Baldwin, right, meets with unemployed paper mill workers in Brokaw.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has introduced a bill designed to crack down on hedge funds which she blames for the closure of the Wausau Paper Mill in Brokaw. The Wisconsin Democrat even went so far as to name the legislation the “Brokaw Act” after the Village.
“There’s absolutely no question that the village itself is insolvent, and will be struggling for many, many years to come,” Baldwin said. “Main Street has to be able to fight back against wolf packs on Wall Street. This type of situation is intolerable.”
Baldwin’s bill would demand more disclosure from hedge fund managers, forcing them to reveal when they’re teaming up to acquire stock in a company, a situation she described as a “wolf pack.” It would also force hedge fund managers to reveal if they stand to make a profit from the failure of a company.
“These wolf pack activist hedge funds on Wall Street are thinking about tomorrow and today, and not the next generation,” she said. “They’ve got to be reigned in.”
Richard Luetschwager worked at the mill for 22 years before becoming a union staff representative.
Starboard Value, a New York hedge fund, invested in the Wausau Paper Company before it closed its mill in Brokaw.
Baldwin met with unemployed paper mill workers in the village on Friday. Among them was Richard Luetschwager, who worked at the mill for 22 years before becoming a union staff representative.
“To me that’s frightening because then they can take any industry, and just pick them out through these hedge funds, and destroy the whole industry,” he said. “If they can do it to Brokaw and Brainard, Minnesota, then they can do it to a lot of different people.”
The Brokaw Act is cosponsored by Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.