More fallout after recordings of Senator Ellis released - – Rockford’s News Leader

More fallout after recordings of Senator Ellis released


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Senator Mike Ellis says he has done nothing illegal and a video taken without his knowledge is misleading.

A conservative activist known for his hidden-camera videos released audio on Wednesday of Ellis talking about raising money for a super PAC to attack his Democratic opponent Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber.

It is against Wisconsin law for a candidate to coordinate with political action committees or outside groups.  Ellis tells The Associated Press that he understands that he looks "terrible" in the video, but never acted on the discussion after realizing the next day that what he was talking about was illegal.

The audio and video was released Wednesday by Project Veritas, an organization led by conservative activist James O'Keefe.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Just a day after Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) identified Judi Rhodes as the person could help him coordinate an illegal Super PAC, she has resigned as his campaign treasurer, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

"I have never set up any 'Super PAC' nor have I had any intention of doing so nor have I ever had any conversation with Senator Ellis about it," Rhodes said in a statement. "I will not work for any committee that would imply that I would improperly do so. I have terminated my contract with the Ellis to Madison Committee."

Ellis identified Rhodes by name in a secret video shot by the conservative group Project Veritas, which was released on Wednesday.

"I am putting together my own super PAC. I have a $400,000 committee and Judi Rhodes will, I am raising the money, she will manufacture the crap," said Ellis in the video.  Ellis was talking about forming a Super PAC to attack his Democratic opponent in the 19th Senate District, Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton).

It is against the law in Wisconsin for a candidate to coordinate with a PAC or any outside groups.

In a statement released to 27 News, Sen. Ellis said he never talked with Rhodes about such a plan and dropped the idea once he found out it would be illegal.

"As you know, I have spent most of the past 15 years fighting for campaign finance reform, and trying to get special interest money out of politics. The recorded conversation was one of many potential ideas that I have bounced off of others after work, in which I could be reelected with the help of personal friends, to avoid being tainted by special interest money. Shortly after the video was recorded, I was informed that the described scenario would be illegal, and the idea went no further," reads the statement.

Project Veritas has not responded to inquiries by 27 News.

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