According to Michael Isikoff and Yahoo News, the richest man in Wisconsin broke campaign finance laws to the tune of $1.5 million dollars when he gave 5 checks to Scott Walker via Eric O’Keefe’s money laundering non-profit Wisconsin Club for Growth.
John Menard’s company subsequently received “up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs, according to state records”, wrote Isikoff.
I believe he is referring to WEDC, the source from whence so many millions in kickbacks and corporate welfare flow.
Isikoff forgets to note that John Menard is currently an Executive Vice President & Treasurer on the board of vile top Wisconsin lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
Read Isikoff’s article at Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe
Open for Business means Open For Menards Dumping
Isikoff also notes that Menard has gotten less grief from the Department of Natural Resources of the Walker administration.
Hmm. Why would John Menard desire THAT?
The information below is from a lengthy 2007 article by Mary Van De Kamp Nohl, “How home improvement store founder John Menard became the richest man in Wisconsin – and what he sacrificed to do it.”
Arsenic and Old Waste
John Menard’s many environmental violations.
John Menard and his company have had more run-ins with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) than any other Wisconsin company, state justice department lawyers wrote in a complaint against Menard in 2005. DNR officials have cited Menards at least 13 times since 1976 for ignoring or violating state regulations related to air and water pollution and hazardous waste.
The company has had environmental problems in other states, too.
• In 1994, Wisconsin obtained a civil judgment against Menards for the unlicensed transportation and disposal of ash produced by incinerating CCA-treated lumber. Wood treated with CCA contains chromium, copper and arsenic – a known carcinogen. It is considered hazardous waste and requires proper disposal in a licensed landfill. The company was fined $160,000.
• In 1997, John Menard was caught using his own pickup truck to haul plastic bags filled with chromium and arsenic-laden wood ash to his own home for disposal along with his household trash. Menard pleaded no contest to felony and misdemeanor charges involving records violations, unlawful transportation and improper disposal of hazardous waste. Menard and his company were fined $1.7 million for 21 violations.
• In 2003, the Minnesota attorney general charged that Menards manufactured and sold arsenic-tainted mulch in packaging labeled “ideal for playgrounds and for animal bedding.” Warning labels from the CCA-treated wood were found in the mulch. The EPA recommends that CCA-treated wood not be converted into mulch. The case is still pending.
• In 2005, Menards agreed to a $2 million fine after Wisconsin DNR officials found a floor drain in a company shop that they believed was used to dump paint, solvents, oil and other waste into a lagoon that fed into a tributary of the Chippewa River. The sanction broke the previous record fine of $1.7 million set by Menard in 1997.
• In 2006, the construction of a $112 million warehouse became a campaign issue in the Wisconsin governor’s race. The warehouse was to be erected by filling in a .6-acre bean field the DNR considers a seasonal wetland used by migrating tundra swans. Menards offered to build a wetland more than twice its size as a replacement, but was rejected by Scott Humrickhouse, a DNR regional director. Humrickhouse said that solution could be used “only when every alternative for saving the original wetland was exhausted.” The increasingly heated dispute got considerable media coverage, with a DNR warden calling Menard’s general counsel a “legal bitch” and the company threatening to move jobs out of Wisconsin. Tempers seemed to cool after Gov. Jim Doyle arranged $4.2 million in state aide to help the company expand its Eau Claire manufacturing headquarters. Menard had previously contributed $20,000 to Doyle’s campaign.
Also in 2006: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an administrative order against Menards for damaging a Sioux Falls, S.D., stream that ran through its property by filling in 1,350 linear feet of the stream and replacing it with a 66-inch storm sewer pipe.