Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Kwik Trip Cashes in on Walker Support

Convenience store chain gave Walker $90,000, got $21 million from state jobs agency.

By - Dec 6th, 2017 11:31 am
Kwik Trip Store. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Kwik Trip Store. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration plans to give up to $21 million in tax giveaways to Kwik Trip, a convenience store chain whose owners and employees have contributed more than $90,000 to the Republican governor.

Last month, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the state’s economic development agency, announced that Kwik Trip could receive up to $21 million in income tax credits for a $300 million expansion project in La Crosse. The company claims the project will directly create more than 300 jobs. That amounts to $70,00 per job created. The amount of state aid the company receives depends on how many jobs the project actually creates during the next five years.

In addition to the tax breaks, two GOP lawmakers are introducing a bill at the request of Kwik Trip that would cut administrative requirements for state alcohol and tobacco permits. The proposal would change the application process for an alcohol license and permit, and a retailer license for cigarette and tobacco products, by removing the requirement that two corporate officers sign the application and that it be notarized. Under the proposal, the applications would only need a company officer’s signature.

The measure was authored by Rep. Joan Ballweg, of Markesan, and Sen. Jerry Petrowski, of Marathon, who received contributions totaling $100 and $550, respectively, from Kwik Trip employees since January 2010.

All told, individual and corporate contributions to all legislative candidates and fundraising committees and statewide candidates from Kwik Trip owners and employees tallied about $331,400 between January 2010 and June 2017.

Topping the list of Kwik Trip individual and corporate contribution recipients was:

Walker, about $90,400;

Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, about $41,700;

GOP Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, $22,750;

Former GOP candidate for governor Mark Neumann, about $22,100;

Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, about $21,800.

Kwik Trip owners Don and LaVonne Zietlow, of Onalaska, made about $138,300 in contributions to Wisconsin legislative and statewide candidates between January 2010 and June 2017. The Zietlows, who made all but $7,100 of their total contributions to Republican candidates, sponsored a $2,700-per-plate fundraiser in August 2016 for then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Other top Kwik Trip contributors during the period were operations vice president Steve Loehr, and his wife, Cheryl, of Onalaska, about $46,650, and chief financial officer Scott Teigen, and his wife, Carol, of Glenwood City, about $10,700.

15 thoughts on “Campaign Cash: Kwik Trip Cashes in on Walker Support”

  1. Ernesto Garcia says:

    They support walker never going their again unless an emergency walker is lying basterd

  2. Jake currently of the MKE says:

    Pay for play, qiud pro quo, crony capitalism. A Republican value just like pedophilia, and Treason.

  3. Regina Schulte says:

    That old saw, “You get what you pay for,” is very relevant here.

  4. WashCoRepub says:

    Such a great success story for a Wisconsin business… stopped there this morning for a big cup of wonderful Kona coffee!

  5. Kris says:

    Well, I don’t believe I will be giving my business to them again.

  6. will says:

    Just cut up my kwik trip card. Feels great to get rid ofy corporate welfare card. Walker is the longest running welfare queen. His whole adult life he’s been running his ponsi scheme. Divide and conquer while giving Wisconsin to corporations.

  7. Terry says:

    I quit shopping at Menards and Kwik Trip long ago due to their support for far right wing extremist and career politician Scott “been mooching off the government his entire life” Walker. JUST IMAGINE IF HALF THE STATE DID TOO?

  8. Terry says:

    @WashCoRepug, enjoy that hot cup of tyranny!

  9. kevin stellman says:

    Boycott Kwik Trip – Menards – Home Depot — all Republican shills. That is what is wrong with America – Pay to play. Walker is just plain evil — these poeple are helping him hurt the working class people.

  10. WashCoRepub says:

    Thanks, Terry, I love their coffee and great service.


    There, thought I’d save you the trouble. Cheers mate!

  11. Terry says:

    Thanks! As someone who ran a successful cafe in Seattle for decades I can assure you, that swill they sell at Kwik Trip is as vile as the tyranny they support.

    Dump Walker 2018! End Cannabis Prohibition!

  12. Jeff G says:

    90K for a 21 million dollar “payback” is not a bad investment…but here’s the thing: There are going to be Republicans who are business owners and who also make political contributions. Same can be said of employees of businesses. Some of these contributions are going to end up in the hands of people we don’t like. I think it’s a stretch to conclude that the paltry sum of 90 grand got Kwik Trip a massive tax break. If I were in the corruption business, I’d be demanding a lot bigger chunk of cash.

    Kwik Trip is a decent business, in my opinion. They pay their employees well above minimum wage, and they also contribute to the community. Their stores are clean and service consistent. They also make a decent cup of strong enough coffee, which is a lot better than any other gas station I’ve ever been to. They have to get some points for that.

    70K in tax breaks per job is not that bad a deal when the results are decent opportunities within our communities, and when such benefits are tied to specific performance. Contrast that with the Foxconn deal at a million bucks per job, and you get to see what corruption actually looks like.

    I’m as blue a guy as they come, but I think taking anything out on KwikTrip over this is a short sighted strategy. Put your boycott energy somewhere better warranted.

  13. Big Al says:

    I don’t have any problem with Kwik Trip, but here’s what the question should be: Why are the taxpayers subsidizing this expansion? Were they going to build it somewhere else if we didn’t give them $21M? I doubt it. The point of subsidies is supposed to be to incentivize something that wouldn’t happen otherwise, and the benefits will outweigh the investment. If us taxpayers are paying $70k per job, what is Kwik Trip paying for?

  14. Terry says:

    @Jeff G, nope, wrong. We don’t have a Democracy anymore in Wisconsin thsnks to the far right wing republicans’ gerrymandering and voter suppression. In a normal time I would agree with yoy but these times are FAR from normal. We, as conscious citizens who have no voting rights anymore, have been left no other recourse but to “vote” with our dollars and that means NOT shopping at far right wing Walker supporting businesses, Kwik Trip, Menards included.

  15. will says:

    Well said Terry, our state is corrupt as any dictatorship. Our supreme Court is bought just like like Wisconsin GOP is. People are finally waking up to our third world country style government.

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