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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


(And can the Supreme Court be far behind?)
By Sue Wilson on 5/29/2012 10:56am PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

Anyone remember a time when radio seemed friendly and informative, rather than hostile and manipulative?

I do. And I remember when it changed in 1996, after Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act into law, and suddenly, huge corporations like Clear Channel began using our public airwaves --- those scarce radio frequencies which are owned by us ALL --- as a hammer to pummel Clinton and all other Democrats.

I've been working to correct the problem ever since 1998. I've advocated rewriting the Telecommunications Act, made the film Broadcast Blues to educate people about the problem, founded the Media Action Center to get local groups communicating with their local broadcasters, filed petitions to deny stations' licenses, and more.

Nothing worked.

But now, I believe I have found the legal means to put Talk Radio on trial at the FCC --- and perhaps eventually at the Supreme Court --- and, ironically enough, we just may have embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to thank for it...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Some early voters turned away, others to have their ballots 'remade' by poll workers without them on June 5th...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2012 5:03pm PT  

"Last night," Daily Kos blogger "Wisco Wherls" wrote today, "I felt like an atypically politically-motivated little kid on Christmas Eve waiting to receive the only gift I asked for: a chance to reclaim our Wisconsin from tyranny."

Wisco was so excited about the first day of Early Voting in the Badger State's historic recall elections of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators, that he (or she?) "ascended the front steps [of the Middleton City Hall] at 7:40 a.m., five minutes earlier than the building was even scheduled to open," in order to be among the first to cast a vote for Tom Barrett for Governor and Mahlon Mitchell for Lieutenant Governor.

Wisconsin voters were supposed to be able to cast early, in-person "absentee ballots" beginning today, according to state law and a memo sent to the state's Municipal Clerks [PDF] last week by the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election agency. But, alas, Wisco would leave disappointed this morning --- unable to cast what he/she had hoped might even be the first recall vote cast in the entire state --- after being told (inaccurately) that absentee ballots for Early Voting had not yet arrived at the Middleton municipal City Hall.

"I left my phone number and received confirmation that they will supposedly call me as soon as the ballots arrive," Wisco wrote today. "I guess that's what I get for getting my ass out of bed early for once. Nothing like waking up on Christmas morning only to find a lump of fucking coal in your stocking."

The blogger, appropriately enough, described the situation as "unequivocally unacceptable."

But we may have some good news for Wisco Wherls and the rest of Wisconsin's voters. The problem that he/she ran into may have been only an isolated incident, and the result of a miscommunication at the Middleton City Hall, at least according to a statement we received from the G.A.B. late today, after we'd inquired about the reported problem.

Though there remain other concerns with the way Municipal Clerks are handling the delay in the printing and receipt of official absentee ballots, which had not yet arrived at some municipalities around the state in time for the first official day for Early Voting...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Some to be disenfranchised by GOP change to absentee rules...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2012 10:03am PT  

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel...

Absentee ballots that normally would have been sent to voters as early as Tuesday won't get mailed until Friday, according to the head of the state's election agency.

The situation arose because of a conflict between state election law and the state constitution, which lays out a tight time frame between a primary and recall election, said Kevin Kennedy, director of the state Government Accountability Board.

Under one state law, absentee ballots should have been available Tuesday because the recall election of Gov. Scott Walker and four GOP state senators is three weeks away, on June 5. But another law says ballots cannot be made available in a general election until after the period to ask for a recount in the primary passes, and that won't happen for the May 8 primary until Friday, Kennedy said.

Normally, there is a longer period between a primary and general election. But the state constitution requires four weeks between a primary and a recall election. That causes conflicts between the absentee schedule and the election certification schedule, Kennedy said.

As a result, a small number of people who will be out of town June 5 won't be able to vote because they won't be able to get an absentee ballot this week, Kennedy said Tuesday.

"We're dealing with a short time frame," Kennedy said. "Some people are going to get caught."

State law used to allow election clerks to email absentee ballots to voters at the discretion of the clerks. Voters would then fill out the ballots and return them through traditional mail. But last year, Republican lawmakers eliminated the ability of clerks to do that except in limited circumstances.

