Monday, December 10, 2012

One Would Think Walker Would Be Better At Pay For Play Schemes By Now

Over the weekend, the news reported yet another pay for play scheme involving Scott Walker. This time it involved Stephen and Nancy Einhorn, the people that acted as the money launderers when the Bradley Foundation wanted to put up racist billboards aimed at causing voter suppression.

Now they're embroiled in an sordid attempt at pay for play:
Conservative Milwaukee financier Stephen Einhorn and his wife, Nancy, donated $25,000 to Gov. Scott Walker a month before Einhorn's firm won a contract to manage $1 million of taxpayer money, potentially triggering federal "pay-to-play" conflict of interest rules.

Einhorn's Capital Midwest and two other companies were chosen by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority from a field of six applicants to invest $7 million of federal money in state businesses, particularly those in low-income communities. After an inquiry by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the two $12,500 contributions from the Einhorns, a WHEDA official said the agency is holding off on releasing the money to Capital Midwest until the firm resolves questions about the federal rule.

"They've got to get this answered before anybody's comfortable making any kind of final release," said John Hogan, WHEDA chief operating officer.

Hogan said WHEDA kept the selection process free from political influence. His comments were echoed by others who sought the money - including those from firms that didn't win. But some of the fund managers also said they had explicit policies in place to prevent political donations from creating a real or perceived conflict of interest.


The Einhorns' contributions to Walker could trigger a rule enacted in 2010 by the SEC, the federal agency that regulates financial firms. That's because Walker effectively appoints the executive director of WHEDA as well as eight of the 12 members of the board of the quasi-governmental authority. The rule could prevent Einhorn from collecting compensation on the $1 million for two years after the contributions were made. U.S. Treasury Department conflict of interest rules might also apply.

The "pay-to-play" rule is the first far-reaching effort by the SEC to limit outside investment managers' ability to steer business their way through campaign contributions. The rule could apply in this case and the matter should be looked at further, said Robert Hockett, a professor of financial law at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

"I can't think off the top of my head of any strong arguments why this (rule) would not be at least applicable here, even if not actually violated," Hockett said.
So, the people that acted as a front group for the racist Bradley Foundation to scare off minority voters gave Walker a ton of money just before being given a very lucrative contract.

It's just like the bad old days when Scott Walker was having Tim Russell direct WHEDA funds to places not allowed by law. That was another fine cost Walker left Milwaukee County taxpayers with.

I have to admit, when I first story, my first reaction was "Meh. What else is old?"

Walker is no stranger to pay for play schemes.

I can think of four different pay for play stunts Walker pulled as county executive, not counting the one mentioned above.

One of Walker's long time campaign donors is the Kujawa family, who own a landscaping company in Milwaukee. The gentle reader might remember them from their connection to Walkergate. Darlene Wink used to work for them and so they were a go to place when Walker needed a place to grandstand or some campaign cash.

In exchange for all the favors done for Walker and all the money donated to him, Walker gave them contracts for taking care of county parks which were being neglected due to his laying off so many parks workers. Walker even went so far as to return the campaigning favor and endorsing Chris Kujawa when he tried to run for a county supervisor seat.

I wonder if Mr. Kujawa is still as fond of Walker after it turned out that Walker's best friend, Tim Russell, stole from him.

Walker did it again with Wackenhut, now known as GS4, also known as Walker's Imperial Guard.

Wackenhut has long been a supporter of Walker's, hence his Truth in Sentencing law and attempts to privatize the state's prison system. They stuck with their lackey when he was county executive.

In exchange, Walker did one of his infamous "fiscal emergency" routines and laid off all of the county's security staff and gave the contract to Wackenhut. The catch came in when it turned out Walker didn't follow the rules when he laid off the county workers and they had to be hired back, even though the county still was contracted to Wackenhut. The end result included Wackenhut guards and county guards standing sentry at the same areas. On top of that, Milwaukee County Sheriff Clarke had to post his deputies to make sure the two sets of guards didn't go after each other. The cost of back pay for the wrongfully laid off workers was $430,000 alone. No one has ever reported the cost of having the same doors triple guarded.

Walker repeated the "fiscal emergency" stunt again the next year when he privatized the last of the housekeeping staff. This time, he gave the contract to campaign donor Edward Aprahamian, owner of MidAmerican Building Services.

For what it's worth, I have recently learned that Aprahamian's company, which has never done a good job, was told that their contract would not be renewed. Current Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, again imitating his predecessor, has put out bids to for a new agency. How much you want to bet it ends up being with one of his cronies?

Perhaps the most egregious example of Walker's pay for play that's come to the surface so far involves the now defunct Air Tran, who had paid for Walker's campaign Harley Davidson ride around the state in 2009 and 2010:
Sometime between March 21st and May 21st, when Air Tran announced their expansion at Mitchell International Airport, it had crossed Walker's desk and he signed off on it.

Now, just weeks after Air Tran's announcement of their benefit from their business with the county, it is also announced that they are picking up the tab for Walker's campaign ride.

That little stunt flies in the face of the Milwaukee County Code of Ethics. In fact, from the Milwaukee Code of General Ordinances, section 9.05(2)(a) strictly forbids an elected official to gain from or accept any financial gain or anything else of substantial value for personal benefit or for the benefit of any family member or organization they may belong to. That would include Walker and his governor's campaign.
Unfortunately, the entire Ethics Board were Walker's political appointees, and thus they never did any serious investigations into the multiple complaints filed against Walker.

The most surprising thing is that with all the times that Walker's done pay for play stunts like those listed above, you'd think he'd be better at hiding his misdeeds. He's not only incompetent as a leader, he's incompetent as a crook.


  1. But why bother to be better at being a crook, when you never end up having to do time for the crime anyhow?

  2. Don't get me started talking about the Kujawa family! Daddy Dearest was on the Cudahy school board. He singlehandly dismantled the gifted and talented program. Because of this stupidity, I will NEVER employ KEI for ANY landscaping or lawn project.