New reporting in the American Independent found that Tim Michels, the Republican nominee for Wisconsin governor, has received over $500 million in contracts from the Wisconsin government to repair roads and bridges.
But there’s a big problem with that. Michels’ company also was repeatedly fined for running overweight trucks on Wisconsin roads — a practice that experts say damages the same roads Michels Corporation was paid hundreds of millions to fix.
Michels, who has kept his ownership stake in the Michels Corporation, has faced repeated questions about whether or not he would divest from the company should he win on Tuesday. If he fails to do so, he could continue to financially benefit from massive government contracts — a huge conflict of interest for any governor.
The American Independent: Tim Michels’ business fined for damaging roads while Wisconsin paid it to fix them
Nick Vachon | November 3, 2022
- Republican nominee for governor of Wisconsin Tim Michels’ construction company has been fined 11 times for running overweight trucks on Wisconsin roads in the last five years — even as the company received more than half a billion dollars in state contracts to repair Wisconsin’s roads.
- Michels Corporation, jointly owned by the Republican nominee and his brothers, is one of the top recipients of state contracts. Over the last five years the firm has received $567 million to repair Wisconsin’s roads and bridges. In the same time frame, the multi-billion dollar company, which employs 8,000 people, was fined more than $21,000 for running vehicles on state roads in violation of weight limit statutes, according to a review by the American Independent Foundation.
- Violating the weight limit can damage roads, according to the Wisconsin Towns Association, a nonprofit, nonpartisan association of town and village governments.
- The Michels Corporation has been accused on multiple occasions of excessively profiting from Wisconsin government contracts. An analysis by Wisconsin Right Now, a conservative website, found that the Michels Corporation made over $550 million on road maintenance contracts over the past five years.
- Since the start of his campaign some observers have questioned how Michels would navigate the conflicts of interest between his family business and his duties as governor, which would include personally signing any state contract worth more than $1,000. Back in April, during the Republican primary, Michels said that he “would hope” that the Michels Corporation would continue to compete for state contracts and that he was no longer on the firm’s payroll. However, he has so far maintained his ownership stake.