A former staffer for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has filed a complaint against the Wisconsin Democrat. The filing with the Senate Ethics Committee by Marquette Baylor comes three months after Baylor was fired as Baldwin’s Deputy State Director, in the wake of media coverage which claimed that Baldwin’s office had failed to act on a report regarding the over-prescription of opiate painkillers to patients at the Tomah VA Medical Center.
The issue was brought to light in a January report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, and subsequent media reports showed that Baldwin’s office had been made aware of the problems at Tomah in August of 2014, but failed to act.
According to Baylor’s 16-page complaint, “Baldwin immediately sought to place the blame squarely on me. She instructed her Chief of Staff, Bill Murat, to fly to Milwaukee, fire me, and offer me a severance package that required me to stay quiet. Murat then moved into damage control, meeting with individuals in Wisconsin and telling them that the inaction was my fault.”
Baylor, who rejected the severance deal, states in the complaint that she prepared a proposed action plan on the Tomah VA report, and that Murat was actually to blame for inaction on that.
“Senator Baldwin and her staff have disparaged the truth in order to cover up Murat’s actions and to protect her political career,” the complaint states. “By attempting to place the blame at my feet, Senator Baldwin has concealed the truth, made false statements, and mischaracterized my service as the Deputy State Director. Her actions to cover up Murat’s willful misconduct are unbecoming of a United States Senator. She has acted unethically.”
Also in the complaint, Baylor characterizes a report prepared by an attorney for Baldwin as an attempt “to their spin on facts they thought would come to light.” Baldwin’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Joe Fadness Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, issued a statement in response to Baylor’s complaint.
“Tammy Baldwin has been holding back the truth for months, and this Complaint is a startling revelation that Baldwin will say and do anything to protect herself and stay in power. If true, Baldwin must finally answer lingering questions about her role in the cover-up and decision to mislead Wisconsin.”
“It’s sad that Marquette Baylor has chosen to be used as a pawn by Senator Baldwin’s right wing Republican opponents in what is nothing more than political hit job by a ‘go-to Republican firm,” said Baldwin spokesman John Kraus.
“Senator Baldwin has taken responsibility for mistakes in here office, including Marquette Baylor’s and others, and she has taken steps so that these kind of mistakes never happen again. She has made it clear that Marquette Baylor was terminated because of long term issues of poor performance on a range of issues. As Deputy State Director for Constituent Services, her mishandling of the problems at the Tomah VA was only one of those issues, but she was not let go simply because of her mishandling on the Tomah case. As Senator Baldwin has said, our former Casework Supervisor was responsible for being in charge of constituent services, but she had not put in place the most basic elements of managing and tracking constituent services. She also failed to meet the Senator’s standards for high quality constituent service and there were instances where she had been rude and inappropriate with constituents and staff that were simply unacceptable.”