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By: FOX6

BROOKFIELD — He may be retiring but his term isn’t over yet and there’s still work to be done. Longtime Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner held another one of his town hall meetings on Saturday, Sept. 14 in Brookfield.

The Waukesha County Republican served in the House for the past 40 years.

He holds about 100 town halls each year; something this constituents say they appreciate.

“It really brings him personally to you so that you feel that you are being heard and you’re able to bypass some of the beauracracy by being in the same room and not just talking on the telephone or via email,” said Sandra Rebiger, constituent.

Sensenbrenner won’t be seeking re-election at the end of his term in Jan. 2021. In his time in office, he’s sponsored or co-sponsored nearly 4,300 bills with more than 200 of them being signed into law.

By: Ryan Tracy of the Wall Street Journal

Congress opened a new front in the government’s antitrust probe of giant technology firms, with House lawmakers on Friday demanding emails and other records from some of the industry’s top chief executives as they look for evidence of anticompetitive behavior.

The requests from House Judiciary Committee leaders from both parties to Amazon.com Inc., AMZN 0.65% Facebook Inc., FB 2.74% Apple Inc. AAPL 0.85% and Alphabet Inc., GOOG 0.95% owner of Google, set up potential conflicts between tech leaders protective of their business tactics and lawmakers who want to scour their corporate records.

Among other requests, the committee asked the firms to provide by Oct. 14 reams of documents, including executive communications and financial statements as well as information about competitors, market share, mergers and key business decisions.

The dozens of executives named in the requests include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google’s early leaders Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt.

The companies are likely to resist such carte blanche access, which could set in motion negotiations with the House committee over the scope of materials provided, said William Kovacic, former chair of the Federal Trade Commission.

“If you want everything, everything will take a long time,” said Mr. Kovacic, who is now a George Washington University professor. The next step will be “intense negotiations between the companies and the committee about what will be produced,” he said.

The House committee isn’t subpoenaing the records, though it has the authority to do so—a fact that gives lawmakers a stick they can use in negotiations over access.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the requests will aid an investigation, begun on June 3, into “growing evidence that a handful of corporations have come to capture an outsized share of online commerce and communications.”

“This information is key in helping determine whether anticompetitive behavior is occurring,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R., Ga.), the panel’s top Republican. The letters were also signed by Reps. David Cicilline (D., R.I.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.), the two senior members of the panel’s subcommittee on antitrust issues.

The companies didn’t comment Friday. All four firms have previously said they provide significant benefits to consumers and face significant competition. They have expressed willingness to work with authorities.

The congressional probe adds to scrutiny of the tech giants, which already face a broad antitrust review by the Justice Department that could lead to formal investigations. The department has asked Google for information about previous antitrust probes by other agencies.

The Federal Trade Commission, the other top U.S. antitrust enforcer, has opened an investigation of Facebook, with an early focus on its key acquisitions, and is questioning third-party sellers who use Amazon’s marketplace. FTC Chair Joseph Simons declined to comment Friday on the House letters.

State attorneys general from both parties recently launched probes of Google, with an early focus on its advertising business, and Facebook. Authorities in other countries are also investigating. Officials have said they would work together on the overlapping probes, although the extent of that cooperation isn’t known.

U.S. sanctions against the companies, if they come at all, are likely to be years away and imposed by federal or state enforcers rather than Congress. Lawmakers can find facts and change laws, but not bring enforcement actions.

The House probe represents a threat to the firms, even if it doesn’t result in changes to antitrust laws. Documents released to lawmakers could become public and serve as justification to summon top executives to high-profile hearings. That would create risks to the companies’ reputations and could fuel political pressure for a regulatory crackdown.

The House panel’s detailed information requests also provide hints as to how authorities could try to build an antitrust case against the firms:

—The request to Alphabet targets 24 products and services, from advertising technology to YouTube and the Waze navigation app, seeking executives’ communications regarding acquisitions and how other businesses interact with Google’s own services.

—The lawmakers asked Amazon to provide executive communications related to product searches on Amazon.com and the pricing of Amazon Prime as well as fees charged to sellers.

—Apple was asked for executives’ emails about search rankings in its App Store, whether Apple has discussed copying some third-party apps and the company’s policy on requiring that apps use Apple’s payment systems for purchases, an issue raised by Spotify Technology SA in an antitrust complaint in Europe. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple routinely lists apps ahead of competitors though the company’s apps skirt its own rules for rankings.

