Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Paying not to play

Here's a story you won't see in the Journal Sentinel, because it doesn't fit their template of how things work. It's by Mike Ivey in the Capital Times:
Who says campaign contributions lead to political favors?

Certainly not the Mortenson Investment Group, which last week announced it was abandoning its efforts to build a four-story office and retail project at Todd Drive and the Beltline.

In giving up on the $22 million Landmark Gate project, MIG cited a new state law that sharply limits the ability of local government to use its power of eminent domain to condemn property for private economic development projects...

The law was passed by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Jim Doyle in late March, largely in reaction to the controversial 2005 Supreme Court decision that reaffirmed the ability of government to condemn property for redevelopment purposes...

... the signing came despite a bevy of campaign cash that has flowed from MIG executives to Doyle over the past several years.

Records with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign show that employees of MIG gave $14,650 to Doyle since 2004. That included $6,050 from company president Brad Hutter and another $5,000 from Loren Mortenson, who founded Mortenson, Matzelle & Meldrum or "M3" as a commercial insurance agency here in 1968.

So what did all that money buy Mortenson?

Not a heck of a lot the way it turns out.
Read the rest.


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