Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) refused to say Thursday whether he would support a criminal investigation into a $500,000 loan by the state to a campaign contributor in 2010.
A recent report by The Wisconsin State Journal found that Walker aides pushed for the state’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) to give a loan to William Minahan, the owner of the Building Committee Inc. in 2011, about a year after Minahan made a $10,000 donation to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign just before the election.
Critics and especially Democrats have used the report to bludgeon Walker and claim that the WEDC, which Walker created, is rife with mismanagement and corruption. Democrats have called for a federal investigation into the loan but Walker on Thursday just said the WEDC board would discuss the BCI loan “…at full length…” during its next meeting on July 21.
Walker, on Thursday according to the State Journal, instead defended Mike Huebsch, who was then the administration secretary that pushed the loan for Minahan’s company. Walker said Huebsch “…brought information about economic development possibilities…” to the WEDC and that the loan went through the BCI loan went through the proper process as other infusions. The State Journal noted that it was unable to find the financial review that justified the loan.
As TPM noted, Walker has been getting strong criticism for the WEDC which Walker created as a key pillar of his job creation plan. But the organization has repeatedly be the subject of damning reports about mismanagement and possible corruption.
After attempting to merge the WEDC with another state agency, Walker, earlier in May, changed the primary role of the WEDC from offering loans to spur job creation to offering tax incentives and ensuring businesses are taking advantage of WEDC support.