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Walker campaign ad: Burke mismanaged federal grant at state Commerce Department

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Governor Scott Walker claims in his latest campaign ad that his challenger Mary Burke might have cost Wisconsin taxpayers 25-million dollars. However, the figure has come into question, after the A-P said that Walker's G-O-P campaign used "creative math." Burke ran the former state Commerce Department when it helped attract drug-maker Abbott Laboratories to Pleasant Prairie in Kenosha County. However, the company never moved from its Illinois headquarters. Now, the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development is ordering the state to pay back a $12.3-million federal grant.

Tom Evenson of the Walker camp notes that Burke's agency spent the grant -- and the state will need a similar amount to give it back to HUD, thus the possible $25-million expense. However the A-P notes that Abbott still has time to carry out its original plans -- and the grant only has to be paid back if 2,400 jobs are not created in Pleasant Prairie by 2016.

Burke's camp denies that she made a bad deal -- and they point to a recent comment by Pleasant Prairie administrator Mike Pollocoff in saying the project is still alive. He said Abbott has planned a campus that its business can grow into when the time is right.

Evenson said it cannot be a good deal for anyone if the land remains vacant.

The money eventually went to Abbott, and the firm has not commented.

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