Walker Loves Ashley Furniture
Company gets a state grant, and he gets big campaign donations.
Back in 2014, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. awarded a $6 million tax credit to Ashley Furniture with a condition allowing the company to eliminate half of its state workforce.
The WEDC award helped the Arcadia-based furniture maker with a $35 million expansion of its headquarters, but did not require the company create any new jobs and granted the company “license to lay off half of its current 3,848 Wisconsin-based workers in exchange for an enterprise zone tax credit, one of the most valuable and coveted state subsidies,” as the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
In addition to their direct contributions to Walker, one of Ashley Furniture’s owners, Todd Wanek, of Arcadia, doled out $25,000 in late 2011 to an outside electioneering group called the Republican Governors Association. Shortly after his contribution, the national group went on to spend $9.4 million during the first six months of 2012 to help Walker win his controversial recall election that summer.
The bulk of Walker’s $31,800 in direct contributions from Ashley owners and employees between January 2010 and December 2016 came from the Wanek family.