Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison

These last several years in Wisconsin have seen a politics of corporate manipulation of public spending and a retreat from principles of open government. Businesses and business lobbying groups routinely expect public money for business projects that should be wholly private.

(Scheming development gurus often refer to taxpayer money as their ‘tools,’ as though the dollars they spend are something other than a portion of productive private workers’ earnings. If these men want tools, so to speak, they should go out into the private marketplace and spend what they want from their own pockets. Instead, in otherwise public meetings, they retreat to closed sessions to discuss secretively their use of the public’s money. Some of them even draw a public salary while discussing clandestinely their use of public money. For the vain, it’s an easy way to feel important on the public’s dime.)

One reads from the Associated Press that Documents [show]: University deal with Foxconn largely confidential:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Foxconn Technology Group will manage their new research partnership largely behind closed doors, documents detailing the agreement show.


The Wisconsin State Journal reported Thursday that it has obtained documents outlining the agreement between UW-Madison and Foxconn. The documents indicate the school and the company will establish a joint steering committee to oversee the partnership. UW-Madison officials told the newspaper the committee isn’t subject to the state’s open meetings law unless members are holding university records.

Other clauses in the documents declare that broad swaths of information, including sales information, research plans, technical information, patent applications, designs and products, will be confidential. If either party violates the confidentiality clauses, the other could obtain a restraining order.

Bill Leuders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said Wisconsin’s open meetings and open records laws don’t exempt research findings.

“I think it’s obnoxious that the University of Wisconsin would agree to (a) secrecy provision in exchange for a $100 million deal that is already designed to primarily benefit the other party,” Leuders wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “These provisions should never have been agreed to, and steps should be taken to remove them.”

It’s much easier for a business to take public money for its own private ends when it does not have to account for the taking.

Here in small-town Whitewater, the Community Development Authority (whose members overlap with the Greater Whitewater Committee, a 501(c)(6) business lobby) has run just about every meeting with a closed session as a matter of course.

No doubt they’d say that’s just how business is done.

And yet, and yet, for a generation of their efforts, Whitewater’s remains a lower-income community.

Previously10 Key Articles About FoxconnFoxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family HomesFoxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair BudgetThe Man Behind the Foxconn ProjectA Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the TroughEven Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) WorkforceFoxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace ConditionsFoxconn’s Bait & SwitchFoxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying JobsThe Next Guest SpeakerTrump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away, and “Later This Year.”

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