Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly: https://forms.gle/YLYZtJWHPSt24HhZ7

Quotes of the week

“You can’t continue to riot for 100 days without having some sort of financial support.”
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, suggesting to Vicki McKenna on WISN-AM that federal CARES Act funds may be funding violent protests.

“If we can have a consensus emerge, we could take something up as early as next week. But beyond that, the next real trigger date is the end of the month.”
– U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, speaking to reporters on ongoing negotiations over the next coronavirus relief package.


This week’s news

— The presidential race in Wisconsin was largely unchanged in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll — even after the turmoil in Kenosha.

Forty-seven percent of likely voters backed Joe Biden, while 43 percent supported Donald Trump. Meanwhile, 4 percent backed Libertarian Jo Jorgensen.

Last month, 49 percent backed Biden, while 44 percent supported Trump. The previous poll didn’t ask about Jorgensen, who wasn’t added to the Wisconsin ballot until after the poll was conducted.

The new poll was in the field Aug. 30-Sept. 3, after the violent protests in Kenosha following a police officer shooting a Black man in the back seven times. Trump visited the southeastern Wisconsin city in the middle of the poll being conducted, while Biden was there on the final day it was in the field.

The poll found few changes in Wisconsin voters’ views of racial justice protests, Black Lives Matter or how Trump is handling the issue.

Thirty-six percent of registered voters approved of the way Trump has been handling the protests, while 54 percent disapproved. That’s a slight change from August, when 32 percent approved of his approach to the protests. In June, it was 30 percent.

Poll Director Charles Franklin said the survey responses were evenly split before and after Trump’s visit to Kenosha, and the results show Republicans moved significantly on the issue after his stop. Prior to the visit, 65 percent of Republicans said they approved of Trump’s handling of the protests, while 87 percent approved afterward.

But Franklin said there was no significant difference in responses from Dems and independents before his visit compared to afterward.

“The effect that we do find is really concentrated on the people that are already with the president, already his biggest supporters,” Franklin said. “But they do appear to have rallied behind him on his handling of the protests in the wake of his visit.”

See more.


— Vice President Mike Pence made a pitch to farmers and workers while Dem vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris spoke of the challenges facing minority- and female-owned businesses as the two stumped on opposite sides of Wisconsin on Labor Day.

Speaking at Dairyland Power Cooperative in La Crosse, Pence repeatedly praised President Trump, including his work to replace NAFTA. In doing so, he took a swipe at Harris, who was one of 10 senators who voted against the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement the Trump administration negotiated.

Pence called the deal a win for Wisconsin workers and farmers.

“Here at Dairyland Power, you deserve to know Sen. Harris put their radical environmental agenda ahead of Wisconsin dairy and ahead of Wisconsin power,” Pence said. “But under President Donald Trump, we will always put Wisconsin farmers, Wisconsin businesses and Wisconsin families first.”

Harris, D-Calif., had two events in the Milwaukee area. The first was a tour of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers training facility in Wauwatosa to speak with union members and Wisconsin labor leaders. As part of that stop, she toured three labs as instructors explained what was taught in each classroom.

Harris then attended a roundtable with Black Milwaukee business later in the afternoon to discuss advancing racial equality. She told reporters following the roundtable that the conversation included the need to invest in “healthy communities because healthy communities are safe communities.”

See more on Sept. 7 stops.


— Jill Biden slammed President Trump’s national response to the COVID-19 pandemic as schools reopen, saying “at least there will be a plan in place” if her husband Joe Biden wins in November.

Biden, alongside local moms and state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, told viewers at a Green Bay Back to School virtual event that “it didn’t have to be this way,” with many school districts across the nation starting the year either entirely online or with a virtual hybrid option over fears of spreading the virus among students and teachers.

“Everything is just so chaotic,” she said. “We need a leader. We have got to have leadership to give us a direction, to come up with a national strategy and then work with the doctors and the scientists.”

See more.


— Tammy Baldwin, Ron Johnson and 89 Senate colleagues voted to confirm bankruptcy Judge Brett Ludwig’s nomination to fill a longtime vacancy on the federal bench in Milwaukee.

Only five senators, all Dems, voted against confirming Ludwig. Another four did not vote. 

Johnson praised Ludwig as a judge who is “committed to applying the law as written and not acting like super-legislators from the bench” after the Senate on Tuesday evening voted overwhelmingly to advance his nomination. 

“I was pleased to recommend and vote for Brett Ludwig today to fill an important judicial vacancy that remained open for far too long,” Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said in a Sept. 8 statement.

A Baldwin spokeswoman was not available for comment.

A spokeswoman for Pamela Pepper, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin, said the court could not set Ludwig’s start date until President Trump signs his commission. That’s a formal document empowering Ludwig to assume the judicial office.

The president’s signature on the commission and an oath of office are typically the final steps before investiture. 

The White House was not immediately available for comment.

See the roll call. 


— A Brown County judge says common sense dictates that “5 o’clock is 5 o’clock” and not a single second after, a position that would undercut the main argument in entertainer Kanye West’s lawsuit seeking to be put on Wisconsin’s November ballot as a presidential candidate.

