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Russ Feingold

Former United States Senator from Wisconsin, former U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the DRC, and author of While America Sleeps

  • About Russ Feingold

    Russ Feingold represented Wisconsin for eighteen years in the United States Senate, from 1993 to 2011 and was the Democratic nominee for United States Senate in Wisconsin in 2016. Feingold was ranked 6th in the Senate for bipartisan voting. He is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, and cosponsored the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold Act), a major piece of campaign finance reform legislation. He was the only Senator to vote against the initial enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act during the first vote on the legislation. Feingold served on the Judiciary Committee, where he was Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, and the Foreign Relations Committee, where he was the Chairman of the Africa Subcommittee. He was also a member of the Budget, and Intelligence Committees. He served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1983 to 1993.

    Senator Feingold practiced law for six years at Foley & Lardner and Lafollette & Sinykin in Madison, Wisconsin. He is an honors law graduate of both Harvard Law School and Oxford University, and earned his bachelor of arts with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Senator Feingold is also a former Rhodes Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. On February 17, 2011, Feingold formed Progressives United, a grassroots movement intended, among other things, to fight the controversial United States Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC. In March 2017, he launched LegitAction, an organization committed to restoring and preserving the legitimacy of America’s democratic government.

    Following the tenth anniversary of ‪9/11, Senator Feingold’s book, While America Sleeps, looks back at the past decade, what America has done wrong domestically and abroad since the terrorist attacks. He discusses what steps must be taken to ensure that the next ten years are focused on the international problems that threaten America and its citizens.

    Feingold was the United States Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo from July 2013-March 2015. Feingold was credited with persuading one of the largest armed groups there to end their rebellion. Senator Feingold has taught several times at Stanford University—at the Haas Center for Public Service, at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and at the Stanford University Law School as well as at Marquette University Law School and Lawrence University, both in Wisconsin.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Future of Progressivism in the Trump Era

    The inside story of the 2016 election from a former United States Senator and 2016 U.S. Senate candidate. Some might question whether progressivism can survive during the Trump presidency, but the issues facing middle class and working families can't be ignored forever in favor of outsized corporate influence.

    Money in Politics: The Post-Citizens United World

    One of the items on the agenda of President Trump and the Republican Party in 2017 is to further dismantle campaign finance laws. As one of the main authors of the major bipartisan campaign finance bill which become law known as McCain-Feingold, money in politics remains one of the overriding issues of our time.

    Cooling Saucer or Deep Freezer; Is the US Senate Living Up to Its Purpose?

    The U.S. Senate stands alone as a unique and complex institution and one of its well known former members has a unique perspective. The Senate is the place where some of the most pressing issues facing the nation are addressed—and all in the context of largely unprecedented criticism of the Senate from all parts of the political spectrum.

    Prospects for Africa: With Special Focus on the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Since the horrific Rwandan genocide in 1994, there were more deaths in the ongoing conflict in the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the DRC than occurred in World War II. The troubled mineral rich region faces a pivotal time in its history. Now, a Trump presidency, coupled with an historically inconsistent United States foreign policy, puts a struggling region, and a critically important continent, at further risk. Credited with persuading one of the largest armed rebel groups in the region to end its rebellion, former Special Envoy Feingold shares his inside view.

  • Video

  • Praise for Russ Feingold

    Praise for While America Sleeps

    While we hail from different political parties and most often disagree about the issues of the day, I have never met a more decent or honest public servant than Russ Feingold. We don’t often hear about Members of Congress with the courage of their convictions, but Russ lived that quality every day in the U.S. Senate. We waged many battles together for campaign finance reform, and I am honored to call him my friend. In his new book, While America Sleeps, Russ illuminates some of the challenges our nation faces in the post-9/11 era with his trademark integrity and independence.

    Senator John McCain

    Feingold offers a thoughtful prescription for elected officials and voters alike, and he invokes a passionate plea for every American to realize the momentous connections between ourselves and others around the world so that our nation is better able to proactively meet future challenges.


    [Feingold’s] shockingly reasonable and carefully considered responses, as well as his respect for, and collaboration with, such Republican colleagues as John McCain and John Ashcroft, will make progressives, Wisconsinites, and other frustrated Americans nostalgic for the days of a more thoughtful, productive Congress.

    Publishers Weekly
  • Books by Russ Feingold

  • Media About Russ Feingold

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