It’s no secret that Gogebic Taconite, the mining company seeking to build an open-pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin,(1) had a major hand in writing our current destructive mining legislation. What’s lesser known is the extent that Gogebic Taconite, its owner Chris Cline, and the Cline Group, as well as various syndicates of those entities, have been filling Governor Walker’s coffers. Leading up to Governor Walker’s 2010 election, Cline and his affiliates gave over $10,000 to the Walker campaign.(2)
And it doesn’t stop there. Recently, information came to light that reveals financial connections between Governor Walker and his much-despised open-pit mining bill.
|“I want to throw up that we have a governor that encourages that sort of pay-to-play mentality. It is Louisiana-sleaze politics in which big money thinks it can spend enough to get the government it wants.”– Bob Jauch|
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in August 2014 that leading up to the recall elections, Governor Walker encouraged conservative outside groups and individuals to donate large amounts of money to Wisconsin Club for Growth which –coincidently – is run by his campaign manager. The iron ore mining company, Gogebic Taconite, the ones who wrote the mining bill that could allow mining companies to expose our families to arsenic, lead, and mercury – donated $700,000 to Wisconsin Club for Growth at the Governor’s request.(3) While the governor denies that this connection constitutes illegal cooperation between the Walker campaign and its donors, others beg to differ. Dean Nickels, who is investigating Governor Walker’s shady dealings, summed it up, stating, “Because Wisconsin Club for Growth’s fundraising and expenditures were being coordinated with Scott Walker’s agents at the time of Gogebic’s donation, there is certainly an appearance of corruption in light of the resulting legislation from which it benefitted.”(4)
The mining company hales from Florida, but with a cool $700,000, they sure seem to have had a vested interest in Wisconsin’s recall elections!
Governor Walker’s colleagues have been expressing their disgust with this level of political cronyism. Senator Schultz stated, “I think it has taken an exceedingly long time for all this stuff to come out. As my dear late mother used to say, ‘Eventually the truth will win out.’ I guess I’m just saddened. I love this state, I have loved its political traditions, and I just don’t think this is us. I really don’t.”(5)
Mary Burke succinctly weighed in saying, “If it isn’t illegal, it should be. That’s not the Wisconsin way.”(6) We couldn’t agree more!
(3) MJS 8/22/2014