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30 December 2011

FollowUp 6: Wisconsin Republican Dirty Tricks

The latest allegation against those endeavoring to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is from Evan Wynn, a Republican state legislator from Whitewater, in Southern Wisconsin.  He talked about writing legislation to make it illegal to pay for recall petition signatures with World Net Daily.
"I had a person, a constituent, who called and told me a friend had received $10 for signing the petition," he said. "The Government Accountability Board responded in a letter to me and said the statute doesn't say anything about recall petitions."
"But they'd like that changed," he said.
His short bill would do just that, adding a prohibition to state law against paying for those signatures.
"It's common sense that bribery's not a good thing," he told WND.
He said the bill could be considered as early as next month and adopted on a fast track shortly after. But he said the change would not impact the organized campaign to recall Walker, as those 540,000 signatures are due in January.
As I wrote previously, the groups organizing the petitions to recall the Governor say that they are not paying for signatures.  Channel 3000 has been covering the allegations.
WISC-TV followed up with the governor, to ask if he had proof of any recall circulators being brought in from out of out of state or paid to gather signatures.
"I haven't talked to any of the circulators, not at all," said Walker. "My assertion was that if they did what they did in Ohio, which was they paid circulators along with activists and they got close to a million there in a state about twice our size, if they do that, they'd be more than likely to get enough to get on the ballot.
"United Wisconsin and the Democratic Party assert they're not paying anyone except supervisory staff.
So, Mr. Wynn's contention appears to be off base.  At the end of the Channel 3000 article they confirm that the state has nothing.
The Government Accountability Board said Tuesday that it hasn't received any complaints or contact about any circulators being paid.
It wouldn't really matter if those circulating the petitions or those signing the petitions were paid, neither would be illegal under current Wisconsin laws.  But, this is just one of many ways that Governor Walker and his party are endeavoring to mislead voters in Wisconsin.  Mr. Wynn continued.
The governor then will have time to challenge individual names – and likely will be busy as state officials already have confirmed they would not arbitrarily remove signatures such as Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler if they were accompanied by a valid Wisconsin address.
This was picked up by Fox News and refuted by Talking Points Memo.
Fox News reporter Eric Shawn told viewers on Thursday that signatures from “Mickey Mouse” and “Adolf Hitler” were “allegedly on petitions in Wisconsin in the recall for Governor Scott Walker.” Fun little story with the potential to go viral? Absolutely. True? Not so much.
In fact, the original story that Shawn evidently built his report off of is about a strictly hypothetical situation discussed by members of the Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board who were asked what would happen if someone signed the petition as Mickey Mouse. There’s been no actual allegation that anyone actually signed the petition against Walker that way.
So, Mr. Wynn is continuing to play off of that hypothetical situation.  There are neither paid signatures on the petitions nor is there petition bloating in an attempt to fake enough signatures to recall the Governor.  There were threats from supporters of Governor Walker to destroy petitions which would be a felony offense in Wisconsin.

For those familiar with World Net Daily (famous along with Donald Trump for refusing to believe that President Obama has produced his real birth certificate), it is not surprising that their article gets a bit crazy.
Wynn told a Wisconsin television station the idea of activists paying for petition signatures is "outrageous."
Critics have said the attacks on conservative legislators and the governor are a typical "Alinsky" fight. Saul Alinsky was a radical who developed the confrontational political tactics that were used during the 1960s.
Barack Obama was trained by the Alinsky-founded Gamaliel Foundation.
Mr. Alinsky is an interesting choice to use for this comparison.  While he was an early Chicago community organizer, like Mr. Obama would be many years later, Mr. Alinsky was known as a leader of the "nonsocialist left".  That's not the way conservatives usually characterize Mr. Obama.

Sadly, this has become a national fight.  Conservative publication, Human Events, has a recent article which interviews Governor Walker.
“And don’t forget that here in Wisconsin, you don’t need a reason to recall someone from office,” Walker told us, noting that in the last two recall elections of governors—North Dakota’s Lynn Frazier in 1921 and Gray Davis of California in 2003—the former was for malfeasance in office and the latter for clearly breaking campaign promises he had made the year before.  The recall facing Walker, he noted, “is because I made promises of reform and have kept them.”
Walker also noted that while state law requires 25% of registered voters to have signed petitions, it is not required that they be voters in the last election, just that they are eligible to vote.  This means that college students who are just turning 18 and becoming eligible to vote may sign petitions to force a recall election.
The governor freely acknowledged that he will be outspent by his enemies, recalling how in recall elections against Republican state senators earlier this year, the union-backed opposition spent nearly $40 million, or twice as much as the GOP and its allies.
Again, this is meant to mislead.  Mr. Walker claims that the legislation that he has pushed through the legislature is what he promised during his campaigns, but that was one of many lies.  One Wisconsin Now has a press page that documents the malfeasance of Mr. Walker's term so far.

The last lie to point out in this post is on spending.  Mr. Walker complains that "union-backed opposition" is outspending him two to one.  But, that's not how it is seen from the perspective of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
At the outset of Wisconsin’s historic recall fight, GOP Gov. Scott Walker and his allies are outspending the other side on television by a margin of roughly 4-to-1, an advantage he’s expected to maintain in the weeks ahead.
The governor has already aired more than $1 million in broadcast ads since he hit the airwaves in mid-November, according to the ad-tracking firm Kantar Media CMAG.
When you include cable ads and time bought for spots that haven’t aired yet, Walker’s TV spending easily exceeds $2 million, according to two political sources tracking media buys.
Walker’s ability to dominate the opening phase of the race on television could be a key factor in a contest with huge national overtones -- America’s third-ever gubernatorial recall election, taking place in a battleground state in a presidential year.
The recall organizations are not paying for signatures, despite the allegation that they are.  Micky Mouse and Adolph Hitler are not signatures that have been found on the petitions as of this writing, despite the allegation that they are.  Those working to recall Governor Walker are not outspending him two to one as he alleges, he is outspending them four to one.  Mr. Walker needs to be forced to find other employment.

16 November 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
30 November 2011, FollowUp 1.
4 December 2011, FollowUp 2.
11 December 2011, FollowUp 3.
14 December 2011, FollowUp 4.
15 December 2011, FollowUp 5.

13 January 2012, FollowUp 7.
17 January 2012, FollowUp 8.
25 January 2012, FollowUp 9.
2 February 2012, FollowUp 10.
9 February 2012, FollowUp 11.
12 February 2012, FollowUp 12.
18 February 2012, FollowUp 13.
22 February 2012, FollowUp 14.
6 March 2012, FollowUp 15.
12 March 2012, FollowUp 16.
16 March 2012, FollowUp 17.
30 March 2012, FollowUp 18.
31 March 2012, FollowUp 19.
3 April 2012, FollowUp 20.
4 April 2012, FollowUp 21.
11 April 2012, FollowUp 22.
14 April 2012, FollowUp 23.
17 April 2012, FollowUp 24.
21 April 2012, FollowUp 25.
29 April 2012, FollowUp 26.
2 May 2012, FollowUp 27.
6 May 2012, FollowUp 28.
10 May 2012, FollowUp 29.
13 May 2012, FollowUp 30.
23 May 2012, FollowUp 31.
24 May 2012, FollowUp 32.
30 May 2012, FollowUp 33.
2 June 2012, FollowUp 34.
4 June 2012, FollowUp 35.
5 June 2012, FollowUp 36.

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