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Is PFA S.O.L? Lawmakers call for audit of questionable Finance Authority

Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 10, 2019 

By Bill Osmulski, MacIver News Service

MADISON — State lawmakers are demanding an audit of Wisconsin’s Public Finance Authority (PFA) following a report in the Wall Street Journal that the quasi-government entity is responsible for selling the riskiest municipal bonds in the country.

“The article raises serious questions about the integrity and practices of an organization created by the legislature,” a group of 17 lawmakers stated in a letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee earlier this week. 

Joint Audit Committee Co-Chair Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) says he’s all on board with auditing the PFA.
“It needs to be looked at, especially with the concerns over the defaults,” Cowles told MacIver News on Monday. “This is a high priority for me to do this.”

The Wall Street Journal piece asserts, “Wisconsin has long been famous for its lakes and cheese. Now it is becoming known for risky debt.” 

“Wisconsin is home to the Public Finance Authority, an agency that has issued billions of dollars in tax-exempt debt across the U.S. for projects ranging from senior-living communities to student housing. Many projects claim no direct economic ties to Wisconsin,” the article notes. 

Make that, most projects claim no direct economic ties to Wisconsin. 

MacIver News Service has reported extensively on the PFA over the past two years, including a story last yearthat Gov. Tony Evers has two items in his statement of economic interests indicating he has investments through the PFA.

Read more from MacIver News Service here 

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