Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, is a member of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board. He accuses the agency of hiding problems that the board is charged with helping to solve. Most of the bad news about WEDC, he said, has been unearthed by the media. Credit: Dee J. Hall / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha:

“Nobody would expect that any organization would not do their due diligence before awarding funds … or look at the legal imcumbrances the companies have … That’s just good governance. That just shocks me, frankly, that this ever took place … We (board members) only find out about things when we pick up the newspaper. …. They stonewall us (Barca and fellow Democratic board member Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point). … (But) even WEDC, with all its problems, certainly has helped companies that otherwise have indicated they would not have been able to have grown and expanded or moved to Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board member Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, believes the agency is doing a good job overall. He has proposed removing all elected officials from the board in July. Gov. Scott Walker already has removed himself as chairman. Credit: Wisconsin State Senate

Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac:

“I think it gets kind of lost in the discussion, but … if you take all the charge-offs and delinquencies that we have had in the history of WEDC, compared to the actual good and the economic growth that we have seen because of this agency, it would just be a speck on a map. I think what the headlines should be saying is that in every (one of the) 72 counties here in the state of Wisconsin, someone has been touched by WEDC. Somebody has been employed and taken their kids to the shopping center around Christmastime because of WEDC.”

Dee J. Hall

Hall, a co-founder of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, joined the staff as managing editor in June 2015. She worked at the Wisconsin State Journal for 24 years as an editor and reporter focusing on projects and investigations. Previously she was a reporter for eight years at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, where she covered city government, schools and the environment. During her 35-year journalism career, Hall has won more than three dozen local, state and national awards for her work, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors. She is based in Madison, Wisconsin. She can be reached at dhall@wisconsinwatch.org