Apple, which takes a 30% cut from most apps it sells, has said the App Store encourages competition and that its cut is justified by the work its staff does reviewing apps to protect consumers from malware or other threats. Its apps account for a small fraction of those available on the store, and it collects money from only 16% of the 2 million apps available.

—Facebook received questions about its executives’ discussions around the acquisitions of WhatsApp, Instagram, and the data-security app Onavo, as well as decisions related to which third-party apps access its social-media platform.

Big tech companies have ramped up spending to influence the new antitrust discourse, as well as other policy debates, none more so than Google. It is a funder of at least 33 nonprofit groups that are active in the antitrust debate across the political spectrum, according to its public policy transparency reports.

Google is also a financial supporter of minority lawmaker groups such as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. It has given substantial sums to state attorneys general groups over the last decade or so, including more than $450,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association and more than $250,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, according to data gathered by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Its Google NetPAC contributed about $1.9 million to federal candidates and committees in the 2017-2018 election cycle, according to federal data, compared with about $1.8 million for Amazon’s PAC and about $721,000 for Facebook’s. Amazon leads the group in spending for the 2020 election to date. Apple doesn’t have a PAC.

Amazon in 2017 gave $12,500 each to the Democratic and Republican attorneys general associations. For 2018 it bumped that up to $50,000 each

Staffers on the Judiciary Committee are simultaneously dealing with other time-consuming issues, most notably potential impeachment proceedings. That said, the bipartisan nature of Friday’s letters reflects broad support for the probe.

“Bipartisan consensus sends a clear statement to regulators that this isn’t just one side’s sour grapes,” said Paul Gallant, an analyst at Cowen Inc.

Mr. Gallant noted that internal emails discussing stifling competition at Microsoft Corp. became an issue during that firm’s time under the antitrust microscope two decades ago.

“This is Congress’ backstage pass. They will be able to see what company management said privately about the way they designed their business and about whether that was actually anti-competitive,” Mr. Gallant said.

Congress has a history of going after emails, although those from top-level executives tend to be less revelatory because cautious higher-ranking people typically send few such online communications, investigators have found. In 2010, Senate investigators released an email from then-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein in which he appeared to acknowledge that the firm dodged a bullet in the financial crisis by betting on a market decline through taking “short” positions.

But generally, emails from lower-level employees have led to more criticism. A 2010 probe of the BP PLC oil spill made headlines when a lower-level employee said in an email “who cares” about a shortage of parts on a drilling rig before it exploded. In the General Motors Co. ignition-switch crisis, the company pinned the blame largely on a single engineer who received emails warning him of problems.

This isn’t the first time that Congress has probed whether large tech companies are stifling competition. In 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee hauled Mr. Schmidt, former Google Inc. executive chairman, for questioning related to whether the company was abusing its dominance of online searches by steering users toward its own services at the expense of rivals. But he emerged largely unscathed, and amid a weak recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression, Congress had little appetite to pursue a probe into a driver of the U.S. economy.

By: Lauren Feiner of CNBC

Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee requested documents from AmazonAppleFacebook and Google parent company Alphabet as part of an antitrust probe, the committee announced Friday.

Among other information, the committee requested executives’ emails related to competition matters and documents provided to U.S. and international regulators from the past 10 years related to the Clayton Act, which deals with reviewing potentially anticompetitive mergers, according to a press release.

Shares of Facebook and Amazon were slightly negative by the end of trading Friday and Alphabet was slightly positive. Apple shares ended the day down 1.9% after Goldman Sachs cut its price target for the stock.

The request shows the committee is ramping up an antitrust review as federal regulators and attorneys general from 50 states and territories are prepping their own probes. In letters to chief executives of the four companies, the bipartisan group of committee leaders said the investigation will focus on three elements. The first is “competition problems in digital markets,” followed by “whether dominant firms are engaging in anti-competitive conduct online” and finally, whether current laws and enforcement can effectively deal with these issues.

Tech executives testified in front of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust in July, but the subcommittee’s ranking member, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said lawmakers still need more information.

“I appreciate the willingness of certain tech companies to come before our committee and answer questions,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement. “However, we still need more information about their business practices at this fact-finding stage of this investigation.”

In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) said the committee is not approaching the probe “with an agenda.”

“The important part is, what we see is, this is not, from my position, as an attack,” Collins said. “This is questioning of normal oversight into the marketplace to say, ‘what is going on, and [are] our antitrust laws working or is there something we need to look at?’”

