Reps in the News: Gov. Evers Fights Lame-duck Laws with Private Lawyer
Governor Tony Evers
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will use a private lawyer to represent him in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn all of the laws passed by Republicans in December’s lame-duck session. Evers will be represented by the firm of Lester Pines, a Madison attorney who frequently works for Democrats in high-profile cases. Evers’ office says the governor asked Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul to represent him, but Kaul declined.
“The DOJ is unable to represent the governor in this case because it has a direct and substantial interest in the case that ethically prohibits it from defending the extraordinary session,” said Evers spokesperson Melissa Baldauff. “Whenever the DOJ has a conflict of interest, the governor appoints outside counsel. The governor selected Pines Bach due to the law firm’s expertise with litigation involving state constitutional claims.”
Like Evers, Kaul spoke out extensively against December’s lame-duck session, which reduced the powers of both the governor and attorney general before they took office.
Evers was sued in his official capacity as governor by a coalition of plaintiffs that includes the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Disability Rights Wisconsin and Black Leaders Organizing for Communities.
The groups contend that the entire lame-duck session was unlawful because the Legislature met in what’s known as an “extraordinary session,” which is not expressly permitted by the state constitution.
Although Evers is officially a defendant in the case, it’s unclear what the Pines Bach law firm will argue on the governor’s behalf, given his own opposition to the lame-duck laws.
Legislators were not named in the lawsuit, but GOP leaders have already signaled they plan to intervene in the case, voting earlier this month to authorize use of their own private attorneys.
Congressman Mike Gallagher
On Jan. 28, Rep. Gallagher introduced H.R. 765, the Serve the People, Not the Swamp Act: a collection of common-sense Congressional reforms he has supported since his first term in office. The bill would prevent Congress from going into recess without first adopting a balanced federal budget, establish a five-year ban on lobbying for members of Congress and high-ranking executive-branch officials, and terminate taxpayer-funded pensions for members of Congress.
“We need our representatives to get back to viewing their time in Congress as a deployment, not as a path to a cushy lobbying job with a special pension,” Gallagher said. “Members of Congress shouldn’t be getting retirement deals funded by taxpayers, and we shouldn’t be leaving town for weeks at a time when we haven’t even completed Congress’s most basic task of passing a budget. These ideas haven’t made me popular in D.C., but I didn’t run for Congress to be popular. I ran to fix problems, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
Source: Gallagher press release
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Sen. Baldwin co-sponsored legislation to secure back pay for the federal contractor employees who went without pay during President Trump’s recent government shutdown. The Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act, led by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), would help low-wage federal contractor employees – including janitorial, food and security-services workers – who have been furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the government shutdown.
“Thousands of federal contractors are back to work this week without the guarantee that they will get the pay they missed out on because of President Trump’s shutdown,” Baldwin said. “Some of these workers are living paycheck to paycheck, and because of the shutdown, can’t afford to pay their bills or support their families. Majority Leader McConnell needs to bring this bill to the floor for a vote so we can make sure our federal contractor employees get the paychecks they need.”
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
Responding to questions about illegal immigration, Sen. Johnson said he supports barriers at the border as well as other security measures while lamenting the shutdown as a drain on the economy. In an interview with WPR’s Rob Ferrett and Derrell Connor on Central Time, Johnson laid out his stance and chided Democrats for making an about-face on immigration policy, tying it to President Donald Trump’s election.
“I introduced the Shutdown Fairness Act, which would just pay people that are actually being forced to work,” Johnson said. “I’m trying to get all my Republican senators to co-sponsor that to show the president that this is where the Republican Senate wants to be. I already have 20 co-sponsors on that.”
President Donald Trump
After President Donald Trump leveled a rare Twitter attack against Fox News – a network he normally praises for its favorable coverage of him – one of the conservative channel’s anchors lambasted the president for “bullying journalists.” Fox News anchor Julie Banderas was outraged after Trump posted a tweet Sunday night complaining about her network’s coverage of the fallout from the 35-day partial government shutdown and the negotiations for border-wall funding.
“Never thought I’d say this but I think @johnrobertsFox and @GillianHTurner @FoxNews have even less understanding of the Wall negotiations than the folks at FAKE NEWS CNN & NBC!” Trump tweeted.
In a reply to the president’s tweet, Banderas said, “@realDonaldTrump This is NOT right. I stand by my colleagues @johnrobertsFox and @GillianHTurner They don’t deserve this. No reporter does. They are doing their jobs and reporting the facts. They are not opinion journalists and deserve the respect from the @WhiteHouse they cover.”