When U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin was engulfed in the Tomah V.A. scandal in 2015, she turned to Democrat power attorney Marc Elias for help. Elias, “the go to guy for Democrats in trouble, as columnist Dan Bice put it, helped Baldwin navigate questions about the termination of staffer Marquette Baylor. As Bice reported in February 2015:
The Journal Sentinel reported that Baldwin canned Baylor on Jan. 22 as the first-term Democratic senator was coming under heat for her handling of the Tomah controversy.
Baldwin’s office sat for months on an inspection report that found officials at the Tomah medical center were prescribing high amounts of opiate pain pills to patients. She began calling for a federal investigation only after news reports ran in January showing that as many as three vets died after receiving treatment at Tomah.
According to FEC records, the Baldwin Campaign paid the Perkins Coie law firm nearly 90,000 in 2015, during the VA scandal, and continued to pay the firm in 2016:
2016: Baldwin campaign spent $2,215 on legal expenses with Perkins Coie
2015: Baldwin campaign spent $87,779 on legal expenses with Perkins Coie
2014: Baldwin campaign spent $2,299 on legal expenses with Perkins Coie
2013: Baldwin campaign spent $14,337 on legal expenses with Perkins Coie
2012: Baldwin campaign spent $30,839 on legal expenses with Perkins Coie
2011: Baldwin campaign spent $1,304 on legal expenses with Perkins Coie
Media Trackers reached out to the Baldwin campaign on Thursday afternoon to ask why the firm remained on the campaign payroll in 2016 and whether Elias continues to work for the campaign now. We were told someone would get back to us on Friday. No one did. We left a voice mail on Friday which has not yet been returned.
Media Trackers also reached out to the Republican Party of Wisconsin for comment:
“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. Then she fled the Senate committee conducting oversight to protect our veterans,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “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.