Russ Feingold

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Russ Feingold

Russ Feingold was a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing Wisconsin. He was first elected to his position in 1992.

Feingold grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975, received a degree from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1977, and then earned his degree from Harvard Law School in 1979.

In 1982, he was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate for the 27th District. Feingold was re-elected in 1986 and 1990.

Feingold has two daughters, Jessica and Ellen. Feingold is a member of Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He lives in Middleton, Wisconsin.[1]

Our Revolution endorsement

Russ Feingold was endorsed by Our Revolution, an organization run by former campaign workers and supporters of former socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[2]

Colombian connection

Lobbied by Colombia Support Network

Action on Colombia, Vol. 1 No. 1 Spring 1994, page 1

Not long after Russ Feingold was elected to the United States Senate for his first term, (circa 1993) several members of the Colombia Support Network Board went to meet him at his office, accompanied by future Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and future Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan, at the time both members of the Dane County Board.

Senator Feingold listened carefully to our concerns about the dramatic situation in our sister community of Apartado, even though he had no particular reason to be interested in Colombia, South America.
Ever since that first meeting, Russ showed interest in our organization and supported our efforts to advance human rights in Colombia. He connected us to his staff members who assisted him in his role as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and made them available to us to listen to our concerns. And no matter how busy he was with the legislative process in Washington, he made time for us. He even invited us to meet with him personally in his local office on a Saturday morning, taking time to meet with us even as his signature McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill was being considered by Congress, to discuss the situation in Colombia and to hear from us what we felt our government should do to support the grass-roots community organizations which formed our CSN sister communities.

He worried with us about the damage the militaristic focus of U.S. Government aid was causing to the Colombian people, and took very seriously our complaints about the harm that the coca crop spraying campaign, drenching peasants’ fields with high-strength Roundup Ultra herbicide which killed their staple food crops, sickened their animals and caused rashes in their children.

But Russ Feingold was much more than a sympathetic voice to CSN in the U. S. Senate.[3]

Helped Mark Pocan


With the October (1997) national elections in Colombia, violence was threatened (and acted upon) by several players in that country. Guerrillas, paramilitaries and others threatened to disrupt the electoral processin various regions. Of particular concern to Colombia Support Network was Apartado, Dane County Wisconsin's sister community.

At the request of Apartado Mayor Gloria Cuartas, CSN-Madison agreed to send an election observer, Board Member Mark Pocan, to that violence torn community to observe local elections for Mayor and City Council.

Pocan is a former member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors and has visited Apartado twice before. However, when he tried to join up with the Organization of American States (OAS) election observers, Pocan was unsuccessful.

This was the first time that the Colombian govermment has allowed election observers. The OAS was chosen as the "official" credentialing agency. They were sending approximately thirty five observers to Colombia,but only six or seven to the entire state of Antioquia of which Apartado is a remote part. When CSN approached the OAS they said that they were not allowing United States citizens to go for fear of kidnapping and violence.

CSN and Pocan persisted,however. They solicited the support of both Wisconsin United States Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl. Additionally, the office of Ambassador Harriet Babbitt , the United States representative with the OAS, lobbied the OAS to allow Pocan to be credentialed. Senator Feingold took special interest and wrote a letter to the OAS and Ambassador Babbitt to help secure credentials for Pocan or at minimum to send election observers to the Apartado area.

Thanks to the hard work and persistence of CSN, Senators Feingold and Kohl, Pocan and Ambassador Harriet Babbitt's office,the OAS agreed to send two of their non-United States citizen observers to Apartado, to help ensure fair and free elections. [4]

Representatives and Senators call for appointment of Special Rapporteur to Colombia

After an international campaign by pro-Colombia rebel activists, on February 9 1996, Senators Russ Feingold, Paul Simon and Tom Harkin, and on February 12 Representatives Jim McDermott, Tom Lantos and Porter plus 31 co-signers wrote Secretary of State Warren Christopher, urging him to have the U.S. representative to the UN Human Rights Commission (meeting in Geneva in March) support the issuance of a Special Rapporteur for Human Rights for Colombia.[5]


Action on Colombia, Summer 2007

In 2007, at the Colombia Support Network's request Senator Feingold met with Senator Gustavo Petro from Colombia.