Still, Brown County Judge John Zakowski said during yesterday’s hearing he may be wrong on that issue when it comes to the law. He also expressed concerns about several arguments West’s campaign made in suggesting it was delayed in filing his nomination papers last month.

The heart of the case is the meaning of the state’s deadline to file nomination papers of “not later than 5 p.m.” on the day they’re due. West’s campaign has argued the cutoff is actually when the clock strikes 5:01 p.m. The commission rejected that argument in ruling 5-1 last month the entertainer was late getting in his signatures, saying the deadline is when the clock strikes 5 p.m.

Zakowski said he hoped to issue a ruling  by week’s end and Monday at the latest, noting time was of the essence. But he was unconcerned about arguments that putting West on the ballot “costs too much damn money” because local governments would have to reprint thousands of ballots.

See more in this morning’s AM Update.


— West has already paid $40,000 to three law firms that have been involved in his effort to get on Wisconsin’s presidential ballot, according to his first campaign finance report.

Two of the firms have GOP ties.

Those payments include $25,000 to the Minneapolis firm of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson. The filing shows West made the payment Aug. 21, one week before he filed suit in Brown County seeking to overturn the Elections Commission’s ruling that his nomination papers were filed late and he wasn’t eligible for the ballot. One of the firm’s partners is a past secretary-treasurer of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

West also paid $10,000 to Husch Blackwell, which is headquartered in Missouri and employs Republican attorney Lane Ruhland at its Madison office. The payment was made July 20, two weeks before Ruhland and an associate dropped off West’s nomination papers with the Elections Commission.

West also paid $5,000 on Aug. 19 to the Spring Green firm of Curran and Pfeil. Attorney Michael Curran represented West before the state Elections Commission during the Aug. 20 hearing that resulted in the ruling that the nomination papers were filed late.

See more.


— Gov. Tony Evers urged FEMA to rescind recently issued guidance he says would “require our state to revise its disaster response strategy midstream.”

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, Evers warned recent guidance issued by the agency on the limitations of eligibility for the Public Assistance program could “diminish our ability to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Evers said in the letter the state has relied on “broad eligibility” for funds articulated in guidance the agency published in March. Under that guidance, the state acquired and distributed PPE and sanitary supplies to make schools, prisons and other gathering places safe.

But the guv said guidance published earlier this month would restrict the use of those funds.

“For the many expenditures for which the state was counting on FEMA support that would no longer be eligible under the September 1 guidance, the state will need to either divert resources from other response programs to pay for them or forgo them altogether,” he wrote in the letter.

See the letter.


— In his first TV ad of the 2020 campaign, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher says when he took an oath to defend the country from enemies foreign and domestic, “I never imagined a virus would be one of them.”

Gallagher’s campaign said it spent $90,000 on the ad through Sept. 15. It is the first in a series of spots through the November election, when the Green Bay Republican and ex-Marine faces state Rep. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton. It will run in the Green Bay market on broadcast TV, cable and digital.

The ad includes some of the same footage of Gallagher running through the northeastern Wisconsin seat that appeared in a spot four years ago during his first bid for the seat.

The new spot weaves in video of health care workers, first responders and “everyday workers.”

“This crisis has tested our resolve and challenged Northeastern Wisconsin to come together,” Gallagher says. “Like always, we have risen to the challenge. Nurses and doctors, first responders, and every day workers. They never quit, and neither will I.”

See the ad.

See the 2016 ad.


— Trump and Biden’s campaigns have both rolled out a series of ads.

They included:
* a Sept. 8 Trump radio ad touting the president’s successes to Black voters;
*two Sept. 8 spots from the Biden campaign focusing on preserving Social Security and improving healthcare;
* a Sept. 4 Trump campaign ad boasting unemployment numbers, economic growth

See more on ads at Battleground Wisconsin 2020.


— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and her colleagues asked Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to improve healthcare accessibility by expanding coverage to include audio-only conferencing, telephone calls and text messaging.

See the release.


— U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, introduced the Managing Predators Act to remove the gray wolf from the list of federal endangered species, give states the ability to control wolf populations within their borders and permanently bar federal officials from interfering with state population control. 

See the release


— U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, announced CARES Act funding for Janesville, Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, saying he is happy to see more than $3.3 million go to the southeastern Wisconsin communities to address their needs by rebuilding the economy.

See the release


— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, supports legislation to overturn President Trump’s executive action on payroll taxes, saying the president’s plan to defer the taxes does not offer any sort of relief to workers but threatens the integrity of Social Security.

See the release.


Posts of the week



Steil calls for investigation of Union Grove veterans home where 10 people with COVID have died

GOP members of House Judiciary Committee demand Nadler condemn Antifa

‘This is an outside insurgency’: Ron Johnson suggests CARES Act may be funding Kenosha instigators

‘Chaos’ and ‘violence’: Wisconsin leader slams Trump visit by invoking Biggie Smalls

‘This is dangerous’: Sen. Tammy Baldwin wants USPS operational changes reversed, saying they are delaying mail

Healing Needs to Happen: Kenosha Native Rep. Mark Pocan on Trump’s Visit & the U.S. “Policing Problem”

GOP Lawmaker Joins German Opposition in Push for Merkel to Ditch Russian Pipeline

Campaigning in opposite corners of Wisconsin, Pence and Harris respond differently to Kenosha shooting and unrest

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