"It would be wise to go back to allowing municipal clerks to transmit (ballots) electronically. We thought it was shortsighted" for legislators to change that law, Kennedy said.

The Journal-Sentinel goes on to report that the Republican who amended the law claimed the change was needed "because some municipalities emailed out ballots while others did not, and she thought all communities should handle it the same way." And her even weaker reasoning was that "what voters returned by traditional mail had to be transferred by clerks onto ballots, which she said could be time-consuming for staff on election day."

While this development doesn't seem, in and of itself, to be an issue nefariously targeted at undermining the Scott Walker recall election specifically (as it had appeared in some of the more vague reportage I'd seen elsewhere this morning), it's certainly troubling for those folks leaving town this week who will not receive ballots in time to vote, and who will have no recourse to receive them while overseas. Those folks are most likely disenfranchised, whether that was the plan or not, thanks to the short-sighted amendment to state law written by state Sen. Mary Lazich, Republican of New Berlin.

I'll be surprised, however, if we don't see more very specific dirty tricks in the days ahead, meant to undermine the recall elections specifically, akin to the coordinated hoaxes we saw during the group of WI state Senate recall elections that took place last Summer. During those, for example, deceptive absentee ballot request mailers were sent out by the Koch Brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity and a number of other Rightwing groups.

The mailers, which offered incorrect dates and deadlines, and instructed voters to send back the forms to the PO Box of a "Right to Life" group in Wisconsin, were sent out not only by the Kochs' AFP, but almost identical misleading mailers were sent out by a mysterious "group" calling itself "United Sportsmen of Wisconsin". As The BRAD BLOG subsequently reported, to the surprise of almost nobody, the front man for that purported WI gun organization, John W. Connors, turns out to have been a longtime AFP affiliate and National Director, with a history of running deceptive campaigns.

Watch for these same insidious democracy haters and their ugly dirty tricks tactics to appear very soon now in advance of the historic June 5th recall elections of Walker, his Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators whose seats --- along with the political balance of the state Senate --- are all now up for grabs.

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2012 8:00pm PT  

Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker has insisted, publicly and consistently, since the incredibly contentious introduction and eventual passage of his "Budget Repair" legislation early last year, that the need to remove collective-bargaining rights from public sector union workers was necessary only for balancing his state's alleged budgetary woes. It had absolutely nothing to do with breaking the unions, he said time and again, only with balancing the budget.

He maintained as much, even long after the public unions in question had agreed, as they did almost immediately, to concessions in pensions and benefits that would have closed the budget gap Walker pretended to be concerned about.

Opponents, in turn, had long charged that Walker's divisive legislation --- in the birthplace of public sector unions, nonetheless --- was about breaking the back of the unions on behalf of his corporate benefactors.

On Thursday night, video-taped evidence was made public supporting his opponents' contentions that the "Budget Repair" bill was about little more than breaking the unions. In the video, the Governor is seen, just before introducing the legislation in January of last year, speaking with local billionaire Diane Hendricks --- who eventually gave more money to Walker than any politician has ever received from one person in the state.

He is seen discussing his plan to "divide and conquer" public employee unions as part of his budget bill, in response to her direct questions about whether Wisconsin would ever be "completely red" and become a so-called "Right to Work" state. He went on to discuss his admiration for Indiana's Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels who, he said, was able to do away with unions "through executive order."

Walker laments that he is forced to do it legislatively in the Badger State, "So I need lawmakers to vote on it. But the key is by tying it to the budget," he says.

The conversation is seen in a new film by documentary filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein whose film, As Goes Janesville, is set to be released later this year on HBO. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker's opponent in next month's recall election, has already used part of the bombshell video in the following campaign ad...

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Need-to-know info, one week before WI's historic recall primaries...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2012 5:10pm PT  

There have been a few pieces of noteworthy news out of Wisconsin over the last few days in advance of their recall election primaries on May 8th (one week from Tuesday) and the recall general elections on June 5th. Some is largely positive for fans of democracy, but some of it, however, is both puzzling and a bit disturbing.

