The head of a government watchdog groups says it’s a “tragedy in many respects” that a past supporter of campaign finance reform was caught on video, talking about setting up his own Super PAC for his run for re-election.
Republican Senator Mike Ellis of Neenah says he now knows that it’s illegal in Wisconsin for a candidate to coordinate with an outside group. Jay Heck of Common Cause says to hear Ellis talk about that, even in a hypothetical manner, is shocking and disturbing. He says it’s a sign of the times.
Democratic Representative Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton is challenging Ellis this fall. In the secretly taped video, at a Madison hotel bar, Ellis said the PAC could run attack ads against Bernard Schaber.
Bernard Schaber says she’ll take her Republican opponent at his word that he didn’t realize forming a Super PAC for his campaign was illegal, but that people are frustrated with politics and government, and they can get turned off by backroom politics.
Heck says he worked closely with Ellis several years ago to push for reforms. He says Ellis was concerned about third-party, outside groups, and the money they were putting into campaigns. He doesn’t think the fallout from the video will end anytime soon.