Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Current Scott Walker Block Grant Fiasco Not His First

Federal officials are raising legal, fiscal and management questions about how Wisconsin's new cabinet-level Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, (WEDC) - - created in 2011 as a top Scott Walker priority - - awarded millions of dollars in federal Community Development Block Grant funds received from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Gov. Scott Walker is WEDC Board chair and appointed its first Executive Director, Paul Jadin, who recently announced he was leaving the position.

The block grant has its roots in decades-old federal anti-poverty efforts. Its grants must assist low and moderate-income people, and are made, by law, under established rules and procedures that governments and recipients must follow.

The Wisconsin State Journal broke the story, while blogs have piled on - - here and here - - and the entire fiasco raises serious questions about how the agency is being run.

More questions were raised about why the feds' concerns were not disclosed, even to the Board, by Walker and state administrative officials.

The WEDC replaced the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. The new agency, with a business-friendly board, was supposed to streamline job creation.

But you'd think Walker wouldn't get anywhere near block grant dollars allocated inappropriately.

When he was Milwaukee County Executive, Walker turned over housing programs to Tim Russell, whose trial on unrelated theft charges looms this December), and Russell recommended funding projects that were not eligible, but received the money anyway.

Some block grant dollars are passed through to local governments.

Federal authorities recently settled with the County for the return of $229,000.

The repayment came from County dollars and not from the programs that had applied for and received the funding.

1 comment:

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Great work in exposing the pattern of Walker failing to follow rules and lack of concern for federal law. And CDBG funds are far from the only place this has been done. Family Care/Medicaid, failing to set up Obamacare exchanges, tinking they could use train money for highways. This WEDC fiasco is only the latest in a myriad of failures and law-breaking from Walker Administrations.

These people truly believe rules and laws don't apply to them, and it's why no Republican can be allowed in an executive position any time soon, whether it's as President, Guv, or County Exec. Well, and the fact that GOP hacks have zero ability to govern, and are completely incomptent outside of the permanent grift known as campaigning and spinning.