DC Wrap: Baldwin raises concern over federal judicial nominee’s past statements; Kind on election interference

DC Wrap

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Register today for the following WisPolitics.com event:

*A March 7 DC breakfast with U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and the Millennial Action Project.

Quotes of the week, Feb. 16-22

The walls vary drastically in design, from tall and metal, to shorter and see-through, but they share one thing in common: each protects America from outside threats. And that’s something to get behind!
– U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, in a fundraising email this week asking respondents to vote for their favorite of eight prototypes for President Trump’s border wall. See the poll and fundraising email.

Kimberly-Clark made $3.3 billion in profits last year and this plant contributed mightily. I have a hard time understanding this plant is meeting and exceeding its goals and that it’s on the shutdown list.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, speaking with Kimberly-Clark workers facing layoffs, as quoted in the Appleton Post Crescent, following the company announcing last month it’ll close two plants in the Fox Valley. Baldwin has been critical of the company benefiting from the GOP tax overhaul law but cutting jobs, sending a letter to Kimberly-Clark’s board of directors earlier this month.

This week’s news

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, is raising concerns about the nomination of Wisconsin attorney Gordon Giampietro to the federal bench after past writings surfaced in which he called “calls for diversity” a “code for relaxed standards.”

BuzzFeed also reported he called the birth control pill an “assault on nature” and appeared to describe same-sex relationships as “troubled.”

Baldwin said the comments were not provided to the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission, which identified him as a candidate for the vacancy on the federal bench in Milwaukee.

“Both what was said, and the fact that it was not disclosed to the commission, raise serious questions about whether this nominee would be able to serve as a fair and impartial judge on a federal court,” a Baldwin spokesman said.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, trusts the process.

“Sen. Johnson trusts and continues to respect the judgement of the bipartisan federal nominating commission that recommended Mr. Giampietro for this position,” a spokesman said.

— Baldwin was also recently named Outstanding Senate Legislator of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans.

The title, part of the DAV’s Advocacy Awards, was given to Baldwin for “her strong leadership and willingness to work across party lines to engage stakeholders on combating the opioid epidemic with a commitment to ensuring ill and injured veterans have personalized care and safe alternatives for pain management,” according to a DAV post.

Baldwin headlines a WisPolitics.com luncheon in Madison later today. See more in the WisPolitics.com subscriber PM Update.

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind wants to find out whether Wisconsin’s election system was breached by Russian hackers in the 2016 presidential election.

Kind, D-La Crosse, recently penned a letter to the Department of Homeland Security asking officials to notify the state regarding the degree to which hackers were successful in penetrating the voting systems.

“What makes our democracy work is the belief in free and fair elections,” Kind said in a statement. “We need to do everything in our power to ensure that our election process is protected against outside interference.”

DHS has previously said Russia successfully targeted the voting systems of 21 states, including Wisconsin, although DHS has not said what states were successfully breached or the extent of the interference.

See the letter.

— All members of the state’s congressional delegation signed onto a recent letter urging support for a request from Quad/Graphics in Wisconsin’s 5th CD.

The letter, led by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to let the company set up a special economic zone known as a Foreign Trade Zone that would let Quad/Graphics “correct … perverse incentives” to continue to allow it to manufacture ink.

“Quad/Graphics provides thousands of family-sustaining jobs across Wisconsin, including many in my district,” Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said in a statement. “It’s important that we correct these perverse trade incentives that would put family’s livelihoods in jeopardy.”

See the letter.

— House Speaker Paul Ryan met President Trump over the weekend at the president’s resort in Florida.

The White House called the meeting “productive” and said they discussed border security, the GOP tax overhaul, infrastructure and last week’s school shooting in Florida.

“The president looks forward to continuing his close collaboration with Speaker Ryan as they work to accomplish their shared legislative priorities this year,” the White House said.

See the White House readout of the meeting.

— The state’s congressional delegation is seeing two staff moves this week.  

Bernadette Green, spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, is heading to Silicon Valley to work as a public relations specialist at PayPal.

Green worked in the Glenbeulah Republican’s office since May 2016.

Meanwhile, Amanda Sherman, spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, will be working at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to give communications aid to Dem congressional candidates running in rural and suburban Republican-held districts.

Taking over for her in the La Crosse Dem’s office is Aaron White, who has worked in Kind’s office since 2015 as a scheduler and press assistant.

Posts of the week

We have some wonderful interns in the DC office this semester. If you call my office, you'll most likely speak to…

Posted by Congressman Glenn Grothman on Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin Proposes Made in America Shipbuilding Act

US Senator Tammy Baldwin met with Kimberly-Clark workers

U.S. Sen. Baldwin stumps in Rice Lake

Locals protest outside of Mike Gallagher’s Office after a school shooting

Democrats Line Up To Challenge Northern Wisconsin US Rep. Sean Duffy