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Tammy Baldwin quiet on another veterans center scandal

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — As Wisconsin lawmakers seek answers to the shocking revelations of abuse and neglect at a southeast Wisconsin veterans nursing home, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has been conspicuously quiet.

The Madison Democrat, after all, has a record of ignoring serious concerns at veteran health centers.

Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a story asserting the state Veterans Home at Union Grove is one of the most troubled veterans nursing facilities in the nation.

The home most recently has been cited by regulators for failing to investigate reports of patient abuse, not giving residents regular showers, infection control and unsanitary conditions, according to a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“The treatment of our heroes at the Veterans Home at Union Grove is completely unacceptable. Actually, ‘completely unacceptable’ doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of how disgusted we are with what is occurring,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) in a joint statement. “These veterans have earned far better than the treatment they’ve been getting.”

According to the Journal Sentinel report, in one case Navy veteran Randy Krall was so dehydrated when he was rushed to a hospital that doctors had a difficult time getting a urine sample to diagnose him. His medical chart showed he hadn’t had water for much of the day. When Krall’s condition deteriorated a few weeks later at the veterans nursing home, no one called to alert the family — contrary to facility policy. A Veterans Home nurse contacted Krall’s wife only after he died.

In one of two abuse-related violations, a nursing aide earlier this year flipped over a resident to clean his genital area, according to the newspaper. The aide ignored instructions on how to carefully handle the patient or ask for help from a second aide.

The veterans home over the past five years has been cited for 62 violations and received fines totalling $250,000.

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) asked the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to open a federal investigation into the Union Grove facility.

“It is now abundantly clear that the veteran’s home in Union Grove has much larger issues than even I and the people who reached out to me were reporting in 2020,” Steil wrote in a letter to the heads of the federal agencies. “While I am aware that this is a state-run facility, I ask you to review the concerns outlined in the article and take all appropriate action necessary to ensure the proper treatment of veterans in the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove.”

Baldwin’s office did not return Empower Wisconsin’s multiple requests for comment on the scandal at Union Grove.

She didn’t return calls from whistleblowers inside the troubled Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2014, either — when a Marine died at a place derogatorily dubbed “Candy Land.”

According to the MacIver Institute:

An investigative report in January 2015 found Baldwin and her office failed to do anything with an inspector general’s report detailing the overprescribing of painkillers and other abuses at the medical center. She sat on the report for months and only called for a federal investigation into the VA facility after the investigative piece hit. And Baldwin failed to take seriously whistleblower allegations about the medical facility known as “Candy Land” because of the patient drugging policies that subsequent investigations confirmed.

Jason Simcakoski, a 35-year-old U.S. Marine veteran, died in August 2014 as a result of “mixed drug toxicity” while under the care of doctors at the Tomah VA hospital.

After a lot of bad press, Baldwin canned her top aide at the time, Marquette Baylor, who led the senator’s Milwaukee constituent services office. Baylor was Baldwin’s scapegoat.

Baylor fought back, filing a complaint in April 2015 with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. She claimed Baldwin orchestrated a cover-up. Baldwin attempted to buy Baylor’s silence with a severance package and accompanying confidentiality agreement, Baylor claimed. The fired aide wouldn’t take the “hush money.”

The Ethics committee eventually dismissed the complaints.

“After the pubic outcry, Senator Baldwin immediately sought to place the blame squarely on me,” Baylor stated in her complaint. “(Baldwin) 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.”

Baldwin then brought in the Democrat Party’s favorite political “fixer,” Marc Elias. Elias and his former law firm were caught up in the Russian Collusion hoax on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Baldwin’s campaign spent nearly $140,000 on legal advice from Elias and his firm between 2011 and 2016, according to federal documents obtained in March. Nearly $90,000 of that was paid out in 2015, at the height of Baldwin’s Tomah troubles.

Baldwin’s campaign cut a check for $41,704 to Elias and his firm on March 27, 2015, and made another payment of $38,558 in May of that year, according to campaign expenditures.

After she battled bad press, Baldwin hustled around in a big public show of concern over the damage done at the Tomah VA.

The senator, however, seems slow once again to react to the latest veterans care scandal.

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3 thoughts on “Tammy Baldwin quiet on another veterans center scandal

  • Baldwin doesn’t do anything that doesn’t follow the Democratic narrative. To speak up on a Veterans issue would mean she supports the military. Not part of the liberal program and would never pass the muster for their approval.

  • DWD and or especially DMV in person driver’s license places have been a joke since demorats in charge and are gov union employees that have been lazy slow-moving sloths for a long time thanks to unions. Once very important to protect workers for the last 50+ years have created gov creators not dedicated to doing a good job but (like teacher activist homosexuals), instead, sucking off the taxpayer and thinking they deserve it.
    Unions create this.

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