Democratic legislators are once again calling for an investigation of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
That’s in the wake of the agency’s release of an internal review, reporting that 27 awards of more than $124 million dollars were made with no formal staff review over a two year period, 2011-2013.
“We believe that the Department of Justice should come in, because they have the ability to probe more deeply into whether or not criminal activity went on, and why loans were made under fraudulent circumstances,” said Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha).
Barca and Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), both of whom serve on the WEDC board of directors, initially called for a federal investigation in May.
Barca said the outcome of that request may not be immediately known. “I don’t think we’ll know whether or not an investigation is underway, unless charges are brought forward,” he said.
“It’s concerning that Gov. Walker and Republican legislative leaders remain silent as this scandal continues to worsen,” said Sentor Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse).
“If crimes have been committed, taxpayers deserve to know,” said Shilling. “I appreciate the efforts of Rep. Barca and Sen. Lassa to uncover the truth and press for action.”
Another Senate Democrat suggested going even further, by shutting down the state’s economic development agency.
“WEDC has been an unmitigated disaster from the start. It has been one scandal after another, squandered millions of dollars and failed to produce any significant numbers of jobs,” said Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) “There is no way to justify its existence any longer. It is time to end WEDC. It is beyond repair and the taxpayers deserve better.”