August 18, 2015

Another Contradiction: Feingold Cashes In On Speaking Fees After Denouncing Them As A Senator

Senator Russ Feingold (U.S. Senate-18 Years) is mired in another messy contradiction. First, Feingold was exposed for using his own PAC to pay himself and his campaign staff, after spending his many years in the Senate attacking PAC’s. Then, he ran into trouble for denouncing his own “garage door” pledge by taking more money from out-of-state than from Wisconsin citizens. Now, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that after railing against speaking fees for his entire career, Senator Feingold cashed in once he was out of office.

From February 2012 to June 2013 – a window during which he was out of public office – Feingold collected $103,117 to make appearances on or give speeches to universities, think tanks and a liberal TV talk show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” according to federal filings.

The Journal-Sentinel points out that Senator Feingold’s do as a say, not as I do mentality could not be more clear:

The Middleton Democrat praised the 1989 ban on speaking fees for federal employees, including members of Congress. And when officials weighed a 2000 measure that would have allowed federal judges to give paid talks, he led the charge against it.

In fact, Feingold penned his own op-ed in 2000 in the Chicago Tribune that laid out the reasons why honoraria for federal judges should be banned. From Feingold himself:

It is increasingly difficult to find areas of public life that have not been invaded by private interests with deep pockets and policy agendas. And that’s why it is more important than ever that we maintain the ban on judicial honoraria.

The Washington double-speak on display is glaring, but unfortunately, unsurprising. After 18 years in the U.S. Senate, it is just second nature for Senator Feingold to say one thing, but do the complete opposite.