Based on the documents requested, committee leaders seem to be honing in on Facebook’s acquisitions, including Instagram, WhatsApp and web analytics company Onavo. Lawmakers asked to see discussions by executives of the potential competitive threats these services could pose to Facebook around the time of the deals.

On Amazon, the lawmakers want to learn more about how the company’s algorithm accounts for its own products and the type of data available and withheld from sellers on its marketplace. The committee also asked to see discussions related to how teams across Amazon’s various divisions, including Amazon Web Services, Amazon Marketplace and its voice product Alexa, share and use data. Lawmakers also asked for executive communications related to Amazon’s acquisitions, including Ring, PillPack and Audible.

Lawmakers also want to learn more about Google’s thinking around its acquisitions of DoubleClick, YouTube, Android and others. They asked for information related to Google’s advertising business, which is also the initial focus of the probe by state attorneys general. Lawmakers asked to view discussions around Google’s calculations related to payments for ads, including ad click-through-rates. They also asked about the “prevalence of ad fraud” on its ad tech services.

The committee leaders also requested information about differences in the way Google treats its own products like its browser and apps compared to those of competitors. Similar to Amazon, lawmakers also want to know how Google teams from different divisions share and use data, based on the requests in the letter.

On Apple, lawmakers asked for information related to the algorithm for its App Store and how it could be modified. Developers have previously speculated that Apple favors its own apps in its App Store over those of competitors. A New York Times review of the App Store algorithm published earlier this week found Apple apps for certain searches would rank above apps from competitors, even when the Apple apps were clearly less relevant. Apple tweaked the algorithms to change that result, according to the Times, but two executives denied to the publication that the previous version of the algorithm had been a problem.

They also requested to see discussions around Apple’s policies around including in-app links to outside payment systems and its revenue-share policy for in-app purchases. Apple’s payment model for app developers, commonly referred to by critics as “the Apple tax,” has been a key source of concern for companies like Spotify which has argued to European competition regulators that Apple advantages its own products through the fees.

Reached for comment, a Google spokesperson pointed to a week-old blog post from the company’s senior vice president of global affairs Kent Walker.

“We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so,” Walker said in the post.

Amazon declined to comment. Apple and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

By: Cristiano Lima of Politico

House Judiciary lawmakers today unleashed a torrent of document requests on Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google parent company Alphabet aimed at uncovering whether the tech companies have unfairly stifled competitors.

In a series of letters to the companies’ CEOs, Judiciary leaders demanded that the firms disclose all documents related to any foreign and domestic investigations into their conduct and that they release emails by key executives dealing with specific competition concerns.

The far-reaching requests for information, known as RFIs, are the latest escalation of the committee’s wide-ranging antitrust investigation of the tech sector.

“We made it clear when we launched this bipartisan investigation that we plan to get all the facts we need to diagnose the problems in the digital marketplace,” said House Judiciary Antitrust Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.), whose panel is leading the probe.

"Today’s document requests are an important milestone in this investigation as we work to obtain the information that our Members need to make this determination," he said.

Committee leaders — including Cicilline, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) — also called on the companies to disclose financial statements for their products, internal organizational charts and lists of firms they have identified as market competitors.

The action comes amid mounting antitrust scrutiny for the tech industry’s most powerful companies. Attorneys general from 50 states and territories on Monday unveiled a bipartisan antitrust investigation of Google’s dominance in search and digital advertising, days after another grouping of state AGs announced a separate investigation into Facebook.

Silicon Valley’s largest companies also face mounting scrutiny at the federal level, with both the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department probing potential anti-competitive conduct by top firms.

By: Owen Daugherty of The Hill

President Trump on Monday called on House Republicans to let committee chairs stay in their positions for longer than the allotted six years.

“It forces great people, and real leaders, to leave after serving,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “The Dems have unlimited terms. While that has its own problems, it is a better way to go.”

Trump added that changing the rule will mean that “fewer people, in the end, will leave!”

Trump’s call to end the term limits for committee chairs comes as several Republican lawmakers have announced their retirement in recent weeks.

To date, at least 15 House Republicans have said they will not seek reelection, with Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) announcing their retirements most recently.

Sensenbrenner previously served as a chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Trump last year railed against the self-imposed term limits in a similar fashion, lamenting his displeasure and calling for them to be removed, according to the Washington Examiner.

“We have a lot of chairmen that left because they’re chairmen for six years, and then they don’t want to stay because they can’t be chairmen,” he said at the time.

The term limits for committee chairs are self-imposed by the GOP in order to bring new members into leadership. They were first imposed by former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in 1994.

