Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin, has attacked his opponent, Sen. Ron Johnson, in the Wisconsin Senate race for not making a decision on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal despite Feingold basing his decision on a summary that was posted online well before the deal was made public.
Feingold, who spent 18 years in the U.S. Senate before his defeat in 2010, has repeatedly called on Johnson to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal negotiated by the Obama administration and 11 Pacific Rim countries that supporters say is similar to trade agreements made in the past.
“I had an opportunity to review that draft and those provisions,” Feingold told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I looked at it carefully and when I announced for the U.S. Senate the first position that I took, based on reviewing the rip-off that occurs in that agreement, was to oppose this agreement.”
The draft Feingold references, however, was only a single chapter that was made public on March 25, 2015, by the New York Times in collaboration with WikiLeaks.
The full deal is 6,000 pages long and was released in November 2015 –well after Feingold made his decision based on the WikiLeaks version, which was a fraction of the entire deal.
Johnson has countered Feingold’s public calls for his opposition by chastising the former senator for his “knee-jerk” reaction.
“The truth is, he should be careful,” Johnson said. “What it’s exposing is his own uninformed, ill-informed, knee-jerk, jump-to-conclusion reaction to this thing without going through the hard work of actually getting input, listening to constituents. All the constituents, not just his buddies in unions who have the knee-jerk reaction that they’re against free trade regardless.”
Brian Reisinger, a spokesman for Johnson’s campaign, told the Washington Free Beacon that the senator and his staff are still reviewing the full 6,000 pages to figure out exactly what is in it before making a decision. Johnson is additionally reaching out to Wisconsinites who are concerned about the deal.
“Sen. Feingold is a career politician who has never created a job, and now he’s jumping to conclusions based on incomplete information–without allowing anyone to give him input on the thousands of pages of this complex deal. Ron is a manufacturer who is doing the hard work of putting facts before politics,” Reisinger said.
“That’s why he based his ongoing review on the final version and has been talking with Wisconsin families, farmers, small businesses, and all others concerned with how this deal would affect Wisconsin workers.”