December 6, 2012
Last February, when the legislature was considering a bill that would allow a new iron mine to open in Northern Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel accurately reported our comments about State Senator Dale Schultz and his efforts to kill the legislation.
“Let’s get straight to the point: If the opportunity for iron mining, more than a billion dollars in private-sector investment, and thousands of quality jobs in mining, manufacturing, and ancillary businesses that would last for decades, go swirling down the drain in Wisconsin, you can chalk up the entire fiasco to the efforts of one man: State Senator Dale W. Schultz, R (for RINO), Richland Center,” the group said.
It was no surprise when Schultz and his liberal buddies, Senators Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) succeeded in killing AB426 in the State Senate by one vote. But we all had to scratch our heads when Tim Sullivan, the former Bucyrus President and head of the Wisconsin Mining Association (WMA) joined forces with the three amigos to create new legislation that would prove unworkable to Gogebic Taconite, the only iron mining company that actually owns mineral rights in Northern Wisconsin, and the only company that has already invested millions of dollars exploring the feasibility of a Wisconsin mine. The new legislation would provide political cover to the Senators who voted to kill thousands of family supporting jobs, “We’re not opposed to mining, blah, blah, blah…”
But what was in it for Sullivan?
Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided the answer.
Turns out Sullivan was moonlighting from his “volunteer” work with the WMA to secure a lucrative board appointment with Gogebic’s biggest competitor.
“It’s absolutely a conflict of interest,” said Bob Seitz, chief lobbyist for Gogebic Taconite, the firm hoping to open the large mine in Ashland and Iron counties. Seitz described Cliffs as Gogebic’s “main competition” in the production of taconite pellets.
Sullivan said he doesn’t view his work with the association as a conflict. In addition, Sullivan said he sees no problem with sitting on the out-of-state company’s board and advocating on mining issues in Wisconsin. He said he also does consulting work for other mining interests, which he declined to disclose.
When told about Sullivan’s new board appointment, (a fact Sullivan neglected to mention as he testified on the mining bill), Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder said “I find this very disturbing. This raises some pretty serious red flags about Tim Sullivan’s personal ethics and all of his comments about mining over the last six months.”