Brookfield, WICongressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) today announced the second round of his town hall meeting schedule, beginning Saturday, September 14 in Brookfield, WI. 

In the 115th Congress, Congressman Sensenbrenner held more town hall meetings than any other member of Congress and has conducted more than 650 in-person meetings since 2011.

Rep. Sensenbrenner“Over the last forty years, I have conducted town hall meetings to hear directly from my constituents. Their feedback is critical for my decision-making in Washington, and this round of meetings is no different. Our nation is facing many challenges, such as a broken immigration system and outdated trade agreements. We, however, have an opportunity to work together to solve these problems, and I look forward to discussing these and other issues with my constituents.” 

Next Meeting Details:

Saturday, September 14th 
Brookfield Town Hall 
645 N. Janacek Road 
Brookfield, WI 53045 
1:00pm 

This event is free and open to all constituents of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District as well as members of the press.

Constituents who are unable to attend are encouraged to share their feedback HERE.

NOTE: All interview requests must be made to Congressman Sensenbrenner’s press office prior to the start of a meeting. Additionally, if you plan to cover any of these events, please contact our office as soon as possible, so we are able to accommodate your spacing needs. All television cameras must be on-site 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the meeting or will not be guaranteed entry.

Full Schedule:

Monday, September 16th 
Delafield Town Hall
W302N1254 Maple Ave.
Delafield, WI 53018
7:00pm

Saturday, September 21st 
Wauwatosa Public Library
7635 W. North Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
1:00pm

Sunday, September 22nd 
Whitewater Municipal Building
312 W. Whitewater Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
7:00pm

Saturday, October 19th 
Waukesha City Hall
201 Delafield Street
Waukesha, WI 53188
10:00am

Sunday, October 20th 
Hartland Village Hall
210 Cottonwood Avenue
Hartland, WI 53029
7:00pm

Saturday, October 26th 
West Allis Public Library
7421 W. National Avenue
West Allis, WI 53214
10:00am

Sunday, October 27th 
Juneau Community Center
500 Lincoln Drive
Juneau, WI 53029
1:00pm

Saturday, November 16th 
Jefferson Public Library
321 S. Main Street
Jefferson, WI 53549
10:00am

Sunday, November 17th 
Germantown Village Hall
N112W17001 Mequon Road
Germantown, WI 53022
1:00pm

By: The Crime Report

Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner, one of the most influential members of Congress on criminal justice issues, will not seek re-election next year after four decades on Capitol Hill.

Called a “combative conservative” by the Associated Press, Sensenbrenner, 76, is a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, Judiciary’s top Republican, called Sensenbrenner “already a legend in the Judiciary Committee and in the House of Representatives.”

He was a leading author of the USA Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism measure enacted in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In recent years, Sensenbrenner was best known in criminal justice circles for advocating the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which includes the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) which established minimum baselines for states to track sex offenders.

Only 18 states have complied with the law’s provisions, the Justice Department reports, although 135 tribes and 4 territories also have adopted them. States that do not follow the law lose some of their federal anticrime funds.

Many states have objected to the relatively high costs of meeting the law’s standards, such as expanding their sex offender registries and adding staff to deal with additional check-ins required of offenders.

For example, Texas at one point estimated its cost of implementing SORNA would exceed $38 million, while the state would lose only $2.2 million in federal funds.

Texas estimated that its cost to implement SORNA would be at least $38 million, while according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the cost of losing the JAG funds would be just $2.2 million.

As of 2017, when the House passed a reauthorization of SORNA, it provided for a registry that included information on more than 900,000 convicted sex offenders around the nation.

The proposed 2017 revisions to the law, which never became law, would have given states more flexibility in classifying sex offenders on their registries, lowered the period that certain juveniles must register to 15 years, and limited public access to information on juvenile sex offenders.

At the time of the vote, Sensenbrenner expressed hope that with its “common sense changes, more states will come into compliance.”

Sensenbrenner also has championed immigration restrictions, including curbing asylum and barring immigrants in the U.S. illegally from obtaining driver’s licenses.

He was a prime sponsor of the Second Chance Act, which supports prisoner reentry programs around the nation, and the reauthorization of that law, which was included in the First Step Act passed by Congress late last year.

Sensenbrenner also was a leading sponsor of the 2004 Justice for All Act, which established the rights of crime victims in federal criminal cases and provided mechanisms to enforce those rights.

By: Charles Benson of TMJ4

MILWAUKEE — Longtime Republican lawmaker Jim Sensenbrenner is reflecting on his 40-plus years in Congress after deciding not to run for re-election next year.

