Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mike Ellis Might Ask...'And What About Walker?'

It was just a few months ago that moderate veteran GOP State Sen. Mike Ellis abruptly withdrew from his re-election campaign after boasting that he was going to enable a purportedly independent third-party organization to pay for ads against his opponent.

A proposal; bar talk bluster, reckless for sure.

And certainly illegal if money had been raised and spent in that sneaky, sleazy manner - - and so the long-time legislator - - set up for a hidden recording by more conservative operatives - - quit in disgrace with a scolding by the Journal Sentinel editorial board, too:
After the video came out last week, Ellis claimed he didn't understand that what he was proposing on the video was against state law. That was hard to swallow — and still is. 
In the recording, made secretly at a Madison bar, Ellis talks about having a separate political operation with $400,000 to $500,000 to help get him elected. Wisconsin law prevents candidates from working with groups that are set up independently to run ads aimed at helping them. 
"I am putting together my own super PAC," Ellis is heard to say in the recording, with the intent of attacking his Democratic opponent in this fall's Senate race, state Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton. 
"The world has changed and to be honest with you, I just don't fit in there anymore. I grew up where you could be an independent thinker and still work out compromises," Ellis said in an interview with Charlie Sykes on WTMJ-AM (620). 
Well, sure, but it's not exactly independent thinking to propose an illegal act. Ellis was wrong to do that — even if only in passing at a bar. And he surely should have known it was illegal.
The tape made its way to the public on April 9th. By the 11th, Ellis had withdrawn, and the Journal Sentinel said its goodbye on the 13th. 

Flash forward to two Fridays ago.

Documents were released that day by federal judges showing Gov. Walker allegedly having helped raise millions of dollars that were funneled per his wishes through a purportedly independent group to aid his 2012 recall campaign, and those of other Republican legislators.

You can read the details in court record, here.

Then came more disclosures about other coordination to benefit Walker and other GOP-recall candidates by two additional purportedly independent outside groups: 

A newly released document alleges Gov. Scott Walker's campaign illegally coordinated with two national groups on political advertising in a way that went further than what had been previously known.
The court filing by prosecutors alleges that the governor's campaign crossed a bright legal line by coordinating with independent conservative groups that expressly called for the election of specific candidates in the recall elections for governor and state Senate in 2011 and 2012.
Walker and Ellis - - apples and oranges?

Not really.

Walker isn't denying that these donations or coordinated activities took place. The documents make that all clear.

He's simply saying the activities was covered by free speech protections, so wasn't illegal.

And the Journal Sentinel editorial board hasn't said a word about it, as I have pointed out.  Maybe an editorial judgement will appear after the Labor Day holiday, but precious time is passing.

Ellis took the fall, went down hard, and the Journal Sentinel said he had it coming.

As you would expect from the editorial board at the state's largest paper.

I'd bet Ellis is wondering why there seems to be a separate, silent treatment by the newspaper's' commentators for Walker, since prosecutors are alleging in court filings, with documented back-up, that Walker crossed more lines than did Ellis who just shot off his mouth.

1 comment:

Boxer said...

"Walker and Ellis - - apples and oranges?

No, more like rotten apple and rotting apple.