April 23, 2014

Walker signs WEDC conflict of interest bill

Governor Scott Walker signs a bill to deal with potential conflicts of interest within the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Republican Senator Rob Cowles of Allouez says until now state law didn’t prevent employees or board members from negotiating deals that they could benefit from. “Not that anything had happened so far, but it could happen. So in other words, let’s say there was a board member that had a family member or had a financial investment in some company and then WEDC went ahead and put money in that same company. Well, that would be a conflict of interest.”

Cowles says the state needs to make sure that the agency is using its money as efficiently as possible — to create new jobs.

It was one of the measures brought up by lawmakers after a scathing audit earlier this year. The audit showed that the economic corporation did not adequately keep track of loans it made to businesses for creating jobs.

Governor Walker signed the bill prior to a WEDC board meeting in Ashwaubenon at a meeting of the corporation’s board, which he chairs. Walker says the new law will provide clear directions to those involved with the corporation and it adds accountability and transparency.