Wisconsin Wave

Uniting Wisconsinites for democracy and shared prosperity

This is an archived version of the Wisconsin Wave website.

The Decisive Decade: Declaration of the 2020s

CAP TIMES: WMC's economic plan would hurt Wisconsin to help wealthiest

Kurt Bauer, CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, recently outlined WMC’s priorities for 2015-16, including tax cuts and “right-to-work.” WMC has spent millions to elect Gov. Scott Walker and allied politicians in the state Legislature and Supreme Court, and the business group has gotten one item after another on its wish list since 2011.

STEVENS POINT JOURNAL: WI Public Service Commission serves corporate interests, not public

Special interests are driving Wisconsin's energy policy to the detriment of the public.

2014 will be remembered as a landmark year for renewable energy in the United States.

Last year saw the shale revolution; the Tesla Gigafactory; the end of cheap coal; fossil fuel divestment; the rise of community solar; the utility death spiral; renewable energy "fairness"; the value of solar; the Clean Power Plan; the U.S.-China climate agreement and more.

FOND DU LAC REPORTER: Wisconsin business coalition opposes "right-to-work" law

MADISON — A newly formed coalition of more than 300 construction-related private businesses in Wisconsin announced Wednesday that it will work to defeat a right-to-work proposal being discussed by Republican leaders in the Legislature.

Formation of the group comes as talks proceed behind the scenes among Republicans who control the Legislature about the timing of a right-to-work bill and what form it may take.

SUN PRAIRIE STAR: WMC's 2015 priorities include "right-to-work" law, tax cuts for rich

Wisconsin's transformation from an anti-business to a pro-business state has been remarkable, but it is also incomplete. There is more work to be done in order for our state to achieve its full economic potential.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin doesn't control its own economic destiny and wrong-headed federal policies and uncertain global economic and geopolitical conditions are holding us back.

BILL LUEDERS: WMC and other groups dropped big money in 2014 WI elections

Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans rode to victory in the Nov. 4 elections because they got more votes. Period.

Redistricting may have produced fewer competitive districts. But unlike 2012, when the GOP won big despite getting fewer overall votes, this time the party maintained its 5-3 edge in Congress and tightened its control of both legislative houses by dominating turnout.

But money and redistricting did play a huge, perhaps decisive role. How huge? Consider the state’s races for Congress.

BARABOO NEWS REPUBLIC: WI state chamber's main product is misinformation

Well, it’s over. Republicans won their battle to re-elect Gov. Scott Walker and retain their majority in the Legislature. One of the reasons they won is due to the state’s chamber of commerce, the biggest business group in Wisconsin.

BARABOO NEWS REPUBLIC: Schultz's successor is beholden to WMC

Pat Bomhack did not have much of a chance against Howard Marklein for the Dale Schultz senate seat.

In the Oct. 20 candidates’ forum on 92.1 WRJC FM, Bomhack stated again and again that Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce bought $668,000 in TV attack ads against Bomhack. The American Federation for Children, a Wall Street for-profit, school voucher corporation, gave $50,000 worth of support for Howard Marklein. Marklein was silent.

CHIPPEWA HERALD: Environmental violations, ethical issues widespread in frac sand industry

More than half the frac sand companies operating in Wisconsin have violated Department of Natural Resources regulations, manipulated local governments or engaged in “influence peddling and conflicts of interest,” a study by an advocacy group has found.

The Land Stewardship Project, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable agriculture, released this week a 30-page report that compiled and analyzed public data and news reports on Wisconsin’s booming frac sand industry.

STATE JOURNAL: WI Club For Growth's tax-exempt status challenged over political spending

MADISON – A conservative group at the center of a John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign should be prosecuted for violating Internal Revenue Service laws and have its tax-exempt status revoked, according to a complaint filed Monday by the liberal Center for Media and Democracy.

The Wisconsin Club for Growth filed as a tax-exempt 501(c)4 “social welfare” organization in 2011 and 2012, telling the IRS that it spent $0 for political purposes.

PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE: Wisconsin Supreme Court mired in conflict of interest

MADISON, Wis. – The future of the now stalled John Doe probe into alleged campaign finance law violations by Gov. Scott Walker could rest with the state Supreme Court.

But Mike McCabe, executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, says four of the seven justices were elected because of ads run by the very groups under investigation.

CAP TIMES: WMC, Gogebic Taconite used dark money to target anti-mining bill legislators

The financial power and influence of an out-of-state mining company and business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce were used to directly target two Wisconsin lawmakers who stood in the way of the passage of a new state mining bill.

ISTHMUS: WI tech leaders get little help from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

This is a problem.

The state's most powerful business voice has conspicuously little contact with Wisconsin's rising technology industry.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which claims more than 3,500 businesses as members, brags that "the success of the WMC government relations team in projecting and accomplishing a proactive business agenda has been second to none."

THE PROGRESSIVE: Chamber's attack on Walker prosecutor's wife falls apart

The investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is led by a Republican special prosecutor, was unanimously approved by Wisconsin's nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, and includes the participation of elected county District Attorneys from both political parties.

But according to an outlet bankrolled by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the motivation for the "John Doe" probe can be traced back to a "weeping" teacher's union member married to Milwaukee County's District Attorney, John Chisholm.

WKOW: WMC head: Don't ban state subsidies to companies that outsource jobs

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top executive at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) says a proposal being considered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ban financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs should be approached with caution.

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Gogebic Taconite funneled big money into WI politics during mining fight

The recent disclosure that Gogebic Taconite donated $700,000 to a Wisconsin political group is the latest example of how the mining company and its supporters used money, influence and the allure of jobs to persuade lawmakers to relax state environmental regulations.

