MADISON – As Senator Russ Feingold scrambles to explain why his office failed to address the over-prescription of narcotics to veterans at the Tomah V.A. Medical Center, inconsistent statements and evolving stories from his campaign have taken center stage.
Group Hits Feingold for ‘Inaction’ at VA Facility Following Death of Marine
The Washington Free Beacon
By Joe Schoffstall
January 27, 2016 – 1:40pm
Conservative groups in Wisconsin are criticizing Russ Feingold for not taking action after being “hand-delivered” a 2009 memo about a Veterans Affairs medical facility that was over-prescribing opiates to patients and, five years later, saw a Marine die from an overdose.
Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, a conservative group within the state, is running print and radio ads against Feingold, the former Democratic senator who is attempting to regain his seat from Sen. Ron Johnson (R.), hitting him for not acting on the memo warning of what was happening at the medical center.
“In 2009, Senator Russ Feingold received a hand-delivered report warning that dangerous amounts of narcotics were prescribed to veterans at the VA medical center in Tomah,” the radio ad begins. “The doctor in charge of this center was nicknamed the ‘candy man’. In one case, he prescribed 1,000 narcotics pills for just 30 days. Senator Russ Feingold failed to act, the abuse of veterans continued, and in 2014, a 35-year-old Marine died from an overdose of narcotics at the VA center in Tomah.”
“An autopsy revealed 14 different drugs in his system,” it continues. “Now, Russ Feingold is claiming he never received the memo, but documents included in a police report show that the report was hand-delivered to his office. When our leaders fail to take action, the consequences can be deadly.”
A spokesman for Feingold told USA Today in 2015 that they performed a “thorough review” of Feingold’s archived Senate records and that there was no evidence that the former senator had ever received the memo.
Former Rep. David Obey (D., Wis.), who was also listed on the memo submitted as part of a 2009 police report detailing the suicide of a doctor who had just been fired from the Tomah VA, also claimed that he did not recall receiving the document, but that “such incoming correspondence would have been destroyed when they left office.”
Feingold’s campaign did not return a request for comment seeking exactly what documents they reviewed by press time.