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The Latest: Spokeswoman: Kinzinger remarks freedom of speech

February 26, 2019

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on an Illinois congressman who criticized Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ decision to pull Wisconsin National Guard troops off the U.S. southern border (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

A spokeswoman for an Illinois congressman and Wisconsin National Guard member who criticized Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers says the congressman was exercising his free-speech rights in doing so.

Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger criticized Evers on Twitter and on Fox News on Monday for an executive order pulling the state’s Guard troops out of Arizona. Wisconsin statutes prohibit a commissioned officer from using “contemptuous words” against government officials, including the president and Wisconsin’s governor.

Guard officials and Evers’ office are looking into whether to discipline Kinzinger.

Kinzinger’s spokeswoman, Maura Gillespie, says Kinzinger was off-duty at the time of his criticism and “has the right to exercise his freedom of speech as he so chooses.”

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11:30 a.m.

The Wisconsin National Guard and Gov. Tony Evers’ office are looking into whether an Illinois congressman who belongs to the Guard should face discipline for criticizing Evers’ decision to withdraw troops from the U.S. southern border.

Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger is a Wisconsin Air National Guard pilot. He ripped Evers on Twitter on Monday for ordering Wisconsin troops to pull out of Arizona, where they have been assisting the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol since June.

Evers is commander in chief of the Wisconsin National Guard. Asked if Kinzinger might be disciplined for criticizing his commanding officer, Guard spokesman Capt. Joe Travato said the Guard and Evers’ office are looking into the matter.

Kinzinger’s spokeswoman, Maura Gillespie, didn’t immediately respond to an email.

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