Gogebic zoomed into Wisconsin politics in 2011. The company had plans for a massive open pit iron ore mine, but it demanded changes in mining laws before starting a multimillion-dollar regulatory review.

EXPRESS MILWAUKEE: The buying of Walker's Wisconsin

Recently unsealed John Doe court documents shed light on what prosecutors call a “criminal scheme” in which Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and allied dark-money groups allegedly coordinated fundraising efforts.

According to prosecutors, Walker himself knew about the scheme and even boasted about it in an email to George W. Bush’s chief strategist Karl Rove, who now runs a super PAC that supports Republican candidates.

ISTHMUS: Don't believe WMC claims about impact of coal regulations

As vice president of government relations for the big business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Scott Manley's fun job is to convince us the new regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency will destroy our economy. Its requirement that coal emissions be cut by 34% by 2030 could be "devastating," he has warned, forcing Wisconsin to "commit an act of unilateral economic disarmament."

CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY: After subpoenas to big-money donors, WI GOP tried to quietly change law

New documents indicate that just weeks after the first subpoenas were issued in Wisconsin's "John Doe" criminal campaign finance probe in October 2013, senate Republicans had begun working to change state law to legalize the activities under investigation.

DAILY CARDINAL: Madison environmental, social justice advocates converge in Earth Day rally

Madison community members and organizers marched down State Street Tuesday evening, Earth Day, to raise awareness of environmental and social justice issues as part of a 10-day Global Climate Convergence.

The march and rally, titled “Protect our Water–Reject the Mines and Pipelines!,” addressed many issues, such as clean water and oil pipelines, facing Wisconsin and the nation. Advocates marched from the Monona Terrace to Library Mall, where several advocates spoke about Wisconsin’s environmental concerns.

WTAQ: WMC takes stand against minimum wage increase

MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Leaders of four Wisconsin business associations spoke out against mandatory minimum wage hikes Wednesday.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, and The Wisconsin Grocers Association held a press conference in Madison explaining their opposition to a mandatory increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

WTAQ: WMC pushes bill to limit compensation for injured workers in Wisconsin

A new bill in the state Legislature would tighten the limits that medical personnel could get for treating worker's compensation patients.

Business and labor groups supported the measure at a recent public hearing, while doctors and hospitals opposed it.  

Under the bill, the threshold would be lowered for treatment costs which are considered abnormally high. In 2015, the state would determine maximum prices that health providers could receive for particular treatments.

AL GEDICKS: WMC, GTac lied to legislators to pass iron mining law

There is nothing to be gained by "tweaking" the iron mining law because the entire legislation is based upon a scientific fraud ("State's new mining law may require tweaking," Our View, Jan. 10).

EXPRESS MILWAUKEE: Second John Doe investigation focused on big money

Very little is known about what’s called the John Doe 2. We know that a special prosecutor, former Republican federal prosecutor Francis Schmitz, is looking into the activities of some political groups during the Wisconsin recalls of 2011 and 2012.

Leaks to sympathetic media outlets indicate that John Doe 2 is focused on conservative groups such as Wisconsin Club for Growth, the Republican Governors Association, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and, perhaps most disturbingly, the Friends of Scott Walker.

STEVEN ROSENFELD: How US Chamber and corporations spy on civil society

Posing as volunteers. Stealing documents. Dumpster diving. Planting electronic bugs. Hacking computers. Tapping phones and voicemail. Planting false information. Trailing family members. Threatening reporters. Hiring cops, CIA officers and combat veterans to do all these dirty deeds—and counting on little pushback from law enforcement, mainstream media or Congress.

JEFF MILCHEN: Holiday shopping goes local, independent

For those suffering from too much quality time with their families, the chain stores are poised to offer an escape by opening Thanksgiving Day. Before your dinner is digested, you can flee the table to vie for pole position at the big box entrance like Roman chariot drivers and prepare to do battle for one of those few really cheap “door-buster” flat-screens.

CAP TIMES: Reports show how Koch Brothers and corporate interests funnel big money into state campaigns

A slew of reports released Wednesday reveal that a network of conservative think tanks, funded by multinational corporations and industrialists — most notably Charles and David Koch — comprise a vast dark-money campaign funding mechanism that funnels cash to conservative candidates, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in last year’s recall election.

CAP TIMES: Wisconsin Supreme Court hears Act 10 case involving their biggest financial backers

If the Wisconsin Supreme Court does not rule in Gov. Scott Walker’s favor by reinstating the entirety of Act 10, the governor’s signature law that restricts public sector collective bargaining, it's likely a small group of very wealthy people will feel ripped off.

The court is considering a ruling by a Dane County Circuit Court judge last year that key parts of the law were unconstitutional.

BELOIT DAILY NEWS: WMC spends $800,000 to sell Walker to public

Why is Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) spending more than $800,000 to sell Wisconsinites that Scott Walker is a good Governor?

Scott Walker has greatly impacted Wisconsin’s human and natural resources. His attacks on women, working families, and public education are unparalleled in the history of Wisconsin. He has funded private education at the expense of public education.

BARABOO NEWS REPUBLIC: WMC ad needs reality check

I'm sure most people have seen the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce ad on TV that makes it look like jobs in Wisconsin are taking off for the stars.

Much of the ad is phony. But when something is wrapped up in shiny bright paper and a ribbon, it makes it hard to refute when talking to our friends and neighbors.

Borrowing heavily from the Reality Check that WISC-TV did on the WMC ad, here is what you need to know.