In his youth, Petro was a member of the militant guerrilla group 19th of April Movement, which later evolved into the Alianza Democrática M-19, a political party in which Petro also participated.

Cutting off aid to Colombia

On January 21, 2010, three U.S. senators on committees with jurisdiction over U.S. aid to Colombia sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The letter called for the United States to "reevaluate U.S. assistance to Colombia," and notes that despite allocating nearly $7 billion in aid to Colombia from fiscal year 2000 to 2009, "the amount of cocaine entering the United States ... has not changed appreciably... Moreover, progress in other priority areas - human rights and the strengthening of democratic institutions - is lacking." Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) chairs the Senate Appropriations/Foreign Operations Subcommittee. The letter expressed concern over various trends in Colombia, including:

The "false positives" scandal, "in which Colombian soldiers killed hundreds of civilians and dressed them in guerrilla clothing in order to inflate body counts;"Colombian military leaders' continued denial of "the scope of the executions" and opposition to "civilian court jurisdiction in many cases involving abuses of human rights;" and

The "particularly troubling" abuses of the presidential intelligence agency, the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), in which the "DAS was systematically conducting illegal surveillance of human rights groups, journalists, opposition politicians, Supreme Court judges, trade unionists, and international human rights organizations."

Senators Feingold, Dodd, and Leahy added that "a possible third term for the current president threatens to further erode the checks and balances that help protect Colombia's fragile democracy." The three senators call for President Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget request to Congress to reflect new priorities and a new approach toward Colombia. This new approach would include:

Reducing coca cultivation and cocaine production through "greater emphasis on farmer-led programs with voluntary eradication coupled with effective alternative development programs;"Strengthening judicial and law enforcement programs "to dismantle criminal networks, combat the money laundering that enables the narcotics trade, and reduce impunity for corruption and human rights abuses;"Reducing "military aid while continuing judicial and law enforcement, development and humanitarian assistance; and "Explor[ing] more vigorously the possibilities for peace in Colombia."[6]

Senator Feingold: Oh How We Miss You

Colombia Action March 2011, page 5

Colombia Support Network National Conference

Colombia Support Network National Conference June 2-3, 2017 Edgewood College, Predolin Hall, Room 306 Madison, Wisconsin.

1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Corruption in Government: How can it be reduced or eliminated? The Colombian case and the Case of the United States. (Senator Russ Feingold (invited), Matthew Rothschild, Francisco Ramirez).[7]

Wellstone Action

In 2009 Russ Feingold was listed as a member of the Advisory Board[8] of Wellstone Action, a Minnesota based organization based on the political legacy[9] of that state’s late ‘progressive” Senator Paul Wellstone.

Wellstone Action and Wellstone Action Fund combine to form a national center for training and leadership development for the progressive movement. Founded in January 2003, Wellstone Action's mission is to honor the legacy of Paul and Sheila Wellstone by continuing their work through training, educating, mobilizing and organizing a vast network of progressive individuals and organizations.

Africa Bill

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) introduced the H.O.P.E. for Africa bill (HR 772) in 2000. Seen by many as a more rogressive alternative to AGOA, it contained substantial debt cancellation provisions. His bill calls for equity and infrastructure funds to be used for basic health services (including AIDS prevention), schools, public transport-ation and rural electrification, with 70% to go to small, women- and minority-owned businesses, with 60% African ownership. He also proposes broader participation by African civil society in OPIC and Export-Import Bank advisory committees. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced a similar bill (S 1636) in the Senate this fall. Both bills languish in committee, with few prospects. [10]

The Progressive

Feingold has been a contributor to the liberal magazine, The Progressive.

