MADISON, Wis. – Tammy's still not talking.
Even as Sen. Tammy Baldwin calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to launch "an immediate" investigation into allegations the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah overprescribed opiate-based pain medication, the Madison Democrat has yet to disclose details on the reported firing of one of her top state aides in the wake of a growing scandal.
Baldwin did not return Wisconsin Reporter's calls and emails Tuesday seeking comment nearly a month after she reportedly fired Marquette Baylor, who led Baldwin's Milwaukee office.
An investigative story last month found Baldwin did nothing with an inspection report warning Tomah VA medical center staff members have prescribed potentially dangerous amounts of pain pills to patients.
In a letter last week requesting the DOJ investigate the center, the senator said she's "extremely troubled about reports linking the tragic deaths of three Wisconsin veterans to improper care at the facility."
"Additionally, I have heard concerns regarding the conduct of the Tomah VA and the Tomah VA Police Department in response to the deaths that occurred at the facility. Finally, concerns regarding the illegal distribution and use of prescription drugs that originated at the Tomah VA facility have been raised," Baldwin wrote.
But Baldwin did not call for an investigation until after an investigative report detailing the concerns broke in early January, months after a whistleblower reportedly begged Baldwin's office to do something.
The senator did do something, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She fired Baylor on Jan. 22, apparently in response to the public relations heat Baldwin was taking.
Sources last month told the newspaper Baldwin's office offered a severance package to Baylor, a cash payout with a confidentiality deal.
Among myriad questions surrounding the reports is this: Would taxpayer cash be included in what critics of the secret agreement describe as hush money?