Did Grebe Act As Godfather of WEDC?

By Robert Miranda and Chris Johnson, KINGFISHmke.com

On the eve of Governor Scott Walker signing into law changes that prevent prosecutors from using the John Doe law to review matters that could lead to misconduct in office or to bribing public officials charges, Michael Grebe, the CEO of the Bradley Foundation and Godfather of the Scott Walker political regime, announced his retirement as CEO of the Bradley Foundation. This foundation is the epicenter of conservative political funding for the Republican Party and America’s conservative movement. 

The Bradley Foundation is also a conservative Milwaukee philanthropic organization that sits atop an endowment of more than $800 million. The foundation was led by Michael Grebe, who was Walker’s campaign chairman for three different elections and whose board members have personally contributed more than $700,000 to Walker’s gubernatorial campaigns. But Grebe’s “retirement” is bittersweet, coming a couple of months after he co-chaired the disastrous Scott Walker presidential campaign. 

The manner in which Walker got smacked around on the national stage is a major setback for Grebe, who is reported to have first met Walker while the future governor attended Marquette University and Grebe was Wisconsin’s Republican national committeeman. 

When Walker ran for governor in 2010, he asked Grebe to be chairman of Walker’s campaign. Grebe agreed.

His announced “retirement” also comes on the heels of rising interest around the state regarding his insights and involvement with, not only fundraising for Walker’s presidential campaign, but also his connections with business executives who received Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) loans after contributing to the presidential and gubernatorial campaigns of Scott Walker.

With one corporation that received WEDC loans under criminal investigation for defrauding the government, and questions lingering regarding loans to others under highly suspect reasons, Grebe exits stage right to not only get himself out of the political crosshairs, but also to avoid putting the Bradley Foundation in a pickle of a situation because of the close association that Walker and the Bradley Foundation head steward have established over the past few years.

Walker’s WEDC Could be Grebe’s Achilles Heel

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article in which Mike Grebe is reported to be retiring, this statement appears: “Walker’s close ties to the organization were made clear when just days after he was first elected governor, he met privately with Bradley’s board and senior staff at Bacchus, a swanky Milwaukee restaurant.”

Still, the Bradley CEO made it clear in various media reports that he is careful to separate campaign politics from Bradley Foundation business.

Such close ties deserve close scrutiny of personal and foundation emails and other communications between Wisconsin’s CEO and Bradley Foundation’s CEO — who was also chairman of Walker’s presidential and gubernatorial campaigns.

Could there be any connection between corporate owners of companies that received WEDC loans after providing hefty contributions to Walker’s presidential campaign? 

Could such communication between Grebe and these corporations that defaulted and mismanaged WEDC loans have taken place? What was discussed if they did?

Is it that Grebe needs to step down to avoid the coming shit-storm regarding WEDC, the $1 million presidential campaign debt, and the current GOP fast-track actions to change laws, such as open records and John Doe, so that the GOP does not end up having to send some of their own to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections “housing” units? 

The emails and other communications between WEDC and the corporations receiving loans that currently are defaulting or are under scrutiny should be released to prosecutors: private and company correspondence.  Bradley Foundation emails and Grebe’s emails need to be reviewed. 

WEDC CEOs who got loans and are under investigation or defaulting on them need to have their emails reviewed to see if Grebe had anything to do with their WEDC loans if they donated to the Walker presidential campaign. 

What Did Scott Walker Do?

To be sure, Republicans drank Walker’s Kool-Aid and Grebe fed loyal Republican base gallons of it. In doing so, the GOP lost its principles and allowed greed to corrupt the party. By allowing millions of dollars of taxpayer money to be lost forever because of their need to cover up and protect this failed administration, the GOP base has to now be wondering, what did Scott Walker do? 

He promised 250,000 jobs, knowing full well that he would attack the unions in 2011 without any care about the effect of changing the entire political and economic agenda for Wisconsin. He allowed corruption, deceit and corporate welfare at WEDC to benefit his donors, some of whom used the money for luxury cars, paying off debts, and golfing! 

Did Mike Grebe or the Koch brothers or Brad Courtney, chairman of the Republican party of Wisconsin, tell Scott Walker to focus on hitting the promised employment target number of 250,000 jobs? Did they tell Walker to eliminate corruption at WEDC? 

The answer is No. We know this because, if the masters had told him to hit the job targets or prevent corruption at WEDC, he would have obeyed; Scott Walker is a proven faithful servant of these people. 

Change the John Doe law the GOP hardliners did, but that really does not affect prosecutors’ ability to look into emails and other communiqués of those corporations being investigated because of WEDC. 

Grebe jumps the sinking ship at the right time.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on October 26, 2015

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