Pay to play
Maryna Pleshkun

The announcement on May 14 that the Hammes Co. in Milwaukee is the chief planner for the Foxconn project is an example of crony capitalism at its worst.

The Hammes Co. is owned by Jon Hammes, a buddy and big donor of Scott Walker’s, who now stands to make more than one hundred million dollars off the $4.5 billion taxpayer-funded boondoggle.

Hammes is Walker’s campaign finance chairman for his current reelection bid.

And he was finance chairman for Walker’s hapless presidential campaign.

He and his wife, Ann, have given about $25,000 to Walker’s campaigns for governor over the last eight years.

In 2015, a company registered in the name of their son, J. Patrick Hammes, and sharing an address with the Hammes Co., gave $150,000 to Unintimidated PAC, one of Walker’s super PAC’s during his presidential quest, according to Jessie Opoien of the Capital Times.

Jon Hammes has also given about $20,000 to the Republican Party of Wisconsin over the last 18 years.

And Jon and Ann Hammes have given about $285,000 to the Republican National Committee over the last 14 years.

Now, for his dutiful service to Walker and the Republican Party, Hammes gets to cash in big time.

Well, you might say, maybe his company is the most qualified for the job.

But the Milwaukee Business Journal says: “Hammes Company of Brookfield built a national reputation for planning and developing health care and commercial real estate but no previous engagements compare with the newest.”

The Hammes deal is the latest — and the most grotesque — example of how Scott Walker has turned the state of Wisconsin into an ATM for his pals and donors, an ATM full of our tax dollars.

This is not democracy. This is thievery.

Matthew Rothschild is executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign , a nonprofit that tracks money in state politics and works for campaign finance reform and other democracy reforms.



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