Tribes Say $700K GTAC Donation To Club For Growth Won’t Make Difference In Mine Battle

Tribal Leader Mike Wiggins Believes There's Connection Between Donations, Passage Of Mining Legislation


The $700,000 donation from mining company Gogebic Taconite to the conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth doesn’t make a difference to Ojibwe tribes in their effort to stop a proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin.

Documents released from a state investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign revealed the $700,000 donation made three years ago. Bad River Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins said that the discovery surprised him, but that it also made sense

“I reconcile it against the deaf ears and the blind push to pass that mining law that was written by the mining company,” said Wiggins. “It’s clear to see that that money motivated some of those folks. Again, all the money in the world can’t make the negative things that would come with exploding the headwaters go away.”

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It also makes sense for GTAC, according to the company’s spokesman Bob Seitz.

“Club for Growth carries the ball in favor of Wisconsin’s economy and jobs,” said Seitz. “There’s no business in Wisconsin that cares more about jobs than the mining company.”

Seitz said GTAC has spent $1.25 million for mining exploration in the Penokee Hills this year alone. Wiggins said the Bad River band of Lake Superior Ojibwe isn’t intimidated by the figure.

“When I think about all the money in the world that these billionaires and these mining companies control … at the end of the day, it can’t even come close to the value of these places and what they mean for all of life including humans,” said Wiggins.

Wiggins said that Bad River has a legal defense fund, but that there are no large donors to it. The money is raised from potlucks and pow-wows not only in the far north, but also in Madison, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.