Wisconsin Democratic Senate Candidate Charged With Theft, Fraud

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Milwaukee Metropolis Council member Chantia Lewis, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, was charged Tuesday with a collection of marketing campaign finance violations for allegedly utilizing donations and improper journey reimbursements on greater than $21,000 in automobile funds, household journeys, a worship convention and different private bills.

The 4 felonies and one misdemeanor had been filed by the Milwaukee County district lawyer’s workplace. Lewis was first elected to the Milwaukee Metropolis Council in 2016 and introduced her candidacy for Senate in July. She is scheduled to seem in court docket on Sept. 29.

Lewis has made no fast touch upon the costs. Her lawyer, Jason Luczak, mentioned Lewis would search to have the costs dismissed. He mentioned prosecutors can’t set up any prison intent and account statements not referenced within the grievance would present Lewis had no intention of stealing cash or committing a criminal offense.

“The prison grievance principally solely offers half the image of the funds,” Luczak mentioned. “Clearly it’s a one-sided doc that’s ready by the district lawyer’s workplace.”

The grievance mentioned she used $13,400 in marketing campaign funds for private bills; deposited $2,725 in marketing campaign donations for private use; spent practically $3,300 in marketing campaign cash on journey and acquired $2,250 in false journey reimbursement from the Metropolis of Milwaukee.

Lewis, 41, falsely represented to the Metropolis of Milwaukee that she was owed journey reimbursement for bills incurred whereas doing metropolis enterprise, when she had paid for these bills out of her marketing campaign account, the grievance mentioned.

She used practically $400 in bills throughout a household journey to Georgia in 2016, together with funds at a trampoline park and fast-food eating places, the grievance mentioned.

“There isn’t any motive {that a} native public official who offers solely with Metropolis of Milwaukee points would wish to marketing campaign in Georgia, roughly 800 miles away,” the grievance mentioned. “Based mostly on the character of a few of these bills (i.e. a trampoline park, ATM withdrawals), there isn’t any approach these may very well be thought-about as campaign-related bills.”

Lewis, a pastor, additionally used $310 in marketing campaign cash to attend a worship convention in Orlando, Florida, that had nothing to do with metropolis enterprise, the grievance mentioned. She additionally spent $4,884 in marketing campaign cash for funds towards her residence lease, the grievance mentioned.

She violated state marketing campaign finance legal guidelines by submitting false studies, structuring a marketing campaign contribution to keep away from contribution limits and illegally used marketing campaign funds for private use, the grievance mentioned. She defrauded the Metropolis of Milwaukee and her marketing campaign of at the least $21,666, the grievance says.

The felony fees had been for misconduct in workplace between 2016 and 2020, deliberately submitting a false marketing campaign report, embezzlement of greater than $10,000, and deliberately making an illegal distribution from her marketing campaign finance account.

Three of the felony fees are punishable by as much as a $10,000 effective and three 1/2 years in jail whereas the embezzlement cost is punishable with a effective as much as $25,000 and 10 years in jail.

She additionally faces a misdemeanor fraud cost punishable by as much as 9 months in jail and a $10,000 effective.

Lewis is one among 11 Democratic candidates within the Senate race for the seat presently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. He has not mentioned but whether or not he’ll search a 3rd time period.

Lewis, in her Senate marketing campaign launch video, touted her service within the U.S. Air Pressure, her present work as a pastor and her 2016 election to the Milwaukee Metropolis Council. “All my life I’ve been advised what I can’t do,” she mentioned, strolling via the streets of Milwaukee.

Different Democrats working for Senate embody Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes; state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski; Milwaukee Bucks vice chairman Alex Lasry; and Outagamie County Government Tom Nelson.

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