc., owned by William Minahan, according to records the Wisconsin State Journal obtained through an open records request.

The 2011 loan was for a proposed project to retrofit bank and credit union buildings for energy efficiency. The WEDC sued BCI last year in an attempt to get the money back.

It is among several WEDC loans recently questioned by state auditors in a report that led Walker on Friday to ask lawmakers to scrap the loan program.

Paul Jadin, the former head of WEDC, said Minahan and then-Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch pushed for a $4.3 million loan, but the agency couldn’t justify more than $500,000 — which Jadin said he considered “fairly risky.”

Minahan had given Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign a last-minute $10,000 donation on election day — the maximum individual contribution.

A loan that Gov. Walker claims he was not aware of.

State records say that Gov. Scott Walker received a copy of a 2011 letter pledging a $500,000 taxpayer loan to a now-defunct Milwaukee construction company headed by a Walker donor, seemingly contradicting statements by the governor and his aides that he was not aware of the award.

A spokeswoman for Walker said that, in spite of the records, a copy of the letter from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was never delivered to the governor’s office.

So let’s see: the governor’s top aides pushed for a WEDC loan, the governor was copied on the letter regarding the loan, the governor is the board chairman of the loaning organization…and no idea about the loan? That is the definition of lax oversight and typical of Gov. Walker’s organizational style both in the governor’s office and his year’s as county executive in Milwaukee.

What should be happening at WEDC?
1: The governor should be holding up his hand and saying the buck stops here.
2: Attorney General Schimel should be called in to investigate potential violations of state law.
3: The officers of WEDC should make some major changes in the organization to meet state law and internal controls.
4: There should be a public discussion on the value of the WEDC and it’s role in Wisconsin.

And the people of Wisconsin should realize that this is a glaring example of Gov. Walker’s lack of governance in this state as he looks toward his campaign for president. None of us, left or right, are getting any leadership out of the governor’s office.

It is also interesting to examine the sideshow related to all of this:

A week ago when it looked like WEDC might be salvageable, Reed Hall, the secretary and CEO of WEDC, wrote a glowing op ed piece for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel supporting the bold approach to economic development taken by the agency.

And then four days later as things around WEDC continued to unravel Christian Schneider, the in house GOP mouthpiece at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, suggested that we don’t need a business loan state organization and that WEDC should be dismantled.

How quickly fickle the Madison GOP shows itself to be these days. You’d think being in control would be more fun (sarcasm)!

BTW: how’s the jobs thing coming? At the end of his first term the governor was 121,000 jobs short of his announced goal of 250,000 jobs.

22 Responses to Governor Scott Walker Is A Quitter

  1. Jerry says:

    The governor is an intimidated coward. He won’t stand up and be accountable for the failures and corruption in the agency he created and chairs. Rather he wants to cut and run and not only distance himself from his failure but he wants to disassociate himself from the agency by asking to be removed as chairman. He’s the one who touts that he is un-intimidated and will stand strong once he is in the White House against threats anywhere on the globe! He never once faced the protestors in Madison but rather came to and from the Capitol via the tunnels and hid out in his office. He refuses to come out in public and answer questions from the citizens of this state and stalemates the press by only issuing talking points not answers. He is a dictator not a leader as the former only requires power and selfish ambition where as a leader displays courage and compassion and doesn’t cut and run when accountability is required.

    • KayCee says:

      Bottom line IMHO is he messed with the middle class union workers. He tried to pick on the arguably most vulnerable teachers’ union. He woukd have been my dead last choice candidate from ANY party.

  2. Duane12 says:

    Well, WEDC, the brainless child of Governor Scott Walker, will go down in the history of Wisconsin, if nothing else, as one of our greatest disasters affecting both life and landscape.

    Certainly, Walker’s WEDC under his failed leadership and lack of watchfulness can be compared to the Peshtigo fire of 1871 in its waste of resources and destructiveness to life and the human spirit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshtigo_Fire

  3. John Harper says:

    Yes!!! WALKER continues to win!!!

