Walker signs bill affecting WEDC contracts

Walker signs bill affecting contracts negotiated by economic development agency
Walker signs bill affecting WEDC contracts

Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a bill that bans Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. employees and board members from negotiating contracts that might benefit them.

Walker signed the bill Tuesday during a WEDC board meeting in Green Bay.

The new law prohibits WEDC board members and employees with a monetary interest in a contract from participating in the deals or exercising any discretion on it.

Walker says the law provides clear direction and adds increased transparency and accountability.

“Instead of having wiggle room we have a clear policy for each of those steps for potential conflicts,” said Gov. Scott Walker.

“I would have preferred it to be a little more explicit and stronger than what we actually passed,” said Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha.

The governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature created WEDC in 2011 to help the governor meet his campaign promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs. But the agency is reeling after an audit revealed it hasn’t followed state law, adequately tracked loans and sometimes gave money to companies that didn’t qualify.