Scott Bauer, Associated Press, September 7, 2021
Milwaukee City Council member Chantia Lewis, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, was charged Tuesday with a series of campaign finance violations for allegedly using donations and improper travel reimbursements on more than $21,000 in car payments, family trips, a worship conference and other personal expenses.
The four felonies and one misdemeanor were filed by the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office. Lewis was first elected to the Milwaukee City Council in 2016 and announced her candidacy for Senate in July. She is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 29.
The complaint said she used $13,400 in campaign funds for personal expenses; deposited $2,725 in campaign donations for personal use; spent nearly $3,300 in campaign money on travel and received $2,250 in false travel reimbursement from the City of Milwaukee.
Lewis, 41, falsely represented to the City of Milwaukee that she was owed travel reimbursement for expenses incurred while doing city business, when she had paid for those expenses out of her campaign account, the complaint said.
She used nearly $400 in expenses during a family trip to Georgia in 2016, including payments at a trampoline park and fast food restaurants, the complaint said.
Lewis, a pastor, also used $310 in campaign money to attend a worship conference in Orlando, Florida, that had nothing to do with city business, the complaint said.
She also spent $4,884 in campaign money for payments toward her apartment rent, the complaint said.
Lewis, in her Senate campaign launch video, touted her service in the U.S. Air Force, her current work as a pastor and her 2016 election to the Milwaukee City Council.
“All my life I’ve been told what I can’t do,” she said, walking through the streets of Milwaukee.