Weekly Update August 2nd, 2015

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It's Time For The Dept. of Justice To Investigate WEDC

by Nancy Moews

This past spring I attended separate listening sessions held by Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and Assemblyman Ken Skronski (R-Franklin). Both were asked if they intended to investigate the flagrant waste of taxpayers’ money by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC). They expressed concern and promised to pursue WEDC’s problems. Talk is cheap. This agency, created by Governor Scott Walker in 2012, has been under fire for failing to follow state or federal laws, and its own policies in the handling of loans to businesses promising to generate jobs. The MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL’s investigative reporting has and continues to inform its readers of WEDC’s giving unvetted, unreviewed, and uncollectable loans of $8.6 million as of 7/23. (Companies and amounts are listed: MJS, 6/7/15, p 20A, and 7/23, p. 6A). No wonder Rep David Craig (R-Big Bend) and Rep Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) want to do away with the 50 year old Legislative Audit Bureau (non-partisan watchdog that audits state agency books). Reps. Craig and Jachow want to disband the Joint Audit Committee and give the auditing powers to committee chairs in the State Assembly and state Senate who may or may not choose to investigate fiscal wrong doing. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and state Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) could then appoint an inspector general in each large state agency for a six year term. What is to prevent partisan appointees from over looking further unvetted loans? 
Currently WEDC’s questionable lending practices can’t be pursued by WI Dept. of Justice attorneys so taxpayers are on the hook for the bad loans and private attorneys’ fees to seek repayment from businessmen and their companies that lacked the ability to pay back loans received. What to do? Hold Governor Scott Walker accountable---the facts should require him to give taxpayers honest answers, perhaps at the up coming FOX Debates. Also, it is time the U.S. Dept. of Justice assign forensic accountants to investigate WEDC and all who have participated in this debacle. 
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1973 - Meet Donald Trump


Some Americans are just getting to know Donald Trump. Readers of The Times have known him for 42 years.

They first met him, on the front page no less, on Oct. 16, 1973. Then 27 years old, Mr. Trump was the president of the Trump Management Corporation, at 600 Avenue Z in Brooklyn, which owned more than 14,000 apartments in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City,” the headline stated. The Department of Justice had brought suit in federal court in Brooklyn against Mr. Trump and his father, Fred C. Trump, charging them with violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 in the operation of 39 buildings.

“The government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals ‘because of race and color,’ ” The Times reported. “It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.”

Read more at New York Times.
Journalists Attend Private Koch Brothers Gathering, But Agree Not To Name Donors
Aren't they a big part of the story?
By Michael Calderone

 Several news organizations gained rare access Saturday into a private gathering of influential Republican donors hosted by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization backed by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.

But journalists covering the three-day event, held at a luxurious California resort, had to agree to an unusual restriction. They weren’t allowed to report the names of any of the 450 donors attending without the individual’s permission.

The Washington Post’s Matea Gold disclosed in a Saturday night piece that her paper was “one of nine news organizations allowed in to cover the traditionally private confab, on the condition that the donors present not be named without their permission.” Politico’s Ken Vogel also noted the ground rules in his story published around the same time.

The New York Times, which ran a front-page story Friday on the Koch brothers, and closely covers money and politics, notably did not attend the weekend gathering. Times executive editor Dean Baquet declined to comment. 

The Koch brothers, and affiliated groups, are expected to spend $889 million on the 2016 race. So the weekend gathering is a key stop for big-time Republican donors and presidential aspirants.

Read more at Huffington Post.

We'd like to thank all the community members that attended the Bernie Sanders Meet-Up at the Greenfield Library.  As the other Presidential hopefuls begin to host similar events in the area, we will keep you posted so you can help out the candidate of your choice.
Walker Obstructed Probe of Missing Veterans Funds?
By Dee J. Hall

The Milwaukee County executive’s office under Scott Walker “obstructed” a criminal investigation into missing donations to a veterans fund, two investigators alleged Friday in a federal court brief that includes recently unsealed investigative records.

The documents provide new information about the extent of the now-closed John Doe criminal investigation into the activities of Walker and his staff before he was elected governor in 2010. The filing came in response to a lawsuit filed by one of the Republican governor’s former top aides, Cindy Archer, who claims she and others have been targeted by Democratic Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm because of their work on behalf of Walker.

The filing in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee revealed that Archer and Walker’s then-campaign treasurer, John Hillerwere under criminal investigation five years ago for their actions involving the proposed lease of office space by Milwaukee County that would have benefited real-estate clients of Hiller’s who had made donations to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.

Read more at Urban Milwaukee.

Defunding Planned Parenthood Would Increase Abortions
By Ruth Marcus

I have to admit that my first reaction to the Planned Parenthood videos was to cringe and try to avoid the topic.

Even for those who support abortion rights, there is a stomach-churning aspect to the surreptitiously taped conversations with Planned Parenthood officials -- the coldblooded discussion, between bites of salad and sips of red wine, of "less crunchy" techniques to obtain specimens, and the precise placement of "graspers" to avoid having to "crush" a valuable body part.

If you hear this and fail to squirm, there is something wrong with you.

That response is, of course, what the anti-abortion activists who posed as purchasers and prodded the officials into discussions of payment were counting on. The ensuing uproar, which is taking the congressional form of a clamor to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding, was predictable.

It is also not rational -- whatever your position in the abortion debate.

If you are among those who view abortion tantamount to murder, I respect your belief. But consider: Defunding Planned Parenthood would inevitably result in more unplanned pregnancies and therefore more abortions, not fewer. In fact, if you really want to reduce the number of abortions, you should be lobbying to increase funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide birth control.

Real more at Real Clear Politics.

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