Foxconn spent $45,000 lobbying Wisconsin lawmakers last year

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou and Gov. Scott Walker hold up a memorandum of understanding spelling out terms of the company’s Wisconsin investment.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:12 pm

The parent company of Foxconn Technology Group spent more than $45,000 and 275 hours lobbying state lawmakers with most of the efforts spent on special session legislation that cleared the way for a $3 billion incentive package for the company’s LCD manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant.

Terry Gou and Scott Walker hold up a memorandum of understanding signed July 27 at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. reported total lobbying expenditures of $45,320 from July through the end of December, according to state records. The total includes 248 hours split evenly between the Senate and Assembly versions of the Foxconn legislation.

Foxconn also reported 27.55 hours spent lobbying on gubernatorial nominations and other matters.

Andrew Cook, Nathan Houdek and Robert Marchant, all of Michael Best Strategies, registered to lobby on behalf of Hon Hai on Aug. 3. Cook’s authorization was withdrawn on Jan. 5.

In the span of about six weeks, lawmakers debated and passed a bill that set up a refundable tax credit program Foxconn can use to earn $1.5 billion in tax credits for job creation, $1.35 billion for capital investment and $150 million in a sales tax exemption.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. later entered into a contract with Foxconn to spell out the exact terms of the deal. The Foxconn project is also supported by a $764 million local incentive package and millions more in infrastructure and workforce investments.

The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters had the second highest total of hours spent lobbying on the bills at 224, about 10 percent of the organization’s total for the period. The WLCV opposed the legislation.

At 154 hours, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce had the third highest total. MMAC was an early champion of the Foxconn project, hosting a welcome party for the company at the Milwaukee Art Museum the day after the White House announcement in July.

For comparison, MMAC spent a total of 516 hours lobbying for the new Milwaukee Bucks arena in all of 2015.

Organizations spent a total of 1,273 hours lobbying on the Foxconn bills, about 1.25 percent of all lobbying during the period.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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