ICYMI: Tammy Baldwin Paid Clinton Lawyer $90K For Crisis Control After VA Scandal

Tammy Baldwin Paid Clinton Lawyer $90K For Crisis Control After VA Scandal

The Washington Free Beacon

Joe Schoffstall

March 19, 2017

 

Read the story below or online here.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) paid Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer $90,000 for crisis control following a Veteran Affairs facility scandal that engulfed the senator and her staff.

Baldwin, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012, was the only member of Congress from Wisconsin to receive an official federal government inspector general report warning of the over-prescription of narcotics given to veterans at the Tomah VA facility in her state. The abuses at the facility ultimately led to the death of a Marine.

A memo was first circulated in 2009 warning of the dangerous amounts of narcotics prescribed to veterans at the Tomah VA facility by Dr. David Houlihan, the Tomah VA chief of staff.

Workers at the facility were hesitant to speak out against Dr. Houlihan, who earned the nickname “the candy man” from his prescriptions, due to fear of losing their jobs.

“It is a known fact that if providers or pharmacists refuse to follow Dr. Houlihan’s orders, they will be yelled at and perhaps fired,” the memo stated.

In 2014, five years after the initial warning, a Marine was prescribed a deadly amount of drugs by the medical center and overdosed. Dr. Houlihan was fired from the Tomah VA in 2015.

It was later discovered that Baldwin was the only member of Congress from Wisconsin to receive the inspector general report on the abuses at Tomah. Baldwin did not take action until it became public nearly four months later and the veteran had died.

Marquette Baylor, the former deputy state director for Baldwin, was fired from her position following the controversy. Baylor was offered a severance package if she were to sign a confidentiality agreement on the matter. Baylor rejected the offer.

Baldwin tapped Marc Elias, a partner at the D.C.-based Perkins Coie law firm, to help with crisis control on the scandal.

Elias is considered the “go-to fixer” for Democrats and was behind Soros-backed lawsuits against voter identification laws in numerous states leading up to the 2016 presidential election, including a lawsuit in Wisconsin. Elias was serving as Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer at the time he was brought in to help Baldwin.

Perkins Coie, which has been on Baldwin’s campaign payroll since 2011, was paid $87,779 by the senator’s campaign committee for the services Elias provided in weathering the Tomah VA scandal, filings show. Perkins Coie was given a combined $50,994 the five other years that they appear on Baldwin’s campaign payroll.

Baldwin quietly stepped away from the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee this year, the committee that has oversight over the Tomah VA, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported.

The Wisconsin Republican Party recently launched its first digital ad against Baldwin for the 2018 election cycle hitting Baldwin over the Tomah VA scandal.

“When Senator Baldwin had a chance to protect Wisconsin’s veterans, she protected the status quo instead and then called in a high-powered lawyer to clean up the mess,” Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, told the Free Beacon. “She can get all the help she wants from Hillary Clinton’s scandal attorney and the liberal elites in Washington, but Wisconsinites have made it clear they’re fed up with insiders who have been part of the problem for decades.”

Baldwin’s office did not return a request for comment by press time.

ICYMI: Scott Walker, Brad Schimel call on Tammy Baldwin to support Supreme Court nominee

 

Scott Walker, Brad Schimel call on Tammy Baldwin to support Supreme Court nominee

The Cap Times

Jessie Opoien

February 23, 2017

 

Read the story below or online here.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s public fight with Sen. Tammy Baldwin continued Wednesday as the Republican governor called on the Democratic senator to give President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee a vote.

Baldwin said earlier this month she would not provide one of the 60 votes needed for Judge Neil Gorsuch to overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

The Supreme Court seat, vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, has been open for nearly a year, after Republicans refused to hold confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee.

“People can discuss all they want about the nomination that was made last year. We can’t rehash that, we can’t go back in time, whether you agree or disagree with that process,” Walker said. “Going forward, the only choice before the United States Senate is whether or not they’re going to confirm this nomination to the Supreme Court.”

Walker was joined by Attorney General Brad Schimel, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce CEO Kurt Bauer and Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty president Rick Esenberg at a press conference organized by the conservative Judicial Crisis Network.

People deserve “a court that can reach decisions,” Schimel said.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle made the vacancy a key issue in the 2016 campaign. Democrats argued Republicans weren’t doing their jobs by blocking hearings, while Republicans argued the seat should be filled by the next president.

