January 24, 2017
Governor Scott Walker
Two of the largest business powerhouses in Wisconsin heaped praise on Gov. Scott Walker for his latest proposal to make it harder for people to get food stamps. The two groups — Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by the Koch Brothers — have secretly raised and spent an estimated $24.3 million mostly to help elect Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature over the last seven years.
Walker’s plan released on Monday would require parents of children, ages 6 to 18, on the state’s Food Share program to have a job and work at least 80 hours a month, or receive job training from the state. Walker put similar requirements in place in 2013 for childless adults in the Food Share program.
Since January 2010, WMC has spent an estimated $18.6 million on outside electioneering activities to support Republican and conservative legislative and statewide candidates. WMC spent more than half of its total outside election spending, an estimated $9.5 million, to help Walker win his 2010 general, 2012 recall, and 2014 reelection contests.
WMC said in a statement that current welfare programs are a disincentive to work, and that the governor’s plan would create more qualified workers for Wisconsin businesses.
In addition to its millions of dollars in outside spending, WMC boasts 3,500 member businesses who are generous individual and political action committee contributors and hail from more than a dozen special interest groups. Those special interests include business, manufacturing, energy, insurance, health care, transportation, construction, real estate, finance, tourism, agriculture, road builders, natural resources and telecommunications.
Americans for Prosperity, a rightwing ideological group, has spent an estimated $5.7 million since January 2010 to help elect Republicans and conservatives to legislative and statewide offices. The group spent more than half of its total outside election spending, about $3.7 million, to help Walker win his 2012 recall.
Americans for Prosperity praised the governor’s proposal, saying it would help Wisconsin “lead the way with the next generation of welfare reform.”