I-Team: Buried in the Bill
There's a new twist in the Chaos at the Capitol. That budget bill could payoff big for one of Governor Walker's biggest campaign contributors.
Here's something you might not know. Buried inside Walker's 144-page budget repair bill are 10 lines. They don't directly deal with state workers, unions, or contracts. Still, controversy is already heating up over what it could mean for a couple of out-of-state billionaires.
The sign at Saturday's Tea Party rally in Madison read "Walker, kick the Koch habit." What does that mean?
Charles and David Koch are high powered conservatives. Koch Industries is one of the largest private energy companies in the world, with operations throughout Wisconsin.
In 2010, Koch's political action committee gave Governor Walker's campaign $43,000 its second largest contribution.
Well, to save money, the Governor's controversial budget bill would allow the state to "sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without the solicitation of bids."
Critics say no-bids could mean some sweet deals for Koch.
"They put all of this money into getting him elected and now they are reaping the benefit, whether it's reducing the rights of working families in Wisconsin as well as this payoff on the power plants," said One Wisconsin Now director Scot Ross.
Another concern: "If the government were to unload these power plants, we would want to see not just transparency, but competitive bidding," said UW-Milwaukee Public Administration Professor, Mordecai Lee. "We'd want to know that the taxpayers are getting the most for their dollars."
And Lee worries: "Really, it seems to me it makes government look like it's for sale,"
In this case, to the Koch brothers, who also founded and fund "American's for Prosperity" -- Tea Party supporters, which recently launched the standwithwalker.com website.
Koch's PAC gave a million dollars to the Republican Governor's Association which spent a ton of money on conservative TV ads in Wisconsin last year.
A spokesperson for Governor Walker's office told the I-Team in an email Monday night that he couldn't comment on short notice.