Tim Michels’ campaign says the construction exec would address any holdings that could provide a conflict of interest if he’s elected guv after WisPolitics.com identified ownership of a half-dozen stocks with companies that have contracts with the state.
The holdings include Madison-based Exact Sciences and the Michels Corp., the company his family owns. The six have a combined $1.6 billion in contracts with the state, according to WisPolitics.com search of a database.
Shortly after getting into the gubernatorial race, Michels vowed to divest from Michels Corp. if elected. The construction company has nearly $1.2 billion in contracts with the state, and the exec owns at least $50,000 in stock in the firm.
“Tim has already pledged that when he is elected governor, he will divest from Michels Corporation and in addition, he will either sell or put into a blind trust any and all positions that may have a conflict of interest,” said spokesman Christopher Walker.
The stocks were listed on the statement of economic interest that Michels and fellow GOP guv candidates Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson filed by this week’s deadline. They provide a limited snapshot of the candidates’ finances.
Candidates are only required to list stocks and bonds valued at $5,000 to $50,000 or more than $50,000.
A new state ethics law that took effect in April leaves even fewer details on the reports because public officials no longer have to disclose defined benefit retirement plans, annuities, money market funds, mutual funds and some other holdings.
For Nicholson, the only holding he listed was a limited partnership in G.H. Smart & Co. LLC that’s worth more than $50,000. He included a note with his filing that he didn’t disclose various holdings because it’s no longer required under state law.
Meanwhile, Kleefisch listed no investments in stocks or bonds.
Michels’ report listed 53 stocks valued at $50,000 or more and seven for between $5,000 and $50,000. Assuming the minimum value for each, that’s at least $2.9 million in stocks, though their value is likely much higher.
According to records WisPoiltics.com previously obtained, Michels paid nearly $3.7 million in state income taxes in 2020, the latest year available as of mid-May.
Along with Exact Sciences and Michels Corp., Michels owned stock in Apple Inc., Goldman Sachs & Co., JP Morgan and Palantir.
His report also listed more than 75 clients through his various business entities that have a contract with the state. That includes municipalities for which the Michels Corp. has done work and other businesses involved in road construction.
Dem Gov. Tony Evers put his holdings into a blind trust shortly after he took office. Meanwhile, GOP guv candidate Tim Ramthun, of Campbellsport, has annually filed statements of economic interest since becoming a candidate for the Assembly in 2018 and then winning his seat. Ramthun’s latest report listed no investments and a debt of more than $50,000 to Associated Bank.
Here’s a snapshot of the statements of the reports filed by Kleefisch, Michels and Nicholson, which cover the calendar year that ended Dec. 31:
*Kleefisch’s report details the consulting firm she owns as well as the firms run by her husband, former state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who’s a registered lobbyist.
The Concord Consulting listed on Kleefisch’s report is her firm, her campaign said, while Kleefisch Consulting is her husband’s. The report also lists Triple J Outfitters LLC. It’s a partnership between Joel Kleefisch and former GOP state Rep. Adam Jarchow, who’s running for AG. The firm provides guided hunts.
The report also lists eight clients, including 1848 Project and Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin. Rebecca Kleefisch launched the 1848 Project as a conservative think tank ahead of her run for guv and worked as a jobs ambassador to ABC. Her campaign said the other clients — such as the Wisconsin Psychological Association — are Joel Kleefisch’s.
Her campaign has said before that Joel Kleefisch would cease lobbying if his wife won the guv’s office, and a spokesman confirmed that stance again yesterday.
*State law only requires candidates to list their Wisconsin real estate, so Michels’ report doesn’t include the homes he owns in New York and Connecticut that made headlines earlier this spring. He lists four Wisconsin properties in Hartland, Lomira, Milwaukee and Deerfield. Public officials and candidates aren’t required to list their principal residence.
Michels lists one debt of more than $50,000 to the National Exchange Bank & Trust.
*Besides Nicholson’s partnership in G.H. Smart & Co., the management firm where he works, his report noted his wife Jessie Nicholson does freelance communications work. He also listed two debts, each worth more than $50,000: Chase Auto and the U.S. Department of Education.
See Kleefisch’s report: