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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Joining us now is Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. She`s a Democrat representing Wisconsin`s second district. She`s also running for the open U.S. Senate seat in her state this year.

Representative Baldwin, thank you for being with us. I appreciate you having you here.

REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D), WISCONSIN: Thank you for having me, Rachel. It`s great to join you.

MADDOW: Does Governor Walker have the authority to use that mortgage settlement money at his discretion? Can he do whatever he wants with it?

BALDWIN: Well, there`s certainly a portion of the settlement funds that is going through the states. But it is my belief and I`m absolutely outraged by his statement that he`s going to use this to plug a hole in his
budget, when clearly the purpose of the settlement was to try to start making people whole again after the fraud and illegal activities that these five banks have engaged in.

On Monday this week, I was in Milwaukee on a block, a residential neighborhood devastated by foreclosure. And house after house was literally boarded up. And you think about the people who perhaps because
they lost jobs, lost homes, but also the people who were victims of fraud, and illegal actions by these mortgage banks, in the process.

And then you think of the houses that aren`t boarded up, but people who have lost the value of their homes because they are situated in neighborhoods that had been devastated by this mortgage banking and
foreclosure crisis. These are the people who deserve to benefit from the settlement funds. These are the people and neighborhoods that ought to be -- you can`t make them whole again, but at least taking those steps.

And so, I think Scott Walker ought to be ashamed of using some of these funds to plug a hole in his budget.

MADDOW: When you go to a neighborhood like that in Milwaukee and talk to people -- are people aware this is happening that Wisconsin has this money coming to the state that is supposed to be for homeowners that the governor is diverting some of it for his own budget problems? Are people aware that that`s happening in the state? And how do people feel about it?

BALDWIN: Well, a lot of this has just happened in the past few days, and part of our going to neighborhoods and meeting with community leaders who have been at the forefront of helping people in this foreclosure crisis is to get the word out.

And frankly, that`s really what we have to do across Wisconsin and across the country right now. We need people to understand what the terms are of this settlement agreement so that they can get the relief that they are due especially if they have been the victims of the wrongdoings of the big five banks.

But beyond that, we still think we can influence Scott Walker and our attorney general in Wisconsin to use these funds for the people harmed -- the people who have been devastated by foreclosures in their neighborhoods. And that`s just by having people speak out.

If people want to get involved, one way they can by going to my Web site, TammyBaldwin.com. But beyond that, people need to be informed about the terms of the settlement, how they can get what is now owed to them through the terms of the settlement but also speak out to Scott Walker about his plans for some of these dollars.

MADDOW: Representative Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin, second district, and I should say candidate for United States Senate from Wisconsin -- thank you very much for joining us tonight. I appreciate you helping us both understand it and let people know about the settlement and getting the word out -- thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you, Rachel.

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