Things got so bad that the Republicans had to fire the chairman of the board, Walker himself. But even then, the bad news kept coming when an audit showed just how sloppy the oversight was and how many bad loans went to Walker's campaign donors.
To deal with that round of bad news, the Republicans did not make moves to correct the problems with WEDC. Instead, they proposed with doing away with the audit bureau. That would be like being diagnosed with high blood pressure and instead of quitting smoking or eating healthier, just shooting the doctor.
Now, two Republican Wisconsin state legislators, Senator Rick Gudex and Representative Rob Hutton, have come up with an equally inane idea - taking WEDC and handing it completely over to the private sector:
Gudex and Hutton introduced a bill that would remove all four legislators from the board and replace them with people from the private sector. In a memo seeking co-sponsors the two lawmakers wrote that representatives from the private sector can provide better firsthand experience in economic development initiatives. They said the Legislature would retain oversight of the agency through its economic development committees and biennial state audits.Keep in mind that the people that are making the everyday decisions and make these bad loans and giveaways are from the private sector.
"We believe this change will bring additionally needed expertise to the board, while at the same time fostering more open discussion and engagement," they wrote.
A Barca spokeswoman had no immediate comment. Lassa issued a statement blasting Gudex and Hutton, saying their plan to improve WEDC is to remove the only board members accountable to the public.
"This is just one more attempt by the Republicans to draw a veil of secrecy over state government," Lassa said. "First Gov. Walker tries to wash his hands of WEDC, and now Sen. Gudex and Rep. Hutton want to walk away, too. But neither the governor nor majority party legislators can absolve themselves of WEDC's problems by looking the other way."
Between the proposal to hand over WEDC completely to the private sector and to "reform" the audit bureau, not only do the Republicans want to hand the hen house completely over to the foxes, they want to put euthanize the guard dog.