“I would hope (Baldwin) would be consistent with what she said last year about Judge Garland, which is that there deserves to be a chance for this nomination to be heard and a vote to be taken, and that’s what I’m advocating for today,” Walker said.

Walker would not say whether he would support blocking a Trump nominee if a vacancy were to occur at the end of the president’s term.

“I’m not here to hypothesize about what’s going to happen in the third year, I’m here to advocate for what’s before us right now,” Walker said.

Schimel it was “reasonable” for Republicans to block Garland’s nomination in the months leading up to the election, but argued the difference between Obama’s nomination and a hypothetical nomination at the end of Trump’s term is that Obama was in his second term.

Walker and Baldwin sparred on Twitter earlier this month over her opposition to Gorsuch. Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, argued the motive for the press conference was to “attack Tammy Baldwin because they cannot get a credible candidate against her.”

Baldwin is seeking re-election for her second term in the the Senate next year. U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy announced last week he will not challenge Baldwin, but several other Republicans are considering it, including businessman Eric Hovde; state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa; state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield; and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson.

“I have deep concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s record of ruling against disabled students, against workers, and against women’s reproductive health care. I cannot support a Supreme Court nominee who has ruled that corporations are people. Moreover, I will not support a Supreme Court nominee who has too often favored big business over workers and retirees,” Baldwin said in a statement. “I believe Judge Gorsuch needs to earn bipartisan support and 60 votes in Senate, but I will not be one of them.”

ICYMI: Tammy Baldwin Leaves VA Investigative Oversight Committee

Tammy Baldwin quietly leaves VA investigative oversight committee

Wisconsin Watchdog

M.D. Kittle

February 22, 2017

 

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MADISON, Wis. – After all the photo-ops and press releases during her very public tenure on the committee charged with investigating alleged abuses at the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has quietly stepped aside.

The Madison Democrat who made every effort to appear out front of an opioid prescription scandal at the Tomah VA Medical Center – after she was accused of sitting on whistleblower information – has, without comment, left the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In December, Baldwin’s office sent out a press release announcing that she would continue to serve on the Appropriations and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees. Baldwin also noted that she would join the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, considered a plum assignment.

“I am proud to continue serving on Senate Appropriations and HELP Committees and I look forward to joining the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee,” the senator said. “Working on behalf of the people of Wisconsin on these committees will provide me with a great opportunity to continue focusing on issues important to our state.”

Nowhere in the statement does Baldwin mention her departure from Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, nor does she note her work on behalf of veterans’ issues.

She has been silent about the matter since.

Republicans have taken notice of Baldwin’s quiet departure.

“Senator Baldwin’s decision to run from her failures rather than stand up for Wisconsin’s veterans is shameful,” Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said in an email. “Instead of fighting for reforms to the system by participating in the ongoing oversight of the Tomah VA by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, she has embraced the Washington status quo and fled her responsibilities to solve the problem.”

Republicans see Baldwin, a first-term senator viewed as one of the more liberal lawmakers in Washington, as vulnerable in her 2018 re-election bid.

Baldwin’s office did not return Wisconsin Watchdog’s request for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sources say Baldwin could have continued to serve on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, chaired by Wisconsin senior Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh. Instead, she chose to move to the more prestigious — and powerful — Commerce panel.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs was extremely active in the last session. In May, it published a comprehensive report on the “Systemic Failures and Preventable Tragedies of the Tomah VA Medical Center” that described a “culture of fear” at the government-run veterans’ health care complex. Tomah was referred to as “Candyland” by whistleblowers and veterans for its opioid prescription practices. Alleged painkiller prescription abuses occurred under the direction of Dr. David Houlihan, the medical center’s director, who became known pejoratively as the “candy man.”

Multiple federal investigations raised myriad concerns about the medical center’s health care delivery and its climate of retaliation and intimidation alleged by whistleblowers.

Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski, 35, died from a toxic mix of more than a dozen drugs at the VA facility in August 2014. Two years later, his family filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against the U.S. government.

Baldwin would go on to author the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act , which was enacted as part of a broader measure in July 2016.

The Simcakoski family praised the senator for her work on the bill, and Baldwin widely promoted her efforts.