Sensenbrenner talked with TODAY'S TMJ4's Charles Benson about his accomplishments plus an interesting phone call from the White House that his wife interrupted.

The 76-year-old congressman seems ready for the next chapter of his life.

Sensenbrenner: I want to write a book and spend a little more time with my family. Benson: Was there some moment that came to you — was there a process in terms of thinking this through?

Sensenbrenner: I thought it through and prayed a lot.

Sensenbrenner lists the Patriot Act and later modifications to it among his accomplishments. The act gave law enforcement broad powers to deter terrorism after 9-11. Opponents say it infringed on First Amendment rights.

On big issues such as healthcare, Sensenbrenner believes both sides need to be on board but sees little hope of that happening now. "To make changes there's got to be consensus, and literally everybody's idea on what to do to fix healthcare is split into a thousand pieces."

Sensenbrenner also played a leadership role in impeaching President Bill Clinton. Benson: How do you view that? Sensenbrenner: We did the right thing.

House Democrats are now talking about impeaching President Donald Trump. "Only the House can determine if there is an impeachable offense," said Sensenbrenner. "I don't think the president has committed an impeachable offense."

He gives Trump high marks on policy issues.

Sensenbrenner: You look at the fact we have record unemployment, record employment and record-low minority unemployment. Benson: Are you concerned about his personal behavior or the way he leads? Sensenbrenner: Well, what I can say is — he does have a unique personality.

Sensenbrenner's favorite president is Ronald Reagan. They met in the 1960s. He remembers a call one Sunday night from the White House.

"There was a time he called me up about dinnertime and I was talking to him."

Sensenbrenner says he usually talked with his mother before dinnertime, which is why his wife, Chery,l jumped on the call and interrupted NOT knowing Jim was talking with the president.

"The president said, 'Well, Jim, you've got some domestic duties to attend to.' Cheryl said, 'Who is this?' The president responded, 'My name is Reagan. Maybe you've heard of me before.' When I got downstairs, she was on the floor hyperventilating."

Sensenbrenner also remembers a conversation with President George W. Bush on Air Force One after the president threw out the first pitch at the debut of Miller Park in 2001. It did not go as planned and Bush was telling Sensenbrenner why.

"You know I spent all last week practicing throwing the ball," the president told Sensenbrenner. "The Secret Service never told me I had to wear a bulletproof vest, so that's why the ball bounced twice."

Sensenbrenner responded, "Mr. President, you would be remembered even if the ball didn't bounce, but the 41,000 people who were there for the debut of Miller Park will always remember the two bounces."

Sensenbrenner's term will end in January 2021.

By: Molly Beck of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MADISON - A number of familiar names — and two newcomers — are swirling in the wake of U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's stunning announcement he won't seek another term after more than four decades in Washington.

The departure of "the dean" of the Wisconsin congressional delegation has opened a floodgate of potential Republican candidates in the 5th Congressional District, Wisconsin's most conservative district.

Sensenbrenner's advice to them?

"Don't kill each other, please."

Among the potential Republican contenders are Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, former Republican U.S. Senate candidates Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir, state Sen. Chris Kapenga, and state Rep. Adam Neylon.

Matt Walker, son of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, and Ben Voelkel, a Waukesha native who works for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, are also considering running for the seat. 

"It's going to be the charge of the right brigade," said Brandon Scholz, a former executive director of the state Republican Party.

"It's such a valuable seat and it doesn't come open very often," said Brett Healy, president of the conservative MacIver Institute. "And then once you're in, you're in one of the most secure Republican seats in the country. I think everyone's going to kick the tires."

Sensenbrenner, 76, said Wednesday evening he won't run for a 22nd term in 2020 — catching off guard some Republicans living in his district who have been waiting for years to hear those words but had stopped expecting to hear them anytime soon. 

Fitzgerald, the leader of the state Senate from Juneau, suggested Thursday his work with former Gov. Scott Walker to pass landmark legislation in 2011 to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees gives him an edge in the wide field.

"Everybody knows that D.C. is a mess, and in need of more Wisconsin-style common sense," Fitzgerald said. "President Trump needs strong allies to fix it and in the coming days I’ll be seriously weighing a run for Congress with my family and my team."

Farrow told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was shocked by the news of Sensenbrenner's retirement and would be talking over the possibility of running with his family in the coming days. 

Vukmir, who served in the state Senate as assistant majority leader to Fitzgerald, said Thursday she is "strongly considering this terrific opportunity."

