From the “now you tell us” department, the International Business Times’ David Sirota and Andrew Perez reported on Friday, two days after the Wisconsin state senate approved a $450 million arena subsidy for the Milwaukee Bucks, that Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential fundraising chief is in line to directly profit from the deal:
Real estate mogul Jon Hammes, who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and causes, is a prominent member of the investor group that owns Milwaukee’s NBA team. Last week CNN reported that he also will serve as the Walker campaign’s national finance co-chairman. Days after that appointment, Walker’s Republican allies in the Wisconsin state Senate backed the governor’s proposal to spend public funds on a new arena for the Bucks.
Walker’s office replied that Hammes wasn’t part of Walker’s team when Walker proposed the Bucks deal, though IBT notes that he was already a major Walker donor. A Walker spokesperson also defended the plan by saying it “protects taxpayers from the loss of $299 million if a new stadium is not built and the NBA moves the Milwaukee Bucks to another state,” a piece of terrible math that I debunked for Vice Sports on Thursday.
There’s still a chance that the state assembly could vote this whole mess down, but with state Republican and Democratic leaders now both on board, that doesn’t seem likely to happen. On big-money issues, red and blue typically matter a whole lot less than green.