Oh amazement and horror.
Check out what’s happening to WEDC, Walker’s “innovative” public-private replacement for the Department of Commerce:
State Loses Track of $69 Million
“Somehow, when the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was created last year, no one was put in charge of keeping track of the loans that were issued by its predecessor agency, the Commerce Department, said WEDC’s second-in-command Ryan Murray.”
That’s a fresh article from a Gannett newspaper, no less.
This is from 2 days ago in the Badger Herald
WEDC loses track of $8 million
At his rate, give it two more days and we’ll be alerted to bodies discovered under the Capitol’s front steps.
Once upon a time I was not so glib. I truly blew an emotional gasket over every little crime against humanity the Walker administration pulled. Those days are over. My reserves are as tapped out as a WEDC checkbook.
In an effort to revive the good old rage, I dug around the annals of the web to remind myself what it was that had us all so certain that WEDC was destined to fail.
I’ll do a list.
1. WEDC is cloaked in deregulatory bureaucro-speak
Have a go at this sentence lifted straight outta WEDC’s 1st annual report:
The increased flexibility and elimination of specific program mandates improves the ability to have consistent metrics and evaluation protocols for all WEDC initiatives.
2. Brian Deschane. Remember him? Mid-20’s son of big donor to Walker whose biggest claims to fame were two drunk driving convictions and yet he got a 25% raise to oversee “environmental and regulatory matters” at the Department of Commerce” in April 2011. The public shaming over that was fierce. Wonkette published “SCOTT WALKER PAYS $81.5K GOV’T SALARY TO DRUNK-DRIVING LOSER SON OF CRONY” under the heading “KOCH SUCK AND A REACHAROUND”. (Jiminies!) A couple of days later, “loser son” was given his old job back.
3. Walker shifted all the regulatory functions of biz entrenched in the old Dept of Commerce to — Department of Regulation and Licensing.
Oddly enough, that’s where Brian Deschane got his old job back as Bureau director of board services. That was June 30, 2011. To confuse matters a bit, the merged lump of departments then got called
“Department of Safety and Professional Services”. It’s like they say: if you can’t bring Muhammad to that unregulated biz-friendly mountain, you bring that messy ole mountain to him.
4. The Money for Nothing
Giles Goat Boy wrote a piece back in November 2011 about Spectrum Brands in Madison getting $4 million to stay in Wisconsin. The thing is that the company had relocated to WI from Atlanta, GA just the year before and had zero plans of relocating elsewhere.
Remember how WEDC told Skyward that it could have some sweet, sweet public money at taxpayer expense assuming that is that it won a bid to provide a a statewide information system for school districts? That came out because Paul Jadin wrote a letter to Skyward CEO, Cliff King and somebody noticed he was greasing the skids especially for one company in a “competitive” bid process: “Governor Walker and I are firmly committed to doing everything possible to expedite the processing and awarding of this incentive package”.
I hear that Jadin is a real nice guy. In fact I met some lefties at a film screening who were on a cozy and first name basis with “Paul”. So I’m not sure if Jadin was mistakenly lending some transparency to the organization or deliberately doing so. Either way, that was a bid-rigging cat out of the bag.
6. WEDC Used Federal Money
Clearly WEDC forgot that taking HUD money might bring on the wrath of some non-crony types from DC? I first learned that HUD was sending scolding letters to WEDC on Aug. 12 from Dee J. Hall. It turns out that a legislative board that is supposed to provide some oversight to WEDC learned about that HUD letter the same way. We all learned that the worst of WEDC’s many sins against HUD probably broke a law or something: WEDC dispensed federal monies without becoming an “instrumentality of the state”. After trying to reason with WEDC, HUD cancelled the CDBG block grant program for Wisconsin. I take it from the Badger Democracy blog that that happened back in February of 2012. In this piece at B.Democracy, you can see links between key individuals in the John Doe A.K.A. Walkergate trials and administration of HUD monies at the county level.
What a pleasant thing to still have a smidge of oversight here in the Western Territories from our federal government. Thanks!
7. Inherent Flaws in Public-Private Partnerships
I know it’s hard to believe anything can go wrong when a pipeline is made from public dollars to private corporations but… Yeah. If you really have zero clue what could be at issue here, just trot on over to this piece by Weeks of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. (Can you believe it? This progressive is unashamedly directing you to think about “competitiveness” and fans thereof?)
But this ain’t Homeland or FEMA. It’s our god damn state.
Oh! There it is. A twinge of the ole rage. Mission accomplished.
FYI – I referred to this nifty post to get started: JULY 21, 2012
WEDC- Unaccountable Fitzwalkerstani cronyism that is loaded with fail
Funny and/or Sinister Little Footnotes:
If you look at the contact list for Brian Deschane’s workplace, Dept. of Safety and Professional Services, you’ll see that there are no names and instead only generic emails. “E-mail requests will be routed to the appropriate Division” Why would that be?
Spectrum Brands must have some serious cronyist mojo going on.
They got even MORE public money for their corporation. This pile came from a TIF bill created for it to move to Middleton. I was present in the Assembly gallery when this bill was brought up. At that time legislators rose to object saying this was the first time in Wisconsin history that a bill of this nature had come to the legislature’s floor and it was going to set a bad precedent – probably prompting more municipalities to supercede local government and limits set by existing TIFS to turn to the state legislature for similar custom gimme laws. Dems Kelda Helen Roys, Fred Risser, Jon Erpenbach and Mark Miller helped out on that. More on this is over at Who really benefits from special TIF deal for Middleton?