Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Of No Good Account(ing)

This is a little dated, but Walker's Economy-Destroying Cronies (WEDC) has made the news again, and not in a good way.

An audit shows that the problems with WEDC are many, and each and every one of them is a trademark for Scott Walker's style of "leadership:"
Sloppy accounting practices, poor monitoring of loans and an exodus of employees spelled trouble for the state's beleaguered jobs agency, an independent audit released Monday found.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public organization created by Gov. Scott Walker in July 2011, was meant to be the flagship agency leading his effort to help create 250,000 jobs during his first term. But Wisconsin's job growth has been stunted, and WEDC has been plagued by serious problems, including its failure to track millions in overdue loans and a high turnover of top officials.
The article goes on to say that $19 million of the $51 million in loans this group has made will probably never be recovered.

Four million dollars of the missing taxpayer money won't be recovered due to the businesses having gone out of business. I hope that Walker, Americans for Preposterous and the MacIver Institute for the Criminally Insane tell us again about how "it's working." I keep seeming to forget.

Now, if one could find a Walker apologist that will even admit there is a problem with WEDC, they would say that it's not Walker's fault and that the should be credited with trying something new and bold to help the state.

Of course, like Walker, they would be lying through their teeth.

This sort of private-public partnership (PPP) has been around for decades and has failed each and every time that it was tried:
“Turning economic development over to PPPs is fool’s gold,” says Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy. “What really matters is business basics: strategic public investments in skills, infrastructure and innovation — not privatized smokestack chasing.”

The reported noted that PPPs have been around for more than 20 years but were dropped in several states because they were so problematic. And it cited major issues in states that were still using them.

Those problems included misuse of taxpayer funds (Rhode Island, Florida and Wyoming); excessive executive bonuses (Virginia, Florida, Michigan and Wyoming); conflicts of interest in subsidy awards (Florida, Utah and Texas); questionable claims by the PPP about its effectiveness (Wyoming, Florida, Utah and Indiana); and resistance to accountability (Florida and Michigan).
But the money quote comes earlier in that article:
At this point, nobody is accusing WEDC of any intentional wrongdoing.

Rather, it appears the agency designed by Gov. Scott Walker to replace the old Commerce Department was simply over its head, short-staffed and filled with political appointees with no experience in handling large amounts of public money.
See what I mean about WEDC being so symbolic of Walker's leadership style.

I could write a book listing all of the examples that Walker has put unqualified cronies in positions of power, short-staffed an agency and/or had the earmarks of possible corruption.

Someday, I just may do that.


  1. My favorite bit of the audit was this:

    "Accounting journal entries were unsupported and unapproved, a problem that can lead to intentional improper reporting and potentially used to conceal fraud."

    The question is: Was that a bug or a feature?

    1. That was a "feature", which is why MSM and voters should demand a thorough forensic audit of every transaction associated with WEDC. The firm that audited WEDC only selected a few representative transactions for review. Imagine what we still DON'T know. WEDC is probably rife with illegal transactions and criminal fraud.

    2. Amen, Anonymous! We've heard about HUD's problems with the way WEDC handled their money. But they are handling other federal monies too and everything should be examined (if HUD doesn't recognize WEDC as a agency for federal business, should other parts of the federal government recognize WEDC as their agent?). There's no question that the WEDC experiment has failed and the private/public state agency model should be scrapped.