Monday, March 18, 2013

Why is my senator talking to Michael Grebe?

Last week I wrote about the fact that we need more light to shine down on this carefully coordinated effort to undercut and otherwise weaken the Milwaukee County Board.  In that blog posting I mentioned that I filed a number of open records requests with public officials that are pushing and supporting that agenda.  I noted that the only person that I had not heard from regarding those requests was my own state Senator Lena Taylor.  Within 24 hours of that blog posting I received notice second hand via Twitter that her office was sending the records that were responsive to my request.  I did in fact receive those records last Thursday and some of them are now prompting me to ask a few additional questions.

One of the records that I requested from Senator Taylor was her official calendar.  In that calendar there were a number of things that stood out including in the last days of January.  I've included a copy of that page HERE.

You will notice that on January 29th from 2:30-3:00 p.m. Senator Taylor was scheduled to participate in a conference call with Michael Greebe [sic].

Most readers probably know about Michael Grebe already but here is just a small amount of background:
  • Campaign co-chair for Scott Walker
  •  Past Chairman and current board member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee (the business group that is pushing the Milwaukee County legislation in Madison).
  • President and CEO of the mega right wing funding Bradley Foundation
  • Former Chairman and CEO of Foley & Lardner (GMC front group "Smart Government" currently employs lobbyists from this firm)
  • Former General Counsel to the Republican National Committee
  • Former Chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin
Our friends at One Wisconsin Now describe Grebe as the "Money Badger" in part because in his capacity at the Bradley Foundation he has helped to bankroll nearly every right wing outfit that exists in Wisconsin and across the nation.  Consider just some of the following:
  • Americans for Prosperity
  • The MacIver Institute
  • American Majority & Media Trackers
  • Helped fund the Einhorn Family Foundation (which purchased the voter suppression billboards that were erected all over Senator Taylor's district) 
  • Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
  • True the Vote
  • Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity 
Given this history, I as a constituent would like to know why on earth Senator Taylor would be on a conference call with Michael Grebe?  Secondly I would like to know more about her call with Governor Walker two days later.  Maybe there is a logical explanation but I certainly can't think of one on my own.
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Eric Peterson said...

Comments from Eric Peterson, Senator Taylor’s Chief of Staff on this blog posting.

Mr. Michael Grebe was appointed to Bradley Center Sports & Entertainment Complex Board by Governor Walker in 2012. His appointment was referred to the Committee on Economic Development & Local Government, on which Senator Taylor sits, for consideration. Senator Taylor discussed that appointment with Mr. Grebe on their phone call on January 29th. Mr. Grebe contacted our office to discuss his appointment and requested that phone call. A public hearing and vote were held on Feb 5th. Senate confirmation was acted on February 20th with all Senators, including all Democrats, voting in favor of Mr. Grebe’s appointment. Mr. Grebe’s official file with the Senate with dates can be found at:

Senator Taylor responded to a request of the Governor for a phone call which led to their conversation on Thursday, January 31. Senator Taylor and the Governor discussed mining legislation at the Governor’s request. As you are aware, Senator Taylor voted against the mining legislation (SB 1).

Anonymous said...

What a strange coincidence that our senator just happens to meet with the corporate elitist head of the Bradley Foundation (one of the few behind the county board takeover) and the Governor (who's plan has been to undermine the county board since he was the county exec), about a number of measures that had no significance right on the cusp of the County Takeover bill being introduced.

Seems more likely that Sen. Taylor is just continuing her trend of saddling-up with pro-voucher, anti-Milwaukee establishment types in the hopes of getting a high-paying right-wing gig when she decides not to run again.

Anonymous said...

She doesn't need a high paying position, she owns Lena Taylor and Associates.. I'm not an advocate for her by any means... I just feel like the $$$$ she has been already making as a senator and a lawyer and possible funds form being bought

Cory Liebmann said...

Eric, thanks for posting your response to my questions. I may have follow-up questions in the near future and I trust that both you and the Senator will continue to provide answers. This is particularly important now that the legislation to undermine the Milwaukee County Board has been formally introduced.

Cory Liebmann said...

I'm just wondering why Grebe would make a point to specifically get Sen. Taylor on the phone over something like this? Did he call everyone on the committee and ask for a personal conversation about it? If not, why not and why Sen. Taylor? Also, as Anon 4:34 mentioned, I just can't get past the timing of this as it relates to her being the only Dem to co-sponsor.