Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON, Wis. — Did an anonymous provision inserted into the 2015 state budget via a last minute vote in the Joint Committee on Finance help earn Assembly Speaker Robin Vos a free European vacation? One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that the budget change could have dramatically expanded business opportunities for a payday lender that sponsored a trip to London that included Vos, his then fiancee and the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Cliff Rosenberger.
“Speaker Vos and the company that reportedly helped underwrite a free European vacation for him have history,” commented Ross. “He’s pushed for legislation to help them and they’ve contributed generously to Vos’ political operations and Republicans that make up his majority in the State Assembly. Now it seems they’re also helping him see the world with a free vacation.”
Tucked in amongst the nearly 70 provisions of the last minute and controversial “999 motion” amending the 2015 state budget was a law change that would have allowed predatory payday and title lenders in Wisconsin to dramatically expand the kinds of services they were allowed to offer. The measure was included in the budget as passed by the Vos led Assembly and the state Senate but was vetoed by the governor.
According to reports, Select Management Resources funded a trip to London through the right wing GOPAC. Select Management Resources is the parent company of LoanMax Title Loans that has 16 locations operating in Wisconsin. Principals in the business and their family members have donated generously to Vos’ Assembly Republicans, especially in races critical to keeping Republicans, and Vos, in charge of the chamber.
The overseas jaunt has drawn the attention of federal authorities. It is reportedly part of an FBI investigation of that has led to Vos’ travelling companion, Ohio House of Representatives Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, to announce his resignation.