The Latest: Bank feared campaign could hurt state contract
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Bank terminating Wisconsin state treasurer candidate Travis Hartwig (all times local):
U.S. Bank terminated Wisconsin state treasurer candidate Travis Hartwig because the bank feared his campaign could be perceived as a conflict of interest as the bank pursues a new $10 million contract with the state for banking services.
The bank fired Hartwig, a Republican, from his mutual fund administrator job in Milwaukee on July 2 after he refused the bank’s request to drop out of the race.
Emails between U.S. Bank officials and Hartwig indicate the bank is pursuing a contract to provide banking services for state government worth $10 million. The officials were concerned Hartwig’s campaign could create a conflict of interest or a perceived conflict of interest.
State Department of Administration spokesman John Dipko says U.S. Bank is under contract to provide banking services through June 30, 2019. The agency plans to implement a new contract by July 1, 2019.
The reasons U.S. Bank terminated Wisconsin state treasurer candidate Travis Hartwig are becoming clearer.
Hartwig, a Republican, said the bank fired him from his mutual fund administrator job in Milwaukee on July 2 because he wouldn’t drop out of the treasurer race. He said the bank offered him no explanation about what conflicts running for that office would create.
Emails from the bank’s human resources officials to Hartwig indicate the bank was pursing $10 million worth of business with the state and the bank was concerned his campaign for treasurer could create a conflict of interest.
A spokesman for the state Department of Administration didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking details about the state’s $10 million proposal.
U.S. Bank officials are citing their conflict of interest policy in the case of a terminated Wisconsin state treasurer candidate.
Republican Travis Hartwig said U.S. Bank fired him from his mutual fund administrator job in Milwaukee on July 2 because he wouldn’t drop out of the treasurer race. He says the bank offered him no explanation about what problems running for office would create.
U.S. Bank spokeswoman Cheryl Leamon said in an email to The Associated Press on Monday that the bank has a “strong conflict of interest policy that includes perceived conflicts of interest to ensure we are able to operate ethically and transparently.”
She didn’t elaborate and said the bank doesn’t comment on employee issues to ensure their privacy.
A Republican state treasurer candidate says he was fired because he wouldn’t drop out of the race.
Travis Hartwig’s campaign said in a news release Monday that U.S. Bank fired him from his job as a mutual fund administrator at the bank’s downtown Milwaukee branch on July 2. The release said the bank told Hartwig in June to get out of the race or resign. He refused to do either.
Hartwig said in a telephone interview that company officials never explained why he couldn’t run for treasurer.
He plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Fair Employment Practices Agency later this week.
Messages left for U.S. Bank officials weren’t immediately returned Monday morning.