Rail line to Ron Johnson’s factory built with federal grant money

This is just incredible. We already knew that Ron Johnson, better known as Mr. “I have never lobbied for some special treatment or for a government payment,” relied on a big government loan to start his operation. It was a municipal government loan. But it gets better: Johnson then asked for federal assistance to get a railroad line built for his factory.
From WKOW once again:

According to documents from the Oshkosh city clerk’s office, an Urban Development Action Grant in the amount of $75,000 was used to build a rail spur to Pacur, a plastics manufacturing company owned by Johnson.

The city resolution approving the grant was passed on March 15, 1979, the year the Oshkosh factory was built.

The [federal] money for the line went to Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies, owned by Johnson’s brother-in-law, Pat Curler. Months later, WISS changed its name to Pacur and the plant opened. [Emphasis added]

Wait—a rail line? Don’t Republicans hate rail? The two GOP gubernatorial candidates are squaking about rail like it would rain death and economic ruin upon the state. (It would do quite the opposite.) Perhaps this one was okay, as it wouldn’t bring dangerous people from a big city to a suburb.

Would this line get an upgrade with the other lines getting upgraded to a higher speed? That will happen thanks to federal money, you know. Mmm, can’t do that, Ron!

Johnson’s campaign was quick to retort with this statement:

“This grant was secured in March of 1979 by Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies [emphasis added] in exchange for a substantial business investment for the City of Oshkosh…”

Remember the previous indented paragraph? It read:

“The money for the line went to Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies, owned by Johnson’s brother-in-law, Pat Curler. Months later, WISS changed its name to Pacur and the plant opened.

With this, the Johnson campaign tried to spin the granting of federal money away from Johnson—but it landed on his doorstep.

Nice try, folks. I have no problem with people using federal money. But don’t attack it like a hobbling leper when your candidate got his start with it.

Ron Johnson again proves himself to be the not-self-made-man!

The incomparable illusory tenant has the finest derailing of Johnson’s claims that I’ve yet seen.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

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