In the upcoming contests, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, his Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and the seats of four Republican state Senators will all face a referendum by the citizenry at the ballot box. The historic elections come more than a year after the GOP took over all branches of state government during the 2010 wave election before proceeding to release the Kraken spark a popular uprising through the tyranny of Big Government removal of a number of citizen rights --- such as collective-bargaining and voting --- along with the heavy-handed implementation of a number of other extreme Rightwing policies.

Here's are several of those late developments --- not concerning the horse races, but concerning the actual track conditions for those races...

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Procedural changes largely cosmetic as greater concerns about accuracy of unverified computer-tallies loom...
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2012 7:05am PT  

Several weeks ago we told you that Kathy Nickolaus, the controversial and oft-failed County Clerk of Waukesha County, WI, was stepping aside for the state's upcoming recall primary and general elections on May 8 and June 5.

The news that she would not be performing her usual election administration duties came on the heels of yet another embarrassing debacle in the state's most Republican county during their April 3rd Presidential Primary.

Nickolaus' decision to temporarily hand over her duties to Waukesha's Deputy Clerk Kelly Yaeger for the two recall elections was prompted after calls for her resignation by the chair of the County Executive Board as well as local newspapers. The most recent mess was said to have been caused by a failure of her computer system to upload computer-reported elections results of county municipalities until 6am on the morning following that election.

Shortly after the latest mess, during an interview while we were guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show on April 6th, election integrity expert John Washburn of Wisconsin Fair Elections explained to us that Yaeger had been both hired and trained by Nickolaus herself.

The temporary replacement by her Deputy offered little comfort for Washburn. Prompted by recent disturbing news that elections run on electronic tabulation systems identical to those used in Waukesha County had recently been found to have named several losing candidates as "winners" in elections in a different state, Washburn, a Republican, suggested he had little basis for confidence in whatever reported results might come out of the state's most Republican-leaning county in the upcoming recalls.

It appears that Washburn is not alone. Late Friday, it was reported that a number of the municipalities in Waukesha will be bypassing the County Clerk's office entirely by first sending their election night results straight to the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election agency. But it may be new concerns about computer-tallied results in the Badger State that present even greater problems for the historic elections beginning next month in the Badger State...

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Decision coincides with ALEC's announcement that they are abandoning Photo ID restriction advocacy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/18/2012 2:34pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two one-sentence orders declining to hear both appeals filed by Republican state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen in two different polling place Photo ID cases. In both, judges in lower courts had blocked the controversial voting rights restrictions passed by Republicans last year, finding that the law violated the state Constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

Republicans had hoped to overturn the temporary injunction placed on the law by Dane County Circuit David Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker and the permanent injunction issued by Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Neiss a week later in League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc. v. Walker.

The issue of a permanent injunction in the NAACP case is being heard this week in Judge Flanagan's court. The evidence included the videotaped testimony of 84-year old, home-born Ruthelle Frank, an elected member of the Brokaw Village Board who has voted in every election since 1948. Frank now faces disenfranchisement because her lack of a birth certificate prevents her from obtaining one of the "free" photo ID forms needed to cast a vote under the now enjoined law, unless she is willing to spend more than $200 for both a birth certificate and the necessary changes to state birth records to correct typos on her name in the state registry.

Van Hollen, whose office said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the Supreme Court's decision, had sought an immediate stay of the injunctions on the grounds of perceived irreparable harm if the upcoming recall elections were conducted without his party's new, draconian Photo ID restrictions in place.

The WI Supreme Court decision this week coincides with an announcement by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in response to "a massive corporate exodus," that it is abandoning its effort to see that state legislatures pass its "model" polling place photo ID restrictions...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2012 11:28am PT  

Our own crack legal analyst Ernie Canning pulls together many of the strands we've been reporting here, for many months, on the Wisconsin GOP's attempt to dismantle voting rights in their state in advance of both the 2012 Presidential Election and, perhaps more importantly, before the upcoming recall elections of Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators.

