Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Did Foxconn Lobby Illegally?

Began meeting with state officials in April, didn’t register as lobbyist until August.

By - Aug 12th, 2017 11:54 am
Foxconn Jet. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Foxconn Jet. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

State lobby law requires businesses, groups and other special interests to register with the state after communicating with state elected officials on proposed rules or legislative bills if they do so on five or more days during a six-month period.

Lobbying law does not require those who seek a contract or a grant with the state to register as a lobbying group unless or until they attempt to influence the development or drafting of legislation to enable the contract to be implemented.

So the question is when did the development and drafting of the Foxconn deal legislation start?

This is what we know:

  • In testimony last week at a legislative hearing on the measure, Special Session Assembly Bill 1, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) Secretary Mark Hogan said the first meeting on the Foxconn project took place on April 28 in Washington, D.C. WEDC is the Walker administration’s economic development agency.
  • On July 27, Gov. Scott Walker executed a memorandum of understanding with the company that outlined the terms and responsibilities for an agreement, via legislation, between the state and Foxconn for its proposed Wisconsin manufacturing facility.
  • The bill was introduced Aug. 1 by the Assembly Committee on Organization at the request of Walker.
  • Detailed fiscal estimates and reports by six different state agencies on the bill’s tax, transportation, and environmental costs were issued Aug. 3.
  • Foxconn registered as a lobbying group on Aug. 3 as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.

It would seem that a legislative proposal as large and sweeping as the corporate welfare and environmental rollback measure for Foxconn, which registered in favor of the bill after the measure’s Aug. 1 introduction, would have taken weeks to develop and draft, and would have been done with the company’s input.

Shortly after the bill’s introduction, more than a dozen trade groups representing business, manufacturing, real estate, transportation, construction, and banking interests, among others, registered in support of the bill.

3 thoughts on “Campaign Cash: Did Foxconn Lobby Illegally?”

  1. Tyrell track master says:

    As much as I dislike Scott Walker this seems like an awfully petty thing to be concerned about. I too have many questions about this deal, but fundamentally it still seems like a good thing to me!

  2. Al Lindro says:

    If I were Foxconn, upon being accused of acting illegally I’d begin or reopen talks with other states while assuming this is just an harbinger of things to come here in the Badger State.

    Reminds me of the time my wife and granddaughter emerged from a wedding dress store a few storefronts away from their parked car, only to observe a parking checker standing at the meter waiting for it to expire. Which it did, seconds before they reached the car. They were close enough to call out to the checker and explain that they were leaving momentarily, and as a gesture of good citizenship offered to put another quarter in the meter. Nothing doing, Reason went out the window (“You are late and it doesn’t matter HOW late”) and the ticket was completed and ultimately paid.

    Guess how many times we have patronized any stores on that street since then. If you say, “One time”, I would have to say, “You’re close but just a little high.”

  3. Vincent Hanna says:

    How much sway does the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign have in Wisconsin? Why would anyone assume this is a harbinger of things to come here? We have a governor and legislature bending over backwards to do whatever Foxconn wants.

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