The rhetorical bombs that Democrat Tom Palzewicz has been lobbing at GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the senior member of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, includes this whopper of a tweet from May 14, 2018:
Today's a good day to remind the #WI05 district that your current Congressman, @JimPressOffice, has been in office for 40 years. In that time, he's led on exactly one bill - the wildly invasive & unpopular Patriot Act. Chip in & help #RetireSensenbrenner
Palzewicz, a suburban Milwaukee businessman, is making a longshot run to unseat Sensenbrenner.
So, Sensenbrenner has served in the House since 1979, but the USA Patriot Act is the only bill he has "led"?
Chalk this one up to the risks of railing on Twitter.
Or maybe not.
The USA Patriot Act was introduced by Sensenbrenner in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and was signed into law by GOP President George W. Bush in October 2001. (Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold cast the lone no vote in the Senate.)
The measure granted law enforcement increased surveillance powers to intercept phone and email communications in the name of fighting terrorism, but with little judicial or congressional oversight.
So, what else has Sensenbrenner done?
When we asked for evidence to back up the claim, Palzewicz’s campaign staff sent us this statement, attributed to the candidate:
My campaign used imprecise language, which is an issue in a medium such as Twitter where brevity is king. We were expressing the opinion that over a 40-year career, he doesn’t have a lot of major legislation to his name. The Patriot Act is the only thing of note. That said, it’s not 100% accurate, in that he has had his name on other pieces of legislation, and I apologize for that.
Twitter can be hazardous, of course.
But we found that Palzewicz also made the attack on a website he’s using to raise money for his campaign.
The state Republican Party responded to us on Sensenbrenner’s behalf, citing Congress.gov data. That data shows that in his career, Sensenbrenner was the lead sponsor on 500 bills or amendments, 99 of which passed the House and 34 that became law.
The measures include these three, each of which was signed into law in 2006:
Palzewicz says Sensenbrenner "has been in office for 40 years" and "he's led on exactly one bill," the Patriot Act.
Palzewicz told us he meant to say the anti-terrorism law is the only Sensenbrenner-sponsored bill of note.
But as for what Palzewicz actually claimed, Sensenbrenner has sponsored 500 bills and amendments, including 34 that became law.
That makes Palzewicz’s statement not only false but ridiculous -- Pants on Fire.