"Congressman Sensenbrenner has enormous shoes to fill, he’ll be missed," she said. "I look forward to making a decision in the coming days.”

Vukmir challenged Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin unsuccessfully in 2018 after defeating Nicholson, a businessman from Delafield. 

Nicholson also could run. On Wednesday, he wrote on Twitter: "There will be time to make a decision about this race later."

Neylon, a former Sensenbrenner staffer from Pewaukee who was elected to the Assembly in 2013, said he's considering a run but hasn't made a decision yet. Kapenga told the Associated Press he's "definitely" looking at a run.

Voelkel, who works for Johnson and has done campaign work for Johnson, Scott Walker and Tommy Thompson, and Walker are also considering running for what would be their first effort to seek public office. 

One area Republican who likely won't be running for Sensenbrenner's seat: former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Her allies are focused on laying the groundwork for her to run for governor in 2022, according to a source close to Kleefisch.

Democrat Tom Palzewicz, who challenged Sensenbrenner in 2018, also said Wednesday he will run for the seat in 2020. Last time, Sensenbrenner beat Palzewicz 62% to 38%.

By: Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, the second longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives, will not run for a 22nd term, he said Wednesday.

Sensenbrenner made his first public announcement Wednesday on “The Mark Belling Show” on WISN-AM.

In a separate interview with the Journal Sentinel, he said, “I think the time has come to basically turn over the page in the 5th District.”

The 76-year-old congressman has long represented the GOP’s geographic base in Wisconsin – the suburban, exurban and rural communities north and west of Milwaukee County that historically turn out in droves for Republican candidates and provide a large share of the party’s activists and political leaders.

Sensenbrenner’s departure after 2020 is likely to draw huge interest from within a district packed with aspiring GOP politicians.

It also makes him the latest of several big-name Republicans to leave the Wisconsin stage: former House Speaker Paul Ryan (who retired after 2018), former Gov. Scott Walker (who was defeated in 2018) and current Rep. Sean Duffy, who announced he would step down this month to focus on the health problems of the baby he and his wife are expecting.

Sensenbrenner said he is not retiring for health reasons or because he is worried about a re-election challenge. He is at least the 15th GOP member of the House to announce retirement this year, a group that includes Duffy.

Sensenbrenner said his decision was also unrelated to serving in the minority, where he has spent virtually half his congressional career, and unrelated to the turbulence of Donald Trump’s presidency.

He plans to serve out his current term and said he will back “the Republican ticket from top to bottom” in 2020.

“I’ve said all along I’d know when the right time came and I’ve come to the conclusion it has,” he said. “There is nobody running against me. Nobody can say they’ve pushed me out. I am doing this on my terms.”

At 42 years, a Wisconsin milestone

Toward the end of next year, Sensenbrenner will surpass former Democratic Rep. Dave Obey as the longest-serving member of Congress ever from Wisconsin – at 42 .

Sensenbrenner served six years as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, where his best-known accomplishment was the USA Patriot Act that was passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

He had his hand in numerous other issues that came through that committee, including the Voting Rights Act. While compiling a very conservative voting record, he also worked across the aisle with liberal Democrats on some issues, including civil liberties.

Sensenbrenner also served four years as chairman of the science committee.

The Clinton impeachment

The veteran lawmaker also served as one of the House “managers” in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.

The GOP’s internal rules limiting committee chairs to six-years has kept him from leading any House committees since 2007. But Sensenbrenner said he supported term limits on committee chairs and pointed out that he continued serving in the House long after his chairmanships were over. He said he did that in part to “protect” legislation he wrote or helped to pass, such as the Patriot Act.

Sensenbrenner said he does not plan to take sides in a GOP primary for his current seat.

“The only advice I can give to all them is don’t kill each other,” he said of Republicans interested in seeking his seat.

In a statement, former Speaker Ryan said this:

“Jim Sensenbrenner has been a close friend, a supportive colleague, and a mentor of mine for decades. He has provided an amazing example for generations of Wisconsin Republican legislators to follow and showed us how to be effective advocates and representatives.”

, our Republican Party, and most important, our country, in a better place than when I began my service.”

The partisan make-up of Sensenbrenner’s 5th District makes it likely to remain in GOP hands after the 2020.

The district contains some of the highest-turnout Republican communities in America. As a result of his lopsided margins and the district’s high voting rate, Sensenbrenner has in several elections received more votes than any other GOP House candidate in the country. He won re-election in 2018 with 62% of the vote.