Campaign worker charged with blackmailing women bragged of playing ‘Ellis the Elephant’ for Gingrich

Chris Moody
Political Reporter
The Ticket

As it turns out, there may be junk in that trunk.

A Republican presidential campaign worker who was charged this week with cyberstalking young women often bragged about about dressing up as "Ellis the Elephant," a character in Callista Gingrich's children's books who would appear during book signings with her husband, former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

The FBI on Tuesday accused Adam Savader, a former George Washington University student who worked for Gingrich's presidential campaign and interned for Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, of sending 15 young women anonymous text messages saying he had nude pictures of them and that he would forward them to their family and friends if they did not send him more pictures.

According to a sworn affidavit filed in Michigan last week, Savader allegedly obtained nude pictures of some of the women and posted them without their consent on photo-sharing websites. Savader used the Google Voice program to shield his phone number when contacting the women between September 2012 and April 1, 2013, according to the complaint.

While working for Gingrch, Savader volunteered to dress up in a furry elephant costume to appear alongside Newt and Callista Gingrich during events. Callista Gingrich is the author of two books for children, "Sweet Land of Liberty" and "Land of the Pilgrims' Pride," in which the character Ellis, a large friendly elephant, teaches kids about American history. Several Gingrich interns and staffers dressed up as the character during the campaign.

During the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., in March, Savader told Yahoo News that he was chosen to wear the Ellis costume for the Gingrich events, although he did not specify how many times he put on the costume.

Savader enjoyed having his picture taken with politicians and media figures, which he often posted online. His Facebook page is filled with photos of him with several prominent politicos and actors, including Ryan, former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Georgia Rep. Tom Price, Michelle Duggar from the TV show "19 Kids and Counting," tax lobbyist Grover Norquist, actor Allen Covert, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Savador is currently being held in federal custody, the FBI said.