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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

 3:56 PM 

Sensenbrenner: Holder's testimony 'at odds' with media reports

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, along with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder seeking more information about the search of a Fox News reporter's emails, alleging details of the search were "at odds" with Holder's testimony before the committee.

The lawmakers write that although Holder testified he had not been involved in potential prosecutions of members of the press, subsequent media reports found that a Justice Department affidavit showed "probable cause" that Fox chief Washington correspondent James Rosen violated the Espionage Act in a 2009 story containing classified information.

They add that further reports showed the application for a search warrant of the emails was approved "at the highest levels" of DOJ and involved "discussions" with Holder.

"The media reports and statements issued by the Department regarding the search warrants for Mr. Rosen’s emails appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony before the Committee," the letter reads. "We believe -- and we hope you will agree -- it is imperative that the Committee, the Congress, and the American people be provided a full and accurate account of your involvement in and approval of these search warrants."

 9:34 AM 

Profile: Hard work propels Berens from Doyle to Pelosi to DGA

WASHINGTON, DC -- For more than two years Kelly Berens spent all her time – literally - next to then-Gov. Jim Doyle.

She was his "body man." She waited for the governor when he came downstairs from the residence, along with a state trooper – sometimes as early as 5 a.m. - and then shadowed him until he came home after a long day, perhaps close to midnight. This was six to seven days a week, week in and week out.

"I spent nearly every waking moment of my life with Kelly," Doyle recently recalled with a laugh.

"We just got along really well," said the 33-year-old Stevens Point native from a park bench near her downtown office where she directs events for the Democratic Governors Association.

They traveled the state together, visiting all 72 counties. Among her many responsibilities was the need to think like the governor and have an answer for every conceivable question. It helped a lot that she had previously worked for Doyle in constituent services and then as a staffer for First Lady Jessica Doyle.

Berens and the Doyles forged a four-year relationship so tight that come July, the ex-governor will marry Berens and her fiancé James Gleeson in an outdoor ceremony in Madison.

After her stint with the Doyles, Berens in 2007 moved east, with the plan to help Democrats in Washington for a year. Now it's been six.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse graduate worked for Sen. Herb Kohl and a public relations firm before landing a job that offered her a front row seat to history – working advance for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"It hasn't really even sunk in yet," she says, reflecting on her time with the first female speaker of the House. "If you had told me when I was younger that I would grow up and work for the governor and the speaker of the House, my mind would have been blown."

Working for Pelosi was demanding and Berens wanted "her life to be her own," so in 2012 she moved over to the DGA.

She's not sure what is next. Right now Berens is focused on several DGA events this summer, as well as her own wedding -- and a honeymoon.

Doyle said no matter what she chooses, he's confident Berens will succeed. He first took note of her in 2002 when she was working for one of his primary opponents, Tom Barrett.

"I remember seeing how hard she was working for him," Doyle said. "And she has continued to work just as hard."

Read the full profile for more on Berens

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

 2:19 PM 

Report: Ryan to release book next year

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is currently working on a debut book with attorney Bob Barnett, according to a report by National Review Online.

The book, according to a source close to the Janesville Republican, will mix autobiographical and political elements -- particularly emphasizing the GOP's need to articulate a vision of the "American idea" to poor and middle-class Americans.

Ryan, the party's vice presidential nominee last fall, is thus far writing on his own, according to the report. He co-authored a book with fellow House Republicans Eric Cantor of Virginia and Kevin McCarthy of California in 2010.

The report comes nearly two months after Gov. Scott Walker -- another Wisconsinite high on pundits' lists of potential GOP presidential nominees -- announced an autobiography set for release later this year. Ryan's book would come out next year.

 12:42 PM 

Baldwin touts Wisconsin as example for lawmakers in maiden Senate speech

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin struck a bipartisan tone in her maiden speech on the Senate floor this morning, saying she believes Wisconsin provides an example for the Senate and the nation as a whole.

"Even as the national economy is rebounding, and businesses in Wisconsin, middle-class families in my state really remain stuck in neutral, the manufacturing sector that sustained our prosperity for generations has taken a lot of hits" said Baldwin, D-Madison.

She added that Wisconsinites she's spoken with have grown frustrated with the economy being "titled towards those the top" while Washington bounces "from one manufactured fiscal crisis to the next."

"But you don’t see Wisconsin’s workers and business owners wallowing in crisis, or looking for someone to blame. Our state motto is one word -- forward -- and that’s the only thing we know."

She touted entrepreneurs, companies and developing industries as the key to a "'Made in Wisconsin' economy that revitalizes our manufacturing sector and rebuilds our prosperity."

