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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

 12:13 PM 

Senate honors Ellis, though Erpenbach questions motivation

The Senate today voted to honor the service for former Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, though Dem Sen. Jon Erpenbach questioned the motivation for the resolution.

Erpenbach, D-Middleton, worked with Ellis on campaign finance reform and the creation of the Government Accountability Board during their time in the Senate. Erpenbach said resolutions such as this are normally reserved for former members who have passed away and chided Republicans, saying Ellis was "run out of town" two years ago by the conservative wing of the GOP.

Conservatives often blamed Ellis for holding up various priorities as compromises were worked out.

Senate President Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, chided Erpenbach for questioning the motives of senators, which is against chamber rules.

Erpenbach then raised the prospect there was a reason behind the resolution.

"This is here because somebody is looking for an endorsement in a congressional race, I think," Erpenbach said.

Erpenbach did not single out who he was referencing. But Sen. Frank Lasee, R-DePere, is the only co-sponsor of the resolution who's currently running for Congress. 

UPDATE: Lasee said he did not ask Ellis for his endorsement, but didn't want to respond to Erpenbach's comments.

"I thought Mike Ellis should be honored," he said.

UPDATE 2: Ellis said this afternoon he was unaware the resolution had been introduced and that he has not spoken with Lasee about an endorsement.


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