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Emails Show WEDC Tried to Skirt Transparency Laws in Bids for Amazon HQ2

David Ryder/Getty Images
An Amazon logo seen inside the Amazon corporate headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

While the online retail giant Amazon hasn't announced where it will locate its HQ2, its second headquarters; the company has announced a winnowed-down list. And the list didn't include anywhere in the Badger State. 

Not much has been publicized about efforts to lure the company to Wisconsin and recent reporting by the Milwaukee Business Journal indicates that was by design. Reporter Sean Ryan found emails from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, or WEDC, indicating an effort to keep the details of the Wisconsin bids secret. 

"Through a series of emails we got from that state agency, it showed that they had originally planned to have WEDC - the state government group - submit one response on behalf of the entire state," Ryan explains. "Then questions were raised, 'Well, if we do it this way, will the responses that we send to Amazon become public record?' And that led to a change of strategy." 

He continues, "Instead they said, 'Let's have these regional economic development groups' - and that includes Milwaukee 7, which covers southeast Wisconsin - 'Let's have these regional economic groups that are private organizations, that aren't subject to open records laws, submit [the proposals] instead of us.'" 

Joy Powers is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.