Gov. Scott Walker has appointed a bank executive who has
contributed thousands of dollars to his campaign to a
six-figure job leading the state's troubled economic
announced Thursday that he has tapped Mark Hogan to serve as
the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.'s chief executive
officer. Hogan has worked for nearly 40 years at M&I
Bank and BMO Harris Bank. He retired in 2010 as M&I's
executive vice president and chief credit officer. He signed
on as BMO Harris' senior adviser the following year. He has
served as chairman of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic
Development Authority since March.
given Walker's campaign $24,375 since 2005, according to
government watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's
campaign finance database. Federal campaign finance records
show he gave $10,000 to Unintimidated PAC, a super PAC
Walker's former campaign managers formed earlier this year
to support Walker's bid for the 2016 Republican presidential
make $195,000 in his new job.
spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the donations didn't play a
role in Hogan's appointment.
is a proven and respected business executive and we believe
his extensive experience will be invaluable at WEDC,"
Patrick said in an email.
replaces Reed Hall, who plans to retire this month. Walker
appointed Hall to replace the agency's first CEO, Paul Jadin,
in October 2012. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's database
shows Hall donated $1,000 to Walker between May 2010 and
March 2012. Hall made $185,000.
created the WEDC shortly after he began his first term in
office in 2011, touting it as the state's job creation
engine. The agency has been plagued by gaffes and missteps
since the beginning.
audit last fall found that the agency lacked documentation
justifying money paid to cover expenses and grants during
its first two years. An audit released in May found that
contracts with grant and loan recipients hadn't complied
with state law and the agency hadn't demanded proof that
recipients were creating or retaining jobs.
released documents in June showing that from July 2011 to
June 2013, 27 awards worth about $24 million went out
without a staff review. One award was a $500,000 unsecured
loan for a company owned by a Walker donor, William Minahan.
Walker appointees pushed the agency to give Minahan even
more money — even after the agency learned that Minahan
had pledged agency funds to pay for a lease on a Maserati
sports car. The company defaulted on the loan from the
also handed out $1.2 million in grants and loans during
Jadin's tenure to Green Box NA Green Bay LLC after the
company said it could turn dirty plastic forks and
ketchup-stained napkins into jobs.
appears that the agency didn't look deeply enough into the
company; founder Ron Van Den Heuvel owed millions in legal
judgments to banks, business partners, state tax officials
and even a jeweler. As recently as February, the agency
considered giving Green Box additional incentives.
Democrats have poured criticism on the agency for years.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, who sits on
the WEDC board, said in a statement he found it
"curious" that Walker appointed one of his major
donors as CEO but still bid Hogan welcome.
glad to see that Mark Hogan has experience in the private
and financial sector and I look forward to working with
him," Barca said. "A change of leadership was
desperately needed at this agency."