3M’s Money Trail

August 24, 2018

Smoke Stacks Belching Money

Here is the money trail for 3M, which the Department of Natural Resources is investigating again after air pollution control equipment at 3M’s Wausau factory failed in April and records show the company didn’t properly report emissions in 2016 and 2017.

The equipment malfunction follows a controversial 2016 settlement by GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel’s Justice Department that let the company fix air pollution problems in 2014 and 2015 at two of its Wausau sites, but pay no fine. Former Justice Department and Department of Natural Resources officials criticized the settlement as too lenient.

Schimel, who received a $1,000 contribution from a 3M political action committee (PAC) in January 2016, was elected to a four-year term as attorney general in 2014 and took over the department in January 2015.

Between January 2010 and December 2017, the company made about $98,100 in individual, political action committee and corporate contributions to legislative and statewide candidates and fundraising committees. About $87,330, or 89 percent, of those contributions went to Republican candidates and fundraising committees. The top recipients were:

Republican Gov. Scott Walker, about $39,000

Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, $11,375

Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, $10,975

State Senate Democratic Committee, $5,500

Former GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, who is now the state’s agriculture secretary, $5,075

The largest individual contributors among 3M employees were Mark Werner, of Middleton, a sales account executive, $1,750; Harvey Hanson, of Port Washington, a retired sales account executive, $1,600; and Gary Maier, of Roberts, Wis., an engineer, $1,125.