“I’m proud to have worked with the Simcakoski family to introduce these bipartisan VA reforms,” Baldwin said in a statement last year after House passage. “My goal is to enact these meaningful reforms to prevent Jason’s tragedy from happening to other veterans and their families.”

But the legislation arrived after Baldwin was accused of sitting on reports that showed dangerous problems inside the Tomah medical center.

She was the only member of Congress from Wisconsin to have received an inspector general’s report detailing the abuses at Tomah. She took no action until the scandal became public four months later.

Other lawmakers and staff, including aides to Johnson, were alerted to some of the abuses long before the IG report but failed to take direct action, according to investigative reports. Baldwin, however, had access to the report and multiple whistleblowers had reached out to the senator’s office for help.

When the story heated up in early 2015, Baldwin blamed a staffer and then fired her. The senator was accused of a cover-up. The staffer, Marquette Baylor, was offered a severance package – with a gag order. The report raised questions about the possible misuse of taxpayer funds.

Baldwin survived a Senate ethics investigation when the Select Committee on Ethics in October 2015 dismissed multiple complaints, ruling that they lacked merit.

“Nothing can change the fact that Senator Baldwin failed to act when she had reason to believe Wisconsin’s veterans were in danger,” the GOP’s Zimmerman said.

ICYMI: Tammy Baldwin Flip Flops on Supreme Court

Tammy Baldwin changes views on how quickly to act on a Supreme Court nomination

Politifact Wisconsin

Eric Litke

February 22, 2017

 

Read the story below or online here.

Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin was one of many U.S. senators who abruptly switched from offense to defense in the wake of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The contrast has been particularly sharp when it comes to Supreme Court nominees.

Baldwin, a Democrat, was a vocal supporter of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee, but was quick to push back against Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

When Garland was nominated in March 2016, Republicans moved to block his nomination, which prompted the ire of Democrats.

Baldwin declared: “It’s the constitutional duty of the president to select a Supreme Court nominee, and the Senate has a responsibility to give that nominee a fair consideration with a timely hearing and a timely vote.”

Baldwin also tweeted in May 2016 that Garland deserved “an up or down vote,” adding the hashtag #doyourjob.

Since the Republican-led Senate never held a confirmation hearing or vote for Garland, the seat remained open for Trump to fill. He announced Gorsuch as that pick Jan. 31, 2017.

Two days later, Baldwin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she would support a filibuster to block the Gorsuch nomination, would vote against the Senate action required to block a filibuster and would vote against Gorsuch if he made it to a final vote.

Is that consistent with her position on Garland’s nomination that the Senate should vote for a nominee in a timely manner?

We thought that was a question for the Flip-O-Meter, which examines whether a politician has been consistent on an issue.

Not all votes created equal

The Garland and Gorsuch nominations came up in dramatically different contexts — one a nominee late in a lame duck presidency, the other immediately after a highly divisive campaign.

Baldwin — like most other senators — switched sides between the two nominees.

In an email, Baldwin spokesman John Kraus said the senator’s position is consistent because she supported a hearing, a committee vote and a floor vote for both nominees.

But the voting claim isn’t quite that simple.

Figuring this out means diving into Senate rules of procedure.

When the minority party filibusters an initiative, as many Democrats have pledged to do with the Gorsuch nomination, the majority party can force a vote through a procedure called cloture. This effectively ends the filibuster by limiting the debate to 30 more hours.

For cloture to pass, it must be supported by 60 of the 100 senators.

That creates a higher threshold for nomination.

Gorsuch would otherwise need only a majority to be approved — and the Republicans hold that majority. Cloture is unusual but not unprecedented, having been used four times for Supreme Court nominees since 1968.

Kraus said Baldwin is consistent because she “supports” a cloture vote, even though she would vote against Gorsuch in that vote.

But cloture is a maneuver executed by the majority party (Republicans in this case), so Baldwin’s “support” for that is both unnecessary and irrelevant.

(Cloture and the 60-vote threshold itself could also become irrelevant if Republicans choose to use what has been termed the “nuclear option,” a parliamentary procedure by which they can use majority votes to override the requirement for a supermajority, effectively overcoming a filibuster with just 51 votes. Democrats did this to push through Obama’s lower court appointments in 2013, but it hasn’t been used for a Supreme Court nominee.)

