Wisconsin Dem fighting re-election battle under fire for blasting same tax loopholes exploited by her partner

Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin has a long history of criticizing tax loopholes for the rich, despite her partner’s career reportedly helping ultra-high-net-worth clients pay less in taxes.

Labeled by Morgan Stanley as one of its “private wealth advisors,” Maria Brisbane, Baldwin’s partner since 2018, works to deliver “tax minimization strategies” for her clients at the firm.

Brisbane’s work, as well as how it stands in contrast to Baldwin’s own preaching about wealthy Americans using tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share in taxes, was first highlighted in a report by the Washington Examiner on Tuesday.

On Tax Day this year, Baldwin and two other Democrats in the upper chamber introduced the Carried Interest Fairness Act in an effort to eliminate the “carried interest tax loophole and make wealthy fund managers pay what other American workers do,” according to an April press release.

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“Hardworking Wisconsin families should not be paying more in taxes than the wealthiest Americans. But right now, our tax code has loopholes that allow super wealthy hedge fund managers to avoid paying their fair share,” Baldwin said at the time. “By closing the carried interest loophole, we’ll make our tax code fairer for working families, cut the deficit, and ensure that those at the top of the food chain aren’t exploiting the system to further enrich themselves.”

Brisbane, who was named to Forbes’ “America’s Top Women Wealth Advisors” list in February, has worked alongside private wealth adviser Alex Zachary at Morgan Stanley since early 2024. Their practice, the Brisbane Group, previously operated under Merrill Lynch’s “private wealth management unit focused on ultra-wealthy clients,” according to a January report by Advisor Hub.

“The Brisbane Group is focused on helping Ultra High Net Worth individuals, families, and not-for-profit organizations create customized investment strategies with a focus on custom tailored equity portfolios,” Morgan Stanley states on its website.

Additionally, Morgan Stanley touts the firm’s private wealth management division, which is “dedicated to serving the firm’s most affluent clients, including some of the world’s most accomplished entrepreneurs, executives and stewards of multigenerational wealth.”

Based in New York, the multinational investment bank and financial services company touts its wealth management division’s offering of “investment opportunities spanning private equity, private credit, real assets, hedge funds and more.”

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In February 2022, Baldwin targeted “activist hedge funds,” saying they “promote short-term gains at the expense of workers, taxpayers and local communities.”

The Tuesday report from the Examiner also included a comment from the Wisconsin Republican Party, which took aim at Baldwin and Brisbane:

“Baldwin and Brisbane are enriching themselves by helping out-of-state clients avoid paying their taxes,” Matt Fisher, a Wisconsin Republican Party spokesman, told the outlet.

Regarding Baldwin’s past comments and Brisbane’s work at Morgan Stanley, Baldwin’s campaign insisted the senator’s record “speaks for itself.”

“Tammy Baldwin has been a leader in the fight to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share for years … Attacking Tammy Baldwin for her partner’s work is baseless and wrong,” Andrew Mamo, a spokesperson for Baldwin’s Senate campaign, told Fox News Digital.

Baldwin’s campaign also pointed to legislation the senator has introduced or supported in recent years to address certain loopholes, including the Carried Interest Fairness Act, Paying a Fair Share Act, and the Billionaires Income Tax Act.

The report comes as Baldwin, who has represented Wisconsin in the Senate since 2013, seeks re-election to a third term in office. She is expected to face off in the state’s Nov. 5 general election against Eric Hovde, her leading Republican challenger in the race.

Baldwin’s campaign accused Hovde of refusing “to disclose his finances” and claimed he “worked to avoid taxes.” Additionally, the campaign highlighted Hovde’s efforts to self-finance his campaign and his investment in a hedge fund based in the Cayman Islands.

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