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

Marc Elias is considered the 'go-to fixer' for Democrats in trouble

Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Tammy Baldwin / Getty Images

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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.

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 Schoffstall@freebeacon.com. His Twitter handle is @JoeSchoffstall.