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Friday, February 20, 2015

 10:20 AM 

State GOP files complaint over severance offered to former Baldwin staffer

The state GOP today accused U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of misappropriating taxpayer dollars by offering an aide a severance package that contained a nondisclosure agreement.

Baldwin aide Marquette Baylor was fired over the handling of a report on the prescription practices of the Tomah VA. A Baldwin attorney shot back the complaint filed with the Senate Ethics Committee was frivolous.

The GOP complaint focused on the severance package offered to Baylor, who was Baldwin's deputy state director for constituent services. It cited a media report the package included a nearly six-figure payout for the aide.

"As part of a massive cover-up, Tammy Baldwin wrongly appropriated taxpayer funds to compensate a Senate employee who would not have performed official government duties while also fraudulently offering a contract to silence a former employee in order to save Baldwin's own political career," the complaint charged.

The complaint asks the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to begin an investigation.

"This is a frivolous allegation wholly without merit and nothing more than a political stunt," said Baldwin attorney Marc Elias. "It is unfortunate that the Republican Party has made the choice to play partisan politics with the serious and tragic issues facing the VA and our veterans."

Baldwin, D-Madison, has been under fire for her office's handling of a report detailing the overprescription of opioids at the Tomah VA.

Elias, who has been described as the go-to lawyer for a range of Dem politicians, also said Baylor was terminated because of "her long-term performance on a range of issues did not meet with the Senator's expectations for effective constituent service." That included her handling of problems at the Tomah VA.

Elias said Baylor has turned down the settlement offer and "is free to move forward in any way she so chooses." He said the separation agreement was one "that is standard for a Senate employee of her tenure and seniority" was put together with guidance from the Office of the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment. He said it "included standard confidentiality language."

Read the complaint


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