Administration pushes back as Dems call for WEDC CEO’s resignation

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca and Sen. Julie Lassa are calling for WEDC CEO Reed Hall to resign, but Gov. Scott Walker’s office and WEDC are fighting back.

The two Dem members of the WEDC board, at a Capitol press conference yesterday, cited audits and news reports showing problems at WEDC. They said Hall has failed to fully address the issues, including revelations about an unrepaid $500,000 loan made to a Walker contributor without a staff review. Democrats have called for a criminal investigation into the loan.

In an email to reporters, WEDC spokesman Mark Maley noted all of the loans without staff review were made before Hall began leading the agency and that Lassa and Barca voted in favor of $95.5 million worth of them.

Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for Gov. Scott Walker, added the Dems’ comments were “both disingenuous and troubling.” Patrick echoed Maley’s points about the timing of the loans, Barca and Lassa’s role in approving $95.5 million of them and the WEDC’s efforts regarding transparency.

“It’s unfortunate that they are deciding to continue playing politics rather than working together to spur economic development in Wisconsin,” Patrick said in a news release.

Barca and Lassa then said Maley and Patrick’s responses were misleading.

“This kind of response demonstrates once again that WEDC and the governor are more concerned about using misinformation to manage their PR crisis than they are about getting to the bottom of the problems with this agency,” they wrote.