Russ Feingold Remains On Sidelines in Democratic Presidential Primary

Walking Fine Line Between Sanders and Clinton

Russ Feingold

Russ Feingold / AP


Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin who is running once again in an attempt to regain his seat, has yet to endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential field, and the decision could prove to be a difficult one given his past actions relating to both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Shortly after being defeated by Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in 2010, Feingold launched the Progressives United PAC with a stated mission to give "progressives a voice in our elections, and to support candidates that will stand up to corporate influence and oppose those who blindly push the agenda of their corporate backers."

The PAC, however, donated just five percent of its money to candidates while pouring millions into fundraising, salaries, and administrative purposes. Due to its expenditures and Feingold’s attempt to regain his Senate seat, the PAC has been put under a microscope in recent months and deemed a "slush fund" by critics.

Despite the PAC doing little in the way of helping progressive candidates monetarily, Feingold did cut a check for Bernie Sanders on January 12 in the amount of $1,000. The former senator recently heaped praise on Sanders, saying he’s an "honorable person" and a committed progressive.

Feingold also requested to speak to Hillary Clinton as she was serving as Secretary of State.

The request was highlighted in an email sent on August 1, 2009, from Huma Abedin to Hillary Clinton stating, "Feingold asking to talk between 8 and 9am. Should I say 9?" Hillary replied, "No, 8 is better."

Later, under Secretary John Kerry, Feingold was appointed Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Feingold has walked a fine line between Sanders and Clinton, who he said would make a fine president during recent remarks, despite being a part of the Elizabeth Warren and Sanders wing of the party before its rise in the current election.

Betsy Ankney, Johnson’s campaign manager, told the Washington Free Beacon that Feingold is now finding himself in a lose-lose situation.

"Ultimately, Senator Feingold faces a lose-lose proposition – run with a fellow professional politician nobody trusts, or a self-admitted Socialist who shares his far-out ideology," Ankney said.



Joe Schoffstall   Email Joe | Full Bio | RSS
Joe Schoffstall is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Previously, he spent three years with the Media Research Center and was most recently with the Capitol City Project. He can be reached at His Twitter handle is @JoeSchoffstall.

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