21st Century Democrats

21st Century Democrats is a political organization that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Senator Tom Harkin, Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and Congressman Lane Evans, 21st Century Democrats has helped elect progressive politicians such as U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.[11]

The organization supported Feingold in 2010, and 1998.

21st Century Democrats endorsed Kamala Harris for Senator from California, Patty Murray, Senator Washington, Russ Feingold Senator Wisconsin, Ted Strickland, Senator Ohio, and Steve Bullock, Governor Montana.[12]

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council is supporting Russ Feingold in his 2010 election campaign.[13] He has also been previously supported by the Council.[14]

Council for a Livable World 2016


Council for a Livable World Senate endorsed candidates in 2016 were Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Deborah Ross (D-N.C.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), Ted Strickland (D-Ohio).[15]

According to the Council;

Feingold defied political consensus repeatedly during the Bush administration. He was one of only 23 senators to vote against authorizing President George W. Bush to wage war on Iraq, and was also the sole senator to support a lawsuit to block President Bush’s unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. In addition, Feingold was the only U.S. senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act immediately after the September 11 attacks because he believed that many of the provisions threatened our constitutional civil liberties.
Feingold believes that the U.S. has more than enough nuclear weapons, and that U.S. nuclear weapons spending should be reduced. As a senator, he would make foreign policy decisions based on strategy. He supports the Iran nuclear deal and believes President Obama has done a good job in crafting an alternative to what he says is a path to war.

Honoring Clarence Kailin

By 1999, when hundreds of fans cheered Communist Party USA veteran Clarence Kailin as he dedicated a monument in James Madison Park celebrating the Wisconsinites who fought and died in Spain, he was lavished with praise. Madison Mayor Sue Bauman issued a proclamation the memorial in James Madison Park. The state Assembly and state Senate issued citations. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin entered a statement in the Congressional Record. A "Citation of Special Recognition" came from the office of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold.[16]

Elliott Maraniss tribute

When Elliott Maraniss died may 2004, Senator Russ Feingold paid tribute;[17]

Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to Elliott Maraniss, a journalist whose work invariably served the cause of justice. Though he passed away on May 1, his work, and his commitment to the community he served, will leave an indelible mark on our State.
Maraniss, who rose to become editor of Madison's Capital Times newspaper, first made his mark in Wisconsin as a reporter for that paper, with award-winning investigative stories about river pollution, controversy at the UW-Medical School, and a UW-Madison boxing scandal. He went on to serve as city editor, managing editor, and finally editor, a post he held from 1978 until he retired in 1983. As an editor he was known for being a mentor, for spotting talented new reporters, and for caring deeply about his staff.
His leadership and integrity in the newsroom were legendary, and it was on those qualities, as well as his journalistic skills, that he built his outstanding career.
His commitment to justice was lifelong, and he inspired many others through his work. A World War II veteran, he saw injustice firsthand in the still-segregated Army, where he served as captain of an all-African-American unit. Later in life he entered the political realm, working for Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier after retiring from the Capital Times.
I extend my condolences to his wife, Mary, and to his family and friends. His passing is a great loss for all those who knew him, and for everyone who understands the powerful contributions that journalists can make when they are fiercely committed to the truth, and to the cause of justice. So today I join his many family and friends in paying tribute to his memory. He will be long remembered for his outstanding service to the Capital Times and to his community, and for his many contributions to the State of Wisconsin.

Opposed Iraq War

Six of the eight U.S. Senators from the four upper Midwest states voted against the resolution to authorize force against Iraq, all of them Democrats or progressive Democrats: Mark Dayton and Paul Wellstone (Minn.), Russ Feingold (Wis.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).

