Tomah VA Medical Center

Tomah VA Medical Center

The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee has dismissed three ethics complaints filed against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) over the firing of her former state office director.

The complaints, filed by Marquette Baylor and Wisconsin Republicans, sought a probe into Baylor’s firing and how Baldwin’s office handled an unreleased inspector general’s report on drug over-prescriptions and whistle-blower retaliation at the Tomah VA Hospital. Baldwin’s office on Thursday released a letter dated August 14, which states the Ethics Committee was dismissing the complaints because it found they “lacked substantial merit.”

Baylor filed her complaint in April, after she was dismissed following an internal review found Baldwin’s office had been made aware of the problems at Tomah in August of 2014, but failed to act. She maintained that she was being made to be a scapegoat for the controversy, arguing in her complaint that “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 rejected the severance package she was offered.

In a statement, Baldwin spokesman John Kraus said the decision to dismiss the ethics complaints is proof that that “these frivolous allegations are false and were nothing more than political smears.”

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