Walker Got $7,900 from Company That Laid Off Workers After Tax Breaks

April 29, 2015

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has received $7,900 in campaign contributions since the beginning of 2010 from executives of a Menomonee Falls company that plans on moving 93 jobs from Wisconsin to Mexico after it received about $369,000 in state tax breaks to create and retain jobs.

In addition to the 93 layoffs announced last week involving its Watertown factory, Eaton Corp. also laid off 163 employees in April 2013 at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee and shifted those jobs to Mexico. Cooper Power Systems is a subsidiary of Eaton, which manufactures power distribution products.

Both of the 2013 and 2015 layoffs occurred after Eaton received $369,307 in job creation and employee training tax credits that were awarded under a Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) contract approved in late 2011 to provide up to $1 million in state tax breaks to Eaton for a research, development and training center that the company opened in Menomonee Falls in 2013.

WEDC has been criticized numerous times for poor financial oversight since it was created by Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011 to handle job creation efforts.

Walker, who is chairman of WEDC’s board of directors, received $7,900 in campaign contributions from employees of Eaton and Cooper Power Systems between January 2010, when Walker was first elected, and December 2014, including $6,065 of it between 2012 and 2014 after WEDC awarded Eaton the contract for state tax credits.

The top individual contributors from the companies to Walker between January 2010 and December 2014 were Timothy Erickson, of Mukwonago, Cooper Power vice president of engineering and operations, $1,180; Judith Simms-Brown, of Menomonee Falls, Cooper Power marketing communications manager, $1,100; and David Klapstein, of Burlington, an Eaton Corp. engineer, $782.