Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson called for Democrat Russ Feingold to demand documents be released from his tenure serving with the U.S. State Department.
“How long does it take to do an email search?” Johnson said Friday. “It really doesn’t take very long. He should be up front asking the State Department to release those records. If there’s no problem, he should get that released so citizens of Wisconsin can know there’s no problem.”
GOP operatives and their conservative allies have lodged freedom of information requests with the State Department to get documents from Feingold’s stint as U.S. Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo from June 18, 2013, to March 6, 2015. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said it received communication from the State Department that the earliest the records would be released is in December, after the election.
Republicans charge that Feingold was planning his Senate run while with the State Department. Feingold has said the claim is false. Feingold has no control over the release of the documents, which are in the hands of the State Department.
For more than a week, Republicans have kept up a steady drumbeat over Feingold’s tenure at the State Department. But it’s rare for a candidate like Johnson to get involved in such a dispute and directly criticize his opponent.
Johnson and others are attempting to raise questions about Feingold’s creation in 2011 of a political nonprofit and PAC, both of which used the name Progressives United.
“I’m no lawyer, he is, which means he should have known better,” Johnson said. “Look at his behavior. Mr. Campaign Finance Reform, February, 2011, sets up two PACS, raises $10 million, spends 5 to 7 percent on other candidates. The rest he basically spent on himself. He basically set up a shadow campaign that he operated the entire time while he was a State Department employee.”