Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hiding the employment of donors = hiding corruptipon

There are a number of measures making their way through the Wisconsin GOP-controlled State Legislature intended to give advantages to big-money donors by increasing campaign contribution limits, legalizing dark money coordination, concealing information from the public. Among these items include a massive amendment that was tacked on to a campaign finance deformity yesterday by Assembly Speaker Robbin’ Vos that seeks to protect corporations and their CEOs from public accountability.
An Assembly committee signed off on an overhaul of Wisconsin's campaign finance laws after amending the bill to no longer require donors to disclose their employers.

The bill cleared the Assembly Campaign and Elections Committee along party lines 6-3 as Dems complained the bill would open the door to more corruption in Wisconsin.

But Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-West Allis, questioned the relevance of "dragging an employer into an employee's personal activity."

"I think it's irrelevant, and I don't know what purpose it serves," he said.
I dunno Joey. Why would we care about that?

Here’s why. Take a gander onto the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s website, and look under donations of Sargento Cheese employees, especially CEO Louis Gentine and family. Over $200,000 in donations, and almost all to Republicans, including multiple maximum donations to Governor Scott Walker, and big money to Attorney General Brad Schimel and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, among many others.

Oh, and look what was in the news on Thursday. Sargento claiming they will expand operations and add jobs at one of their cheese plants in Wisconsin. And if you’re familiar with the way things have worked in Wisconsin for the last 4 years, I think you can guess what connection is coming. Yup, here it is, from July.
Sargento Foods Inc. was authorized up to $735,000 in tax credits by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) Thursday.

The tax credits were authorized for expansion projects at two of Sargento’s facilities in Kiel and Elkhart Lake. Sargento is investing $30 million for the expansions that are expected to create 140 jobs.
So the donors get a huge tax write-off, the Walker Admin and WisGOP get a nice headline, and the excess profits come back in the form of future donations. Nice racket, if you can pull it off.

And that, Rep. Sanfelippo, is exactly why the people have a right to know the employer of donors to political candidates, becasue it draws the line between who gets funded with taxpayer dollars, and their donations to the public officials that make those decisions. Just like how GOP donor Ron Van Den Heuvel got over $1 million loaned to him from WEDC in 2011, despite running a company with no record, and allegedly using that money to buy Packer luxury box tickets, fly to Vegas, and pay off alimony. You think Mr. Van Den Heuvel’s record of giving didn’t have an effect on whether WEDC would award him that taxpayer-backed loan?

But a crook like you knows this as well as anyone, doncha Joey? Which is exactly why you and Boss Vos don’t want employer information on the books, because it draws attention to what these CEOs and other members of the Fitzwalkerstani inner circle are doing, and how these rent-seekers REALLY make their decisions.

Just like with their attempt this Summer to gut the state's Open Records Law, just like with their stonewalling of the John Doe investigations, and like with their in-secret land sales, WisGOP believes the taxpayers have no right to know what’s being done. This is despite the fact that we fund their salaries and pay for their handouts to campaign contributors. Nice attitude, isn’t it?

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