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Russell Feingold on Principles & Values

Democratic Jr Senator (WI)


E4 Initiative: economy, employment, energy and education

Q: How will you ensure that Midwest manufacturing remains competitive in a clean energy economy?

A: Before our country's economic collapse in 2008, I had already introduced my E4 Initiative to address Wisconsin's economy, employment, energy and education needs. I have succeeded in acting some E4 provisions, including a measure in the Recovery act that will allow Wisconsin to use $58 million in tax credits to help deploy more energy efficiency technologies in homes and businesses. The Recovery Act also included $2.3 billion in 48C tax credits for advanced energy manufacturing projects--which I support extending to further strengthen clean energy manufacturing in Wisconsin; and over $800 million for a high-speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison that will create over 13,000 jobs. ..

Source: League of Women Voters 2010 Candidate Questionnaire , Aug 11, 2010

Voted with Democratic Party 91.7% of 326 votes.

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI), was scored by the Washington Post on the percentage of votes on which a lawmaker agrees with the position taken by a majority of his or her party members. The scores do not include missed votes. Their summary:
Voted with Democratic Party 91.7% of 326 votes.
Overall, Democrats voted with their party 88.4% of the time, and Republicans voted with their party 81.7% of the time (votes Jan. 8 through Sept. 8, 2007).
Source: Washington Post, “US Congress Votes Database” , Sep 8, 2007

Launched presidential PAC, the Progressive Patriots Fund

There is talk of Feingold seeking the Democratic Party’s Presidential or Vice-Presidential nomination in 2008. In late January 2005, Feingold said that he intended to travel around the country before deciding whether or not to run in 2008. In March 2005, his senate campaign registered the domain www.russfeingold.com; Feingold will not face reelection to the Senate until the 2010 election. On June 1, 2005, Feingold launched a political action committee, the Progressive Patriots Fund. Launching a PAC is seen as an important step in running for President.

Although Feingold usually receives support in the single digits in opinion polls featuring various potential Democratic presidential candidates, he remains highly popular among Democratic grassroots activists. Many of Feingold’s supporters blame his low results in scientific polling on poor name recognition. Feingold has consistently polled ahead of other potential Democratic presidential candidates who haven’t run a national race before.

Source: 2008 speculation in Wikipedia, “Possible Presidential run” , Jun 25, 2006

Dems will win majority by taking strong stands

People say, “All I care about is that we get the majority this fall.” [But Democrats] were in the majority when the Senate passed the Patriot Act and when we went to war in Iraq. Being in the majority is not enough. We have to show that when we’re in the majority, that we are ready to do the right thing. [I’m asked], “When are you guys going to stand up for principles?” Playing it safe does not persuade people that you are ready to govern. We must show that we will take strong stands on tough issues.
Source: Annual 2006 Take Back America Conference , Jun 14, 2006

Declines congressional pay raise

Russell Feingold, who accepted his first pay raise since 1999 last year, is returning this year’s pay raise. Feingold has a policy of accepting pay raises only at the beginning of his Senate term. So he saw a big jump in salary in 2005, from $136,700 to $162,100. But that increase is going to have to tide him over for a while. Feingold is accepting that same salary this year, while fellow lawmakers are making $165,200. Feingold is returning the difference to the Treasury Department.

Feingold and other members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation agreed to make their annual financial disclosure forms available to The Associated Press, ahead of next month’s official release by Congress. By his own rules, Feingold’s next salary increase won’t happen until 2011, should he win a fourth term to the Senate - unless he takes a higher-paying job in the meantime. Feingold is considering a run for the presidency in 2008.

Source: 2008 speculation: F. Frommer, AP, in Janesville (WI) Gazette , May 19, 2006

1999: Only Dem to vote against dismissing impeaching Clinton

Feingold discovered Hillary shortly after joining with John McCain to sponsor a campaign finance reform bill. By the summer of 2002, Democrats were becoming aware that the raft of new restrictions on spending attached to McCain-Feingold would make it difficult for their billionaire trial lawyers and labor bosses to invest in large, soft-dollar donations in Democrats. At a closed-door meeting of Democratic senators, Hillary tallied up the damage done to Democratic campaigns by Feingold's legislation and then lit into him with a "live in the real world" tirade.