It's all a part of the continuing "War for Wisconsin" which we've been covering in great detail here at The BRAD BLOG for quite a while.

If you've had any trouble keeping up, or missed any of the thrilling chapters in the state Republicans' if-ya-can't-beat-'em-disenfranchise-'em, take-no-prisoners assault on the voting rights of legal voters, Ernie puts it all together and brings you right up to date in an interview today by OpEdNews' Joan Brunwasser...

* * *

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How can we trust their reporting as unbiased and neutral given their opposition to recall of the Republican Governor?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2012 7:03pm PT  

Out of scores of journalists who work for the Gannett Wisconsin Media-owned Green Bay Press-Gazette, just seven were willing to offer their personal, non-business related support for a recall of Wisconsin's controversial Gov. Scott Walker. They are now being disciplined.

The rest, the vast majority of Press-Gazette employees, all cast a vote for their support of the Republican Walker's fitness to complete his term as governor by refusing to sign the petition for his recall.

How can we now trust them to report without bias on the Walker story they are tasked with covering in a neutral fashion?!

Despite the clear and unethical conflict of interest demonstrated by their support for Walker --- for which the Governor is almost certainly grateful --- those journalist are somehow still expected to cover the Democratic Party and union-supported political challenges against him and his administration in an impartial manner.

Clearly, that is impossible. At least according to an editorial published last night by Kevin Corrado, the president and publisher of the Green Bay Press-Gazette...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/25/2012 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In Wisconsin, two Dane County Circuit Court judges, David Flanagan and Richard Niess both issued injunctions against the state GOP's polling place photo ID restriction ("Act 23") --- Flanagan's temporary, Niess' permanent --- after finding that the law was in direct violation of the WI state constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

Immediately after the first of those two injunctions, issued by Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker, the WI GOP filed an ethics complaint with the WI Judicial Commission, alleging that the judge had violated the WI Code of Judicial Conduct because he had signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and failed to disclose that fact before issuing his ruling.

However, when Flanagan's temporary injunction was promptly followed not only by Neiss' permanent injunction one week later, but by a subsequent refusal by an intermediate WI appellate court to stay the temporary injunction, the hard-right, operating under another right-wing billionaire front group, the Landmark Legal Foundation, filed ethics complaints against 29 WI judges who also signed recall petitions.

If you can't beat 'em, hit 'em with ethics violations complaints...

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Will a criminal probe undo the GOP Guv even before a recall?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/19/2012 12:55pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

What is it with Republicans and residency laws? Recently, in covering the conviction of Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Charlie White for six felonies, including three counts of felony voter fraud, Brad Friedman listed the growing number of high-level Republicans, including Mitt Romney, who may have committed voter fraud by casting ballots as registered voters from residences where they did not reside.

Now we find a little-noticed Feb. 23 report from Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) which reveals that criminal defense attorney Frank Gimbel filed a motion for change of venue --- from Milwaukee County to Columbia County --- in the criminal case pending against his client, Kelly M. Rindfleisch. Rindfleisch served as Scott Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff when Walker was the Milwaukee County Chief Executive and is one of four top deputies to have been indicted, so far, as part of Milwaukee County prosecutors' long-running "Joe Doe" investigation.

In his motion, Gimbel alleges Rindfleisch, "didn't live in Milwaukee County when the misconduct allegedly took place," according to WPR.

In the bargain, as a comparison of Gimbel's motion to the allegations contained in the 51-page criminal complaint [PDF] (the "Rindfleisch complaint") against her suggests, Gimbel may have implicated Rindfleisch and Walker in a criminal conspiracy to violate the residency requirement for Milwaukee County employment. That apparent violation appears to have occurred as part of the broader scheme alleged by prosecutors to misuse that office to gain a political advantage for Walker and other GOP candidates during the 2010 campaign...