Sen. Wellstone, the only member of the Senate voting "Nay" who was facing election that fall, died in a plane crash just prior to the 2002 election; his seat was taken by Republican Norm Coleman. But Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, joined the war resistance a year later by voting against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation for the Iraq War.[18]

DSA support 2004

In Democratic Socialists of America's Democratic Left Winter 2004/2005, Theresa Alt wrote;[19]

We reported on the candidates that DSAers were supporting in the last issue of Democratic Left. How did they do?
In Wisconsin, progressive incumbents Feingold, Baldwin and Obey won. In a race for an open state senate seat, the favored Mark Miller won handily. However, progressive insurgent Bryan Kennedy lost badly..

Feitlinger connection

In 1984 Billy Feitlinger was an aide to Senator Russ Feingold.[20]

FightingBobFest speaker

Russ Feingold was a guest speaker at Wisconsin's annual progressive Fighting Bob Fest, in 2005.[21]

Take Back America Conferences

Russ Feingold was on the list of 153 speakers at the 2006 Take Back America conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future.[22]

Fair Elections Now Act

In 2010 Senator Maria Cantwell signed on as a Senate co-sponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), S.752 - joining Senator Dick Durbin (original sponsor) and other Senate colleagues for a total of nine.

In the Senate, others were Sens. Barbara Boxer, Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and Arlen Specter. [23]

Obama for America, National Co-Chair

February 22, 2012, Obama for America, announced the selection of the campaign’s National Co-Chairs, a diverse group of leaders from around the country committed to re-electing President Obama. The co-chairs will serve as ambassadors for the President, advise the campaign on key issues, and help engage and mobilize voters in all 50 states.

Senator Russ Feingold – Former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin , was on the list.[24]

Epps-Addison connection

Jennifer Epps-Addison May 15, 2015:


With Russ Feingold.


JStreet endorsed Feingold in 2016.

Senator Feingold has remained an avid supporter of the need for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. A consistent voice for continuing strong American support for Israel, Senator Feingold has remained resolute in his commitment to aggressive, credible diplomacy in resolving conflicts in the Middle East. Senator Feingold was one of twenty-three US Senators to vote against the use of force against Iraq in 2002, and he was the first Senator to call for a withdrawal of troops in Iraq in August 2005.[25]


Russ Feingold is a Berniecrat, a term used for those democrats (generally) running for office who have expressed support of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[26]


  • Judiciary Committee
  • Foreign Relations Committee
  • Budget Committee
  • Intelligence Committee[1]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 About Feingold
  2. Our Revolution; Our Candidates, accessed October 27, 2016
  3. CSN, Senator Feingold: Oh how we miss you! Posted on February 23, 2011 by csn
  4. Action on Colombia, Volume 4, No. 1, Winter 1997-199, Election 1997=Golombia
  5. [Action on Colombia, Winter 1996]
  6. Security Assistance Monitor
  7. [1]
  10. Association of Concerned Africa Scholars Spring/Summer 2000 No. 57/58
  11. 21st Century Democrats FaceBook page, accessed Dec. 21, 2010
  12. Century Democrats, 2016 candidates
  13. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  14. CLW website: Who We've Helped Elect
  15. CLW 2016 Senate candidates
  16. ], Cap Times, Clarence Kailin: 'Premature Antifascist' -- and October 26, 2009 6:00 am • By JOHN NICHOLS]
  17. [, VoteSmart, The Life of Elliott Maraniss By: Russ Feingold Date: May 6, 2004 Location: Washington DC ]
  18. [, correction,, 01.04.2005 14:43], indymedia]
  19. Dem. Left,Winter 2004/2005
  20. [2]
  21. FBF Speakers page, accessed Dec. 28, 2012
  22. Take Back America 2006 - Agenda & Speakers (accessed on May 14, 2010)
  23. WashBlog, Free Speech for People moves forward in Washington State, By chadlupkes, Thu Feb 04, 2010
  25. JStreetPAC 2016 Endorsees
  26. Berniecrats, accessed August 24