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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Issue of the Week: Scott Walker’s Campaign Donations Raise Questions

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Republican Gov. Scott Walker is known as a formidable campaign fundraiser. But a recent report by the watchdog group One Wisconsin Now (OWN) is raising questions about who, exactly, is donating to Walker, and why.

OWN analyzed Walker’s most recent campaign finance reports and found that Walker raised $167,000 from folks associated with companies that received taxpayer funds from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp (WEDC), Walker’s public-private version of the former Commerce Department.

An earlier OWN report found that Walker and Republican Governors Association donors received an eye-popping $570 million in WEDC funds, or almost 60% of the $975 million the agency handed out.

The problem is that it appears that Walker is doling out economic development funds in return for campaign dollars. WEDC has underperformed since Walker created it and set himself up as chairman, and it was the recipient of a scathing state audit that targeted its performance and accounting practices.

Walker has tried to make job creation his #1 priority and argued that he needed to create WEDC to do it. Now we’re wondering if he backed WEDC because he wanted to do some economic development for his own campaign.