The Legislature's budget committee has approved a contract with Sun Mountain Kegonsa, a private equity firm, for it to manage Wisconsin's new venture capital fund.
The contract with Sun Mountain Kegonsa was recommended to lawmakers by the Department of Administration. It would have the state contribute $25 million toward the fund; Sun Mountain Kegonsa would come up with at least another $5 million.
Democrats, led by Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D- La Crosse, proposed tighter limits on investment managers' expenses and Joint Finance Committee approval for any changes to the contract.
“It's nothing about any personalities on the committee,” said Shilling. “It is about the responsibilities of a Finance member, and a $25 million venture capital contract.”
Republicans defeated that plan, with Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair John Nygren saying it would inject politics into investment decisions.
“We're trusting with it making decisions that are in the best interest of a good return, rather than who's going to win the next election,” said Nygren.
Lawmakers did make changes to the contract, such as requiring annual audits of the investment manager's financial statements by an independent certified public accountant. Once the contract is redrawn to reflect that, it will need approval from Nygren and fellow Finance Committee Co-Chair Alberta Darling.