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The download: Feingold silent on Hillary Clinton’s email scandal

By   /   March 16, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

MADISON, Wis. – While Russ Feingold has been reluctant to back a candidate for his party’s presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton’s impressive night Tuesday might just motivate liberal Feingold to forget the Bern and throw his support behind the former First Lady.

With Wisconsin’s presidential primary a few weeks away, the race could be decided by the time Badger State voters have the chance to decide.

Perhaps Feingold, who is in a race of his own, vying for the U.S. Senate seat he lost in 2010 to Republican Ron Johnson, has been hedging his bets. Johnson, too, has yet to endorse a presidential candidate on the GOP side.

One thing’s for certain: when it comes to criticizing Clinton for the email server mess that could cost her the White House, Feingold refuses to go there.

AP file photo

YOU DON’T SAY: Russ Feingold isn’t talking about the email server scandal enveloping Democratic Party presidential candidate front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Feingold, a former State Department special envoy, has given the press the silent treatment when asked about former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a private server to send and receive apparently classified information.

His campaign, again, would not answer Wisconsin Watchdog’s questions about where he stands on the Clinton email scandal.

When asked Tuesday whether he would support Clinton dropping out of the presidential race should she be indicted, Feingold wouldn’t answer. (Watch the video here)

It’s no “gotcha question.”

Clinton, the would-be standard bearer for the Democratic Party, has some real trouble in those emails. Still, Feingold recently said Clinton has what it takes to beat the likes of Donald Trump. 

Former Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano has agreed to cooperate with investigators, and he has been granted immunity, according to the Washington Post. Pagliano set up the private server at Clinton’s house.

RELATED: What would Russ Feingold’s 1992 self say to the 2016 version?

As the BBC pointed out Tuesday, Clinton’s national security problems are arguably similar to that of former CIA director David Patraeus.

The general and architect of the successful military “surge” in Iraq, pleaded guilty last year on a misdemeanor count of mishandling classified information. He was accused of turning over notebooks of classified information to his biographer-turned mistress.

“He was fined and placed on probation – a resolution that some have called a slap on the wrist,” the BBC noted.

“In other cases people who have revealed classified information were sent to prison. In 2009 Stephen Kim, a former government contractor, was sentenced to 13 months for giving classified material to a reporter,” the publication added.

That may be the same old problem: It’s not just who you know, but who you are.

Feingold knows Hillary Clinton, and he knows the former senator he voted with the vast majority of time during his long career in Washington has an achievable path to the presidency. He doesn’t seem interested in saying or doing anything that could help obstruct that path.

“Where Senator Feingold would let his political allies in Washington get away with everything, Wisconsinites have Ron Johnson holding politicians accountable for their actions,” said Pat Garrett, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, in a statement. “We need someone like Ron Johnson who is fighting for Wisconsin, not someone like Senator Feingold who spent 18 years in Washington only fighting for himself.”


M.D. Kittle is bureau chief of Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment Reporter for Watchdog.org. Kittle is a 25-year veteran of print, broadcast and online media. He is the recipient of several awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and others. He is also a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors. Kittle's extensive series on Wisconsin's unconstitutional John Doe investigations was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze. His work has been featured in Town Hall, Fox News, NewsMax, and other national publications, and his reporting has been cited by news outlets nationwide. Kittle is a fill-in talk show host on the Jay Weber Show and the Vicki McKenna Show in Milwaukee and Madison.