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A new study casts doubt on the economic benefits of hurting union
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US Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin now admits she could have done more to seek federal action involving the over-prescription of painkillers at the V-A Medical Center in Tomah. In a column submitted to Wisconsin newspapers, Baldwin said her office should have done a better job "listening to and communicating with" a second constituent whom her office was working with on problems at Tomah. Whistle-blower Ryan Honl said he tried working with Baldwin's office, after learning that she stayed publicly silent on a report from the V-A last August that responded to a complaint about the Tomah drug matter as early as last March. This morning, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Baldwin fired her Number-two Wisconsin staffer after she reportedly asked Honl not to expose the matter publicly for fear that she'd get fired. Baldwin defended part of her actions, saying the V-A had not revealed in April or June that its Inspector General's office had uncovered similar problems. She never sought a Senate committee investigation until after the Center for Investigative Reporting recently uncovered that the numbers of prescription pain-killers at Tomah rose 500-percent from 2004-through-2012, even with fewer patients. The center also said a veteran died from an over-prescription. Baldwin said she has spoken with U-S Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald -- and he plans to launch a new investigation into the Tomah facility.