Gov. Scott Walker's job creation agency has been plagued by repeated law-breaking and mismanagement, according to an audit released by the state's non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau.
In a report that was almost 100 pages, the Bureau sharply criticized the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., created in 2011 by Walker and the state legislature, and called for much more oversight.
From the Associated Press:
The audit faulted WEDC for not having sufficient policies to administer its $520 million worth of grant, loan and tax credit programs effectively, including some policies required by law. It awarded $80 million in its first year.
The agency did not consistently follow the law or existing policies when making awards, and had no policies for determining how to handle delinquent loan amounts, the audit said.
It lacked invoices or other contractually required documentation showing authorized costs for seven of 29 grants reviewed, the audit said. Four contracts gave $906,000 total in tax credits for job creation and employee training that had already occurred, the audit said. Twelve of 14 recipients of grant and loan contracts worth at least $100,000 did not submit verified financial statements as required by law, the audit found.
"This audit dates back to 2011 and largely reflects information that WEDC has known for some time," a Walker spokesman said in a statement. "This new agency has taken proactive and positive measures to address its issues, and Governor Walker is confident in the direction of WEDC as an agency that aims to promote job creation and economic growth for Wisconsin."