Thursday, December 15, 2005

Walker returns donations to executives

whose firm got no-bid county contract

The Associated Press reports that Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker is returning $325 in campaign contributions from executives of a company that got a no-bid $250,000 contract from the county.

The AP reported last week on $2,375 in contributions from executives of Phoenix Care Systems Inc. after Cory Liebmann, who writes the Eye on Wisconsin blog, broke the story. Liebmann also wrote about the same firm getting a $1.2-million contract despite being ranked near the bottom among the firms bidding.

Walker denied any wrongdoing when AP wrote about the no-bid contract, but is returning a small part of the contributions because they came during a questionable period surrounding a no-bid contract award to Phoenix subsidiary Bell Therapy in December 2004.

The AP reports:

The county's ethics code prohibits donations to the top decision maker, in this case Walker, by those affected during the county's consideration of the contract.

The two donations in question were made on Aug. 26, 2004, a month after the county requested bids. Pfaff said the Walker campaign determined the donations fell within a prohibited period.
Two questions:

1. Eye on Wisconsin wonders: Will the Journal Sentinel, which has steadfastly refused to report on this issue, see fit to run a story now that even Walker's campaign has decided there was something wrong?

2. Will the media ever look at the bigger contract, where Phoenix ranked sixth out of eight bidders, but walked away with a $1.2-million contract?


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