According to reporting in Wisconsin Examiner, “In early May, 43 state lawmakers sent a letter to the Wisconsin congressional delegation with an emphatic message: Don’t provide financial relief to state governments.” It was a clear cut attack on some US states with poor spending habits, namely, Illinois, New York, and California. The legislators who signed the letter, all of them members of Wisconsin’s GOP, felt that it was not their responsibility to bail out states that had mismanaged their budgets and left themselves overextended when the pandemic struck.

Despite this, in recently obtained data on the recipients of the federal Paycheck Protection Program, Wisconsin Examiner uncovered that a number of the GOP legislators involved, despite their opposition to a “hand out” for state governments, were direct beneficiaries of the PPP. The news outlet cross-referenced the names of companies that received $150,000 or more through the program with names of businesses that legislators reported on publicly accessible Statements of Economic Interest documents.

The article notes, “On the statements, which are filed every election year, lawmakers list any businesses in which they have at least 10% direct ownership, and also any organizations or companies where they or an immediate family member holds a job. Signers of the letter with interests in businesses that got $150,000 or more in PPP funds were State Reps. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield), Cindi Duchow (R-Town of Delafield) and Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel).”

Many fear that staunch opposition to aid for state governments could force shutdowns to key public services. You can find out more about the Wisconsin GOP legislators who signed the letter and took advantage of the PPP here.