Sen. Baldwin Criticized for Partner’s Tax Minimization Work Amid Her Anti-Loophole Stance

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has consistently criticized the U.S. tax code for allowing the wealthiest 1% to avoid paying their fair share through loopholes. However, her partner, Maria Brisbane, specializes in helping “Ultra High Net Worth” clients minimize their tax burdens at Morgan Stanley, where she is a private wealth adviser. Republicans aim to highlight this apparent hypocrisy in the upcoming election against GOP businessman Eric Hovde.

Matt Fisher, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Republican Party, stated, “Baldwin and Brisbane are enriching themselves by helping out-of-state clients avoid paying their taxes.” Brisbane, recognized on Forbes’ “America’s Top Women Wealth Advisors” list, has been dating Baldwin since 2018. She joined Morgan Stanley in early 2024 after previously working at Merrill Lynch.

Morgan Stanley’s website describes Brisbane’s focus on creating customized investment strategies for affluent clients, including equity portfolios and investments in real estate and hedge funds. Baldwin has criticized hedge funds for exploiting tax loopholes that she argues benefit the wealthy at the expense of workers and taxpayers.

Andrew Mamo, a spokesman for Baldwin’s campaign, defended her record, pointing to her legislative efforts to close tax loopholes, such as the Billionaires Income Tax Act and Carried Interest Fairness Act. He dismissed the attacks on Baldwin’s partner as baseless and wrong, contrasting them with reports of Hovde self-financing his campaign and investing in a hedge fund based in the Cayman Islands, a known tax haven.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, however, accused Baldwin of hypocrisy. “Career politician Tammy Baldwin complains about the rich dodging taxes while her Wall Street mega-millionaire partner is helping the rich dodge taxes,” said NRSC spokesman Tate Mitchell.

Previously, Brisbane and her colleague Alex Zachary generated $7.5 million in annual revenue from $1.5 billion in client assets at Merrill Lynch. In 2021, Baldwin and Brisbane purchased a $1.3 million penthouse in Washington, D.C. Brisbane also teaches a course on wealth management for high-net-worth clients at Columbia University’s business school, which includes a seminar on “wealth transfer for tax-sensitive individuals.”

Gabe Kaminsky
Gabe Kaminsky
Investigative Reporter.

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