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Myers and Bryce

Cathy Myers, left, looks on while Randy Bryce speaks at a Wisconsin Congressional District 1 Democratic forum on Jully 11 in Kenosha. Myers recently filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission claiming Bryce used campaign funds for personal use. Both candidates are vying to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is not seeking re-election. 

RACINE COUNTY — Democratic congressional candidate Cathy Myers filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday against her primary opponent Randy Bryce and the Randy Bryce for Congress Campaign.

The complaint alleges that Bryce and his campaign violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by “converting campaign funds to Bryce’s personal use when at least $7,776.73 of the campaign’s funds were used to pay for personal legal fees and a judgment against Bryce for a personal debt he owed his former-girlfriend — 13 years before Bryce became a candidate.”

Myers and Bryce are both running as Democrats in the race to be the next representative in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.

According to the complaint:

In September 2004, Bryce’s former girlfriend Rhonda Slechta, then named Rhonda Nessler, sued Bryce in Milwaukee County Circuit Court for $1,776.99 for money she gave him to buy a car.

In October 2004, the circuit court judge ruled against Bryce and in 2017 the amount owed by Bryce, with interest, grew to more than $4,200.

During the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Slechta received a check from the law firm Halling & Cayo for $4,245.73.

A few days after Slechta received the check from Halling and Cayo, court records indicate the judgement against Bryce in Milwaukee County Circuit Court was satisfied in full.

In January, the campaign made a payment of $7,703.73 to Halling & Cayo for “legal services.”

In a statement Myers said, “There is bipartisan support for getting money out of politics and ending the culture of corruption in Washington, so we need to hold our leaders to the highest standards, regardless of party affiliation. If political donors are paying for Randy Bryce’s past mistakes, all voters deserve to know that.”

Jeremy Levinson, attorney with the Halling & Cayo law firm, said via email to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he has been “assisting the campaign on a variety of issues involving Wisconsin-based research and Wisconsin election law from the start. As for my work for Randy Bryce in a personal capacity, invoices issued to him reflect fees and costs incurred and each was promptly paid with personal funds.”

Julia Savel, communications director for the Bryce campaign said in a statement: “Our campaign is focused on talking to voters about the issues in southeastern Wisconsin, and we hope all the candidates in the race for the First Congressional District do the same. We are in construction, not demolition.”

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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