UPDATE: Senate President Mike Ellis will not seek re-election - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Senate President Mike Ellis will not seek re-election

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Two days after the release of a hidden video which showed him planning illegal campaign activity, Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) announced he will not seek reelection to his 19th District Senate seat this year.

"Like my dear friends Tim Cullen, Bob Jauch and Dale Schultz, I see that compromise is no longer valued in today's Capitol environment, and that means I don't fit in anymore," wrote Ellis in a statement released Friday morning, referring to three other long-time senators who are not seeking reelection.  "Special interests hold too much sway instead of the voice of the people.  I'm a senator from a different era, and I value my integrity too much to compromise it anymore."

On Wednesday, the national conservative group Project Veritas released a video shot with a hidden camera at the Inn on the Park bar in Madison, which shows Ellis talking about illegally setting up a Super PAC group outside of his campaign.  He talks about using the Super PAC to attack his opponent Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton). 

"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 on the video. 

Judi Rhodes Engels served as treasurer for the Ellis campaign, but resigned from that post on Thursday.  She and Ellis both claim they never actually spoke about setting up the Super PAC described in the video.

Ellis has served 44 years in the state legislature, 32 of it in the Senate. 

Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) told 27 News he is sad to see Ellis' career end this way.

"When people were nervous in the legislature, when I was new and when I was nervous, he found a way to connect through his humor, to make people laugh.  And I think that those skills are gonna be sorely missed in the next legislative session," said Sen. Schultz.

Several people, including Mike McCabe with the watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, believe Sen. Ellis should be criminally investigated for potentially violating campaign finance law.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told 27 News on Thursday that he doesn't have enough information on the matter to determine whether or not it warrants an investigation at this point.

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MADISON, Wis. (WKOW) -- Republican Senate President Mike Ellis will not seek re-election following release of candid video.

The news comes just days after the release of a secretly caught video where Ellis talks about illegal campaign activity."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.

More coming on WKOW.com



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