Volunteer for GOP candidate poses as student journalist to crash rival Democrat's press call

Volunteer for GOP candidate poses as student journalist to crash rival Democrat's press call
© WCIA

An unpaid volunteer for an Illinois Republican congressman's campaign reportedly posed as a student journalist in order to participate in the rival Democrat’s call with reporters.

News outlet WCIA reports Nick Klitzing, a volunteer on behalf of Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse passes legislation to boost election security research House Republicans investigating California secretary of state's contract with Biden-linked firm House Democrats' campaign arm releases ads hitting 10 Republicans on health care MORE’s (R-Ill.) campaign,  participated in the press call held by congressional candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan last week posing as a reporter for a college newspaper.

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When reached by WCIA for comment, Klitzing admitted he posed as a student journalist to get in on the call, noting that he was “just a volunteer.”

“I was willing to help. I’m just a volunteer,” he told the news outlet. He defended crashing the call, saying “it happens all the time.”

Klitzing is the former executive director of the Illinois Republican Party and former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s deputy campaign manager.

It is not immediately clear who directed Klitzing to participate in the call.

Klitzing used the name “Jim Sherman” to pose as a reporter for Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIUE) student newspaper The Alestle. SIUE confirmed to the news outlet that it had no one on its staff named “Jim Sherman” and did not participate in the call with Londrigan.

The conference call with Londrigan took place on July 17. The call involved several news reporters and campaign finance reform group End Citizens United.

Londrigan is challenging Davis again for his seat in Congress in 2020 after losing to him by a slim margin in 2018. End Citizens United listed Davis as one of its congressional targets to defeat in 2020.

Posing as “Sherman” on the call, Klitzing reportedly asked Londrigan directly about taking money from political action committees.

“My question is about the corporate PAC money that comes through the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] that you mentioned earlier,” Klitzing said. “The DCCC has received $1.93 million from corporate, some of the biggest corporate PACs like Lockheed Martin, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, big Pharma companies, big coal companies. Betsy, will you vow not to receive any benefit through TV ads, through mail, not to accept any of that corporate PAC benefit that comes through an end run through the DCCC?”

Londrigan responded directly to Klitzing during the call, saying she does not dictate who the DCCC takes money from.

“I don’t know what kind of answer I can give you on that,” Londrigan said. “But what I can tell you emphatically is my campaign is not accepting a dime of corporate PAC money. I want to make sure the people in Central Illinois and in the 13th District know that I’m going to Washington to serve them. I firmly believe in the term ‘public servant.’ That’s what I plan on being.”

The Hill has reached out to both Davis’s and Londrigan’s campaign for comment.