Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Donate to WisGOP, get the Gov to show up to your expansion

I saw a timid jobs expansion story crawl across the ticker today, but it piqued my interest. It related to a Waukesha-based business called Spancrete, and they were announcing the planned (i.e., hasn't happened yet) addition of 30 jobs and the callback of employees they had previously laid off. Particularly when Spancrete's CEO made comments about the job market improving, it made my BS detector fire, and I decided to do some digging.

So I dialed up the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's campaign finance database, and put in Spancrete's name. What followed was 260 donations over the last 20 years, with the numbers increasing in recent times, with plenty of mentions of the Nagy family of Hartland, and CEO Alan Antoniewicz, who is quoted in the job expansion article.

In all, Spancrete has given over $93,000 over the years, all to Republicans, including over $35,000 in 2010 and 2011. Nearly $10,000 of those dollars went to Walker in that time period, and $22,000 on Sept. 7, 2010 to Brett Davis, who was running for Lieutenant Governor at the time and currently has a spot in Walker's DHS.

The Davis connection is notable, because the complaint against accused Walkergate criminal Kelly Rindfleisch indicates that Rindfleisch's main job was to help run the campaign of....Brett Davis. And a huge bundling of campaign dollars on the same day doesn't happen without coincidence. So no wonder Walker came sprinting to Spancrete to try to spin some sort of "jobs are coming back" meme- there's been a lot of kickbacks...ERRR...relationships between the 2 sides.

But Scotty's not a monogamous man on this subject. There's plenty of other Friends of Walker that Scotty has graced with his presence in the last year.

1. Walker showed up at an event last November when generator-maker Generac announced a potential expansion of 400 jobs. It was also nice of him to say hello to Generac founder Robert Kern and his wife Patricia, who gave Walker a cool $200,000 on April 23, and have given $124,000 to Republicans since 1997.

2. Walker appeared in Hudson last June to announce that ULine manufacturing was moving its distribution center and 150 jobs from Minnesota across the St. Croix River. The move came a few years after ULine received millions in TIF tax breaks to move a location across the Illinois line in Pleasant Prairie, and CEO Richard Uihlein showered Walker with his appreciation in the form of $132,000 in the last 2 years, including $100,000 the weekend that recall petitions were filed against Scotty, and $25,000 more in March 2012.

Uihlein has also spread around his wealth to plenty of other Wisconsin Republicans through the years, including thousand to legislative candidates and $10,000 to the dishonest Supreme Court campaign of Michael Gableman. Interestingly, despite his huge interest in WisGOP causes, Uihlein won't be able to vote for Walker on June 5, because he has listed his residence as being in Lake Forest, Illinois the last 5+ years.

3. Also in Western Wisconsin, Polaris announced last month that it was receiving $595,000 in state tax credits in return for promising to add 89 jobs in the next three years at a plant in Osceola. The move was especially interesting as Polaris shut down the Osceola plant and took 500 jobs with it in 2010. 6 weeks prior to those tax credits being handed out, Polaris CEO Scott Wine gave Walker $5,000, and Polaris Production Director and President Davis Payne also chipped in to Walker's campaign in the last few months. Sure seems to be interesting timing, and much like Walker's buddy Richard Uihlein, neither Wine nor Payne can vote for Walker either, as Wine is from Minnesota and Payne is from Texas.

And I'm just scratching the surface here. Three months ago, I was noting WEDC's desperation in giving away tax credits just so they can say Walker's policies added something to our economy. If anything, this trend has gotten more blatant as the recall election nears and Wisconsin stays dead last when it comes to jobs since Walker took over. So just for fun, I recommend taking a look at where Walker shows up for the next jobs announcement or tax credit giveaway, then cross-check it with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's database. I bet you'll be able to find a whole lot of "coincidences" pop up.

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