And she called for a similar spirit of innovation and cooperation among senators, since "none of us came here just to audition for cable news or to win our next election before the bumper stickers from the last one even come off the cars."

"We can’t fix all those gaps in our economy with one bill, and not even Fighting Bob La Follette could close that divide in our political system with one speech," Baldwin said. "But I’m using this speech -- my first here on the Senate floor -- to say that I’m ready to work hard, and work with anyone, to make progress on these challenges and help move this great country forward."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

 3:44 PM 

Kind, Petri offer crop insurance reform bill

U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Tom Petri today announced bipartisan legislation to overhaul federal crop insurance subsidy policy.

The proposal, dubbed the AFFIRM Act -- for Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures -- would cap total subsidies at $40,000 annually per person, eliminate subsidies for those with incomes over $250,000, and require reporting by all parties receiving federally subsidized crop insurance.

In a statement, the Wisconsin lawmakers said taxpayers suffered a net loss of $276 million between 2001 and 2012 as a result of $10.3 billion in underwriting gains to crop insurance companies.

"Unlike other subsidies, Congress does not know who receives crop insurance subsidies," said Kind, D-La Crosse. "Taxpayers deserve to know where their tax dollars are going, and the AFFIRM Act will make that possible."

Petri, R-Fond du Lac, added that small farmers received only 27 percent of the subsidies, saying the bill "keeps in place a safety net for farmers who need assistance, while ensuring the program is not exploited at a cost to taxpayers."

Monday, May 13, 2013

 11:35 AM 

Pocan offers amendment establishing 'affirmative right to vote'

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan today announced the introduction of a constitutional amendment he said would require states to prove their election laws do not hinder citizens' right to vote.

The amendment, offered with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., states that every citizen of legal voting age "shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides."

"We possess no affirmative right to vote in the constitution," Pocan, D-Madison, said during a press conference in the Capitol.

He said similar language in Wisconsin's constitution resulted in a pair of injunctions on the state's 2011 voter ID law, but that states without similar language have had similar laws upheld by federal courts.

Pocan said the amendment, if passed and ratified, would place the burden on states rather than put citizens at "the mercy of state legislatures acting with partisan motives." He argued the broad language would address not only photo ID requirements, but limits on other voter access issues such as early voting hours and registration requirements.

"This amendment is as simple as it is necessary," Pocan said.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

 4:11 PM 

Baldwin details mission to Middle East

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin today announced she joined with a congressional delegation to visit Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey last week.

Baldwin, of Madison, joined fellow Dem Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Chris Murphy of Connecticut and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., on the trip. In a statement, Baldwin said she met with Wisconsin troops in Afghanistan as well as Syrian opposition leaders and refugees in Turkey.

"I came away with a deep appreciation of the fact that there are no good options in this troubling and tragic conflict. One thing is clear; a strong coalition of partners is needed to chart a productive path forward.” Baldwin said of the meetings in Turkey. “While I will not support putting American boots on the ground in Syria, I remain supportive of increased humanitarian and non-lethal assistance."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

 10:51 AM 

Johnson calls for additional hearings on Benghazi attack

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson today called for the Senate to hold additional hearings on last September's attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, saying "reports indicate that whistle-blowers who were on the ground have substantial information that can bring clarity to what happened in Benghazi for the American people."

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said in a statement that "too many important questions remain unanswered regarding the level of security leading up to the Benghazi assault, the Administration’s response during the attack and how the State Department and Administration reacted publicly after the attack. "

"I was shocked that President Obama, in his press conference yesterday, revealed that he was ignorant of these developing events," Johnson said. "This leads me to believe that this administration has no interest in providing answers to the American people."

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· Tammy Baldwin (D)
· Ron Johnson (R)

· 1st CD: Paul Ryan (R)
· 2nd CD: Mark Pocan (D)
· 3rd CD: Ron Kind (D)
· 4th CD: Gwen Moore (D)
· 5th CD: F. James Sensenbrenner (R)
· 6th CD: Glenn Grothman (R)
· 7th CD: Sean Duffy (R)
· 8th CD: Reid Ribble (R)



· July 2013: Wood's 2001 DC inauguration trip turned into new career
· May 2013: Hard work propels Berens from Doyle to Pelosi to DGA
· March 2013: Riemann uses PR skills, 'lunch-pail work ethic' to boost state interests in D.C.
· Feb. 2013: Stocks seeks to remake NEA as 'more than a traditional labor union'
· Dec. 2012: As modest Kohl bids farewell to Senate, others do the bragging
· Dec. 2012: Wisconsin experience provides guideposts to Priebus at RNC


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