Sunday, November 17, 2013

GTAC Mining, Americans For Prosperity, Used Same Lobbyists

Former GOP legislative staffer Bob Seitz and his lobbying partner Tom Fonfara are registered lobbyists for Gogebic Taconite LLC (GTAC); Seitz shows up frequently in stories about GTAC's proposed Northern Wisconsin iron ore mine - - such as this one about asbestos at the site or this discussion of the company's use of armed guards.

I'd even noted on this blog through Open Records last year the instant communications between lobbyists and WI legislative leaders as a mining bill was being scheduled:


* At 4:52 p.m. on Friday, February 10th, State Sen. Neal Kedzie, (R-Elkhorn), sent an email to about 20 legislators and staffers telling them to hold time on the following Friday, February 17th, for a hearing - - later cancelled by parliamentary maneuvering by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - - on an alternative mining proposal a select committee chaired by Kedzie was preparing for release.

*Four minutes later, at 4:56 p.m., the Kedzie email was forwarded by Fitzgerald Chief of Staff John Hogan to Bob Seitz and Scott Manley.

State lobbying records show that Seitz is a registered, contract lobbyist for Gogebic Taconite LLC, the mining company that wants to open the iron ore mine near Ashland, and Manley is the Director, Environmental Policy and a registered lobbyist for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce...

* At 3:18 p.m. on Monday, February 13th, Kedzie sent out another email about the public hearing he was planning, with fresh information about the location, and a reference to the bill he was going to introduce, with its Legislative Reference Bureau [LRB] file number.

* One minute later, at 3:19 p.m., Hogan forwarded that email to Manley and Seitz. 
When The New York Times recently ran a story about the extensive financial reach of the Koch Brothers-backed conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, I decided to see what kind of lobbying presence that group had in Wisconsin and found that Seitz and Fonfara had also worked as lobbyists for Americans for Prosperity, state records show.

Among the bills Americans for Prosperity supported:
Senate Bill 1Relating to: regulation of ferrous metallic mining and related activities, procedures for obtaining approvals from the Department of Natural Resources for the construction of utility facilities, making an appropriation, and providing penalties. 
I'd missed those connections - - no doubt others documented them - - as there are so many levels to the political and financial push in Wisconsin on behalf of major corporate agendas.

Mea Culpa.


Betsey said...

Someone, please send Kedzie this post. If he didn't know about it already, he's got to be super-ticked!

Anonymous said...

There's so much corruption, it's hard to keep up with all of it!

Anonymous said...

Kedzie is bought and paid for.He does whatever Walker and Fitz tell him to do. When Fitz cancelled his committee and his mining proposal and threw him under the bus he never even made a whimper. They have all seen what Fitz and Walker did to Dale Schultz and non of the GOP legislators will ever think independently again nor will they challenge or stand up to their leadership. Only when voted out of office and they go down with the GOP ship will they realize that their job was to serve the people not their party.