Thursday, March 3, 2016

WEDC, WMC show once and for all they aren't about helping our economy

We knew that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was a Scott Walker/ALEC creation that really serves as a taxpayer-paid slush fund for GOP donors. We also knew that Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) is nothing more than a right-wing front group for mediocre corporate businessMEN that doesn't have the state's best interests in mind.

But we didn't know until yesterday that these two worked together, with their selfishness and negligence resulting in the loss of one of Madison's largest employers and corporate headquarters. That bombshell exploded yesterday with this article from the Wisconsin State Journal's Matt DeFour, which showed that any efforts to save the Oscar Mayer plant in Madison ended after WEDC officials talked to the oligarchs at WMC.
Emails WEDC released to the Wisconsin State Journal under the state's open record law show that WMC, the state's largest business lobby, alerted WEDC in June that other states were looking to lure Kraft Heinz facilities out of Wisconsin. The email related specifically to concerns about Kraft Heinz's cheese processing facility in Beaver Dam and does not make any mention of Oscar Mayer closing.

But the emails also show that WEDC decided not to contact Kraft Heinz after a discussion with a WMC official.

WEDC officials discussed meeting with Kraft Heinz officials face-to-face "asap," he records show, but instead decided to get more information from WMC senior Vice President Jim Morgan.

"I met with Jim Morgan yesterday for more (perspective)," Wayne Goodsell, a WEDC business attraction account manager, wrote to then-WEDC CEO Reed Hall on June 30. "He provided good background information, but he doesn't see a need for us to engage with Kraft Heinz at this time, it was more of an FYI."
In addition to it being alarming that WMC has that kind of pull over WEDC (whose "independence and flexibility" was supposed to be its most helpful attribute, according to Walker and company), but there's a more important question that lingers throughout this story.

What extra information did Jim Morgan give, and what were the real reasons why WEDC, WMC, and the Walker Admonistration didn't even give an offer to keep the jobs in Madison? Is there a WMC-associated company that has its eyes on the Oscar Mayer plant, and knows it would be much easier to get that land if the plant closed? Or did they find out that Kraft Heinz wasn't willing to play ball with the GOP money-laundering machines that WEDC and WMC really are?

In this case, I'm trusting the blink test, and going with one or both of these options, which tells you how "economic development" is REALLY strategized in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan. Which is why you should boycott and run away from any business that backs WMC, and not trust anything that comes out of the offices of WEDC. These groups don't care at all about improving Wisconsin's economic competitiveness or creating more and better jobs. They only care about lining their own pockets, and the pockets of the politicians they pay off, often at the expense of everyone else outside of that inner circle.

UPDATE- Apparently I wasnt the only one thinking this. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin ripped WMC in a press conference today, and openly questioned the motives.behind WEDC's and WMC's decision-making
I think [WEDC] knew how important WMC was to the governor and the core mission of the Republican Party," Soglin said. "If WMC says don't go down this path, they weren't going to go down that path. That's a horrible thing, because it compromised the people of the state of Wisconsin. (WEDC) failed to do their mission on our behalf."


  1. Did WEDC actually ever have a mission on the behalf of the citizens of Wisconsin?

    Does governor Walker actually work on the behalf of the citizens of Wisconsin?

    Do the GOP members of the State Legislature actually work on the behalf of the citizens of Wisconsin?

    Have these elected representatives actually grown Wisconsins economy?

    I believe that these are the questions that people need to consider this election season.

  2. My first reaction to this was that it pales in comparison to the 9,000 other examples of blatant corruption or incompetence at WEDC... But these are some weird questions. Will be very interested to see what happens to (and who purchases/redevelops) the Oscar Mayer facility.
    Another thought on why WMC might want to torpedo Oscar Mayer -- wasn't Oscar Mayer one of the largest remaining union shops in the state? Could it be either further spiting labor and/or that Kraft-Heinz was too labor-friendly for WMC??

    1. The union part is certainly another possibility, although the corporate raiders that had taken over Kraft Heinz didnt care too much for unions themselves.

      I agree that this isnt the most blatant example of how the WEDC slush fund operates, but WMC's involvement in the decision-making process adds another layer to.the crookedness and cronyism. And let's note that AG Brad Schimel still hasnt opened up any Wisconsin DOJ investigation of WEDC.

    2. Yes. I grew up in Madison. Oscar Mayer always had the strongest union here. It was key to people being elected. They also helped out charities. But I am not surprised that Walker's cronies at WMC and WEDC turned a blind eye to Oscar Mayer leaving. It's sad too. Hundreds will lose their jobs. Walker claims he wants to create jobs, but that's obviously not his goal if he's letting Oscar Mayer leave. He wants companies that he can control and that will donate to his campaign. And it's ironic that they're moving to Iowa. Walker spent a lot of time there during his failed presidential run. He even went to the Iowa-Iowa State game instead of the first Badger game. And then the Iowa Development group offers millions to Oscar Mayer while WEDC offers nothing.

      I met someone who works at Oscar Mayer. He has no idea what he's going to do after they close. He could move to Iowa, but doesn't want to.

  3. It's peculiar for WEDC's Wade Goodsell to admit that they would be swayed by WMC. But then, Jim Morgan used to be one of Goodsell's bosses when he was working at WMC managing their Membership & Government Relations operations (, where his job was new membership recruitment, membership engagement and
    donor development/fundraising for our WMC Issues Mobilization Council and WMC Conduit. Their IMC produces "issues advocacy" media to influence elections, while the 527 Conduit funnels member money to fund the campaigns of their choosing. Goodsell at WEDC is in charge of attracting new business, as well as overseeing their Certified Site Program, which matches up businesses to their commercial business development sites(

    Jim Morgan is president of the WMC Foundation and heads their recent Future Wisconsin initiative program, so I'm sure he is right in the middle of politics there, someone who knows Dan Ariens very well.

    1. Now THAT is great work! Not surprising that these guys all worked for each other, and that Morgan was part of the lue machine at WMC "Issues Mobilization."

      Oh, and today we find out that Justice Bradley (Foundation) thought it was more important to skip out on listening to arguments to hang out with WMC, (mo)Ron Johnson, and Scott Walker at Monona Terrace.

      If THAT doesn't tell you who these slimeballs really work for..