    Months ago this agency needed to be gone said you guys.

    Now it is getting gone and you WANT it to stay!

    Once again you are being schooled by WALKER. No college degree and yet he has taken LIBERALS to the wood shed for OVER 8 years. BOOOM BOOOOOOOM.

    Walker!

    • I don’t care if WEDC comes or WEDC goes. The issue here is Gov. Walker hasn’t the skill or fortitude to take responsibility and take care of his own business. He isn’t schooling anyone but the citizens of Wisconsin in his ineptitude as a governor, leader or manager. He doesn’t know what a wood shed is…but he obviously has one note show ponies who know how to be cheerleaders and little else.

      • John Harper says:

        Ed, Walker’s j eptitude and poor leadership and no knowledge continues to kick butt and take names in this state. Apparently the conservative revival that has happened under his watch has escaped your radar… Say what you will, but facts are facts. Walker is kicking liberal butts. Even Fiengold knew he would lose against him. so he didn’t even try a d now we have vendors more conservative policies. Right to work! Yeah baby! Good luck in the do nothing senate Feingold. Way to sell wisconsIn local politics down the river….

    • Jake formerly of the LP says:

      Thanks for admitting you have no values other than money and power, and have no interest in governing, Mr. Harper. And for proving Bill Maher’s theory that GOPs stopped evolving after Middle School.

      52% of a midterm vote is not “kicking butt.” It’s a lower percentage than Obama got in either of his 2 elections in Wisconsin, with as much lower vote total. And a whole lot fewer of Walker’s small amount of voters would cast the ballot for him today because of his crookedness in WEDC and failed budget agenda. It’s very “Dubya in 2005”-like.

      Some of us view politics as something more than sports, Johnnie. Maybe one day you’ll reach adulthood, recognize that, and do something more productive with your life than lame trolling.

    • KayCee says:

      He is anti-working-class which is why he is a loser! In some places in the country people still make a living wage. Wisconsin’s who choose him can always eat cheese with the rest of the anti-union rats!

  4. nonquixote says:

    Infantile gloating and juvenile taunts, tired platitudes and moronic jeering, endlessly permitted at BB. This contributes to discussions how Ed and Zach? How much longer, how much more?

    • John Harper says:

      Good one NON!

      Yeah let’s not have anyone else on this blog but you sterling examples of glory.

    • Not endlessly permitted. I’ve taken steps, as I’ve grown tired of what I’m seeing as nothing more than trolling.

      • nonquixote says:

        Thanks Zach,

        If there was an occasional pertinent fact or ever even one reasoned thought, if ever a political or scholarly or msm penned or plausible link, but there is not.

        There is a difference between discussion and intentional harassment.

        On the topic, Scooter said twice at least in the last week that with WEDC, he was leaving that up to what the legislature was going to do. Vague and non-specific in the sociopath deadpan mono-tone of disinterest, somebody else’s problem, he was only the board chair.

    • Ed Heinzelman says:

      Lighten up.

  5. Duane12 says:

    Isn’t it a crime when the Captain is the first to abandon ship! The SS WEDC has been low in the water since it”s launching with a motley crew of incompetents led by a coward.

  6. Ed Heinzelman says:

    just for a little follow up, check this article from the Huffington Post:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-bottari/privatization-fail-scott_b_7339010.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

  7. Thommy says:

    WEDC Is still in play to merge with WEDA –

  8. MAL says:

    Attorney General Schimel (R) would abort any type of meaningful investigation, hence Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is the proper venue to launch an objective investigation.

    Ozanne announced on May 23 that he would read the audits, and make a determination if an investigation is warranted [see http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/dane-county-district-attorney-reviewing-state-audit-of-wedc/article_82e3f24a-a8ea-5078-b6a4-ecc71118b986.html ].

    This news was met with howls by Walker’s office. Why would simply reading audits to determine if known facts meet the threshold to launch an investigation cause Walker so much consternation?

    You answered the question well. Walker knows the WEDC scheme is up.

  9. KayCee says:

    One “felled” swoop.

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