Baldwin said during the Garland process the Senate should give him “fair consideration,” and she pledged the same thing to Gorsuch in a statement issued the day of his nomination.

Two days later she announced plans to vote against Gorsuch, before meeting with him or participating in any hearing process.

Gov. Scott Walker labeled Baldwin a hypocrite on Twitter for telling others to meet with Garland but deciding on Gorsuch before meeting with him.

But Kraus said Baldwin had reviewed the backgrounds and records of Gorsuch and other finalists before Trump’s announcement.

He said that allowed time to give fair consideration before deciding she would oppose Gorsuch due to a “record of ruling against disabled students, against workers and against women’s reproductive health care.”

Our rating

When Baldwin’s party put forth a Supreme Court nominee, she advocated for a “timely vote” and an “up or down vote.” A common-sense interpretation is that she wanted a final nomination vote, where passing meant being approved by the Senate.

But now that Baldwin is in the minority and facing a Republican nominee, she is supporting a filibuster that creates a roadblock to reaching that final vote. Her claim to “support” a cloture vote makes no sense since that isn’t up to her party — cloture would be pushed by Republicans and is only needed if Baldwin and other Democrats pursue a filibuster.

And that cloture vote would only advance the process, not result in a final decision on Gorsuch.

That’s what we call a Full Flop.

Reform America Fund Releases New Ad Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sep 19, 2016
Contact: Chris Martin
Press@ReformAmericaFund.com
(608) 535-9025

MADISON – Following another week of Hillary Clinton misleading the American people, Reform America Fund has launched a new ad campaign in Wisconsin titled “C is for Clinton.” The seven-figure ad campaign will reach voters on statewide television, radio and digital platforms.

Watch the new ad.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton used a private, unsecured e-mail server to transmit highly classified material that put America’s national security in jeopardy. Following a concussion in 2012, Clinton told the FBI that she was unable to recall security briefings or details about how the server was set up. She then erased thousands of e-mails and refused to turn the server over to investigators until they threatened to seize it.

“Americans don’t trust Hillary Clinton to tell them the truth because of her record of lies, scandals and misuse of power.” – Chris Martin, Reform America Fund spokesman

Senator Russ Feingold Voted to Spend Billions On Foreign Companies

MADISON – Today Reform America Fund launched a new ad campaign that highlights Russ Feingold’s vote for President Obama’s stimulus bill, which sent more than $2 billion to foreign companies based in places like China. The ad will reach voters on television, radio and digital platforms.

Watch the new ad on RussisWrong.com.

Senator Feingold’s Stimulus Vote is Another Example of his Misguided Washington Priorities:

  • In 2009, Feingold was a leading advocate of President Obama’s stimulus bill, which he called “very much pro-business.”
  • A report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop revealed that the failed Stimulus plan sent $2.1 billion to foreign countries.
  • Despite Feingold’s promise that the stimulus bill would create jobs in Wisconsin, the Badger State lost more than 70,000 jobs between February 2009 and November 2010.

“Senator Feingold put Wisconsin businesses on the back burner by voting for the failed stimulus bill, which increased taxes and sent more than $2 billion to foreign companies.” – Chris Martin, Reform America Fund spokesman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct 17, 2016

Contact: Chris Martin
Press@ReformAmericaFund.com
(608) 535-9025

Reform America Fund Launches New Ad Targeting Russ Feingold for Supporting Iran Nuclear Deal

MADISON – Reform America Fund launched a new television and radio ad campaign today targeting Senator Russ Feingold’s support for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. The ad sequence begins with children counting down from ten in different languages. A mushroom cloud appears once the count reaches one.

“Russ Feingold still supports funding Iran even though it will increase terrorism and put the rogue regime on a path to creating nuclear weapons,” said Reform America Spokesman Chris Martin.

The deal gives Iran $1.5 billion and in January Secretary of State John Kerry conceded on CNBC that some of the money could go to terrorist groups and there was nothing the U.S. could do to prevent it. The U.S. State Department has labeled Iran the top state sponsor of terror in the world.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said the Iran nuclear deal gives Tehran “a cash bonanza” and “a path toward nuclear weapons” while leaving the world a more dangerous place.

The ad will air statewide. View the ad on RussisWrong.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct 25, 2016

Contact: Chris Martin
Press@ReformAmericaFund.com
(608) 535-9025