"She tore into Feingold," an aide says. There is a subtext here, as there often is with Hillary's antics. Though Feingold ultimately voted to acquit Bill Clinton during the 1999 impeachment trial, he did provide the only Democratic vote against a motion to dismiss the charges. In other words, Feingold supported the impeachment, though he ultimately opposed conviction. "Hillary doesn't forget things like this," says one Senate observer.

Source: Madame Hillary, by R. Emmett Tyrell, p. 59-60 , Feb 25, 2004

Voted YES on confirming of Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In her opening statement, Judge Sotomayor pledged a "fidelity to the law:"
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination; Bill PN506 ; vote number 2009-S262 on Aug 6, 2009

Voted NO on confirming Samuel Alito as Supreme Court Justice.

Vote on the Nomination -- a YES vote would to confirm Samuel A. Alito, Jr., of New Jersey, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Reference: Alito Nomination; Bill PN 1059 ; vote number 2006-002 on Jan 31, 2006

Voted YES on confirming John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Vote on the Nomination (Confirmation John G. Roberts, Jr., of Maryland, to be Chief Justice of the United States )
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination of John Roberts; Bill PN 801 ; vote number 2005-245 on Sep 27, 2005

Religious affiliation: Jewish.

Feingold : religious affiliation:

The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).

What’s an adherent?

The most common definition used in broad compilations of statistical data is somebody who claims to belong to or worship in a religion. This is the self-identification method of determining who is an adherent of what religion, and it is the method used in most national surveys and polls.

Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.

Source: Adherents.com web site 00-ADH6 on Nov 7, 2000

Profiled in "Jews in American Politics".

Feingold is profiled in the book "Jews in American Politics":

When one reads accounts of Jews in American politics, the common theme is that Jews have achieved prominence in art, literature, academia, certain businesses, and entertainment, but not in politics or government. The Jewish politician was the exception, not the rule.

In the last third of the 20th century, however, that pattern changed. By 2000, Jews had become as prominent in the political realm as they have been in other aspects of American life. And Jewish participation is accepted for the contributions these activists make, not because of their Jewishness. Nothing could symbolize this trend more cogently than the nomination of Joseph Lieberman for vice president in 2000 and the national reaction to his candidacy. [Lieberman says]:

Although politics was not exactly a Jewish profession, individual Jews did throw themsleves into the democratic process. Some were traditional politicians; others machine politicians. Many more, such as Emma Goldman and the radicals of the early 20th century, were inspired by the ideal that they had a duty to repair the world—Tikkun Olam.

Many reasons account for the broader representation of Jews in American civic life today. The forces of antisemitism have been relegated to the extreme margins of society, the principle of meritocracy has increasingly opened the doors of opportunity. Moreover, the idealism and purpose that were spawned by the movements for civil rights, opposition to the war in Vietnam, environmentalism, and other causes drew many Jewish Americans into the political arena. Jews are admonished tp help perfect the world by the ancient wisdom of Rabbi Tarfon, who tells us, “You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdaw from it.”

[This book] provides brief biographical sketches for more than 400 Jews who have played prominent roles in American political life. The roster provides much of the basic information that we felt was previously lacking in one place.
Source: Jews in American Politics, Sandy Maisels, ed., pp. xii-xxiii 01-JIAP0 on Jan 1, 2001

Rated 100% by the AU, indicating support of church-state separation.

Feingold scores 100% by the AU on church-state separation

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 AU scores as follows:

About the AU (from their website, www.au.org):

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. AU is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.

Americans United is a national organization with members in all 50 states. We are headquartered in Washington, D.C., and led by the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director. AU has more than 75,000 members from all over the country. They include people from all walks of life and from various faith communities, as well as those who profess no particular faith. We are funded by donations from our members and others who support church-state separation. We do not seek, nor would we accept, government funding.

Source: AU website 06n-AU on Dec 31, 2006

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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014