Billionaire makes $1.5 million dark money contribution to help Scott Walker, receives $1.8 million from Walker’s WEDC

According to this report by Yahoo! Politics Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff, Wisconsin billionaire John Menard Jr. gave $1.5 million to right-wing groups that kept his contribution a secret, only for Menard’s company to end up receiving $1.8 million in tax credits from WEDC, the job creation agency of which Gov. Scott Walker is the chairman.

John Menard Jr. is widely known as the richest man in Wisconsin. A tough-minded, staunchly conservative 75-year-old billionaire, he owns a highly profitable chain of hardware stores throughout the Midwest. He’s also famously publicity-shy — rarely speaking in public or giving interviews.

So a little more than three years ago, when Menard wanted to back Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — and help advance his pro-business agenda — he found the perfect way to do so without attracting any attention: He wrote more than $1.5 million in checks to a pro-Walker political advocacy group that pledged to keep its donors secret, three sources directly familiar with the transactions told Yahoo News.

Menard’s previously unreported six-figure contributions to the Wisconsin Club for Growth — a group that spent heavily to defend Walker during a bitter 2012 recall election — seem to have paid off for the businessman and his company. In the past two years, Menard’s company has been awarded up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs, according to state records.

And in his five years in office, Walker’s appointees have sharply scaled back enforcement actions by the state Department of Natural Resources — a top Menard priority. The agency had repeatedly clashed with Menard and his company under previous governors over citations for violating state environmental laws and had levied a $1.7 million fine against Menard personally, as well as his company, for illegally dumping hazardous wastes.


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4 thoughts on “Billionaire makes $1.5 million dark money contribution to help Scott Walker, receives $1.8 million from Walker’s WEDC

  1. Dark money, millions of dollars were spent by 527’s to defeat Scott what is that? Bright money. Stupid comments. Your buddy Feingold set up this system.

    1. Hey, con guy, you:

      1. Provide no sources.
      2. Attempt to change topic.
      3. Are ignorant of Isikoff’s reputation as an investigative reporter who plays no favorites, Dem or GOP.
      4. Evidently do not know what “quid pro quo” means; it’s Latin for a bribe or payoff or illegality.
      5. Are a liar; Feingold is no one’s “buddy;” he pissed off both sides of the aisle as a Senator.
      5. You have a bad digestive disorder.

  2. I had some Republican friends saying the Indian tribe offer to pay for the new Bucks arena in exchange for approval of the Kenosha casino was “a bribe”, but it’s funny that’s they’re totally OK with this sort of arrangement.

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