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The Wisconsin Governor's creation of a 'legal defense fund' suggests as much...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/11/2012 9:13pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Wisconsin's embattled Governor Scott Walker (R) will almost certainly face a recall election soon, but he is not - repeat - not a target of an ongoing criminal investigation in Milwaukee County...even though last month he hired two criminal defense attorneys to represent him and, on Friday, he announced the creation of an official legal defense fund, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice.

The no-uncertain-terms denial about his status in the criminal probe comes from Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews who took pains to note on Friday, as the creation of his legal defense fund was announced: "We reiterate that Gov. Walker has been told that he is not a target of this investigation."

On the other hand, state law only allows for such funds to be created under certain circumstances. Bice notes that according to the state's Government Accountability Board [PDF], "Wisconsin Statutes permit a state government official who is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws or prohibited election practices to establish a 'legal defense fund' for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate while that person is being investigated for, or charged with, or convicted of a violation of those chapters."

So who is telling the truth? There's at least one person who may have an inside track to the Milwaukee prosecutors' long-time investigation, in which four top officials of Walker's have already been snagged, and that insider suggests Walker is likely in trouble...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/28/2012 3:24pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

We recently detailed how legal documents reveal that prosecutors in Wisconsin are painstakingly examining evidence that may well place Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) at the center of a criminal conspiracy to illegally utilize employees within the Milwaukee County Executive Office to engage in fundraising and campaign activities. We observed that a recall may therefore be the least of Walker's worries.

The relationship between Walker's potential criminal liability and his recall vulnerability has not gone unnoticed by the WI Democratic Party. Asserting that Walker "has given a blizzard of contradictory statements about what he knew and when he knew it," WI Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate released an ad which refers to the pending criminal scandal as "Walkergate" (see video below) and draws an analogy to Richard Nixon's role in Watergate.

Simultaneously, the embattled governor on Monday abandoned his effort to challenge the more than one million signatures submitted on the Recall Walker petition...

Recall Walker ad comparing Scott Walker to Richard Nixon follows...

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Recall may prove to be least of his worries...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/13/2012 4:14pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A recall from his position as Wisconsin's governor could ultimately be the least of Gov. Scott Walker's worry, if a criminal complaint quietly moving forward in the Badger State court system continues on its current trajectory. At the moment, Walker seems to be at the bottom of a mountain where an avalanche is just beginning to roll.

A 51-page criminal complaint [PDF] (the "Rindfleisch complaint"), which formally charges Kelly M. Rindfleisch with four felony counts of misconduct in public office, contains factual allegations which implicate a number of individuals, listed as "interested parties," including WI's controversial Republican Governor, in a wide-reaching criminal conspiracy to misuse public employees and resources for partisan political gain.

The Rindfleish complaint was filed in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Jan. 26, 2012 by Milwaukee County District Attorney John T. Chisholm. It's the product of an ongoing criminal investigation (the "John Doe" investigation) of the Milwaukee County Executive Office during Walker's tenure as County Executive there. The complaint specifically involves the period during which Tim Russell and then Rindfleish served as Walker's Deputy Chiefs of Staff.

The recent news in the Milwaukee County case coincides with a separate set of court rulings in the battle over the attempt by opponents of Walker to see him recalled via the ballot box. In that matter, an appellate court recently reversed Republican Waukesha Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis' decision to deny the Recall proponent's motion to intervene in a case brought by "Friends of Scott Walker" designed to obstruct the scheduling of Walker's Recall. The appellate ruling directed Davis to vacate his controversial decision which had shifted the statutory burden for challenging the validity of the Walker Recall petition signatures from Walker himself --- as had been the process for years --- to the state's Government Accountability Board.

While that appellate ruling may serve to help expedite Walker's potential removal from office via the ballot box, a recall could ultimate prove to be less of a concern to the embattled, right-wing governor than the criminal case steadily moving forward in Milwaukee.

The factual body of the Rindfleisch complaint suggests that prosecutors are painstakingly examining evidence that may well place Walker at the center of a criminal conspiracy to illegally utilize employees within the Milwaukee County Executive Office to engage in fundraising and campaign activities on behalf of the Friends of Scott Walker and others during office hours at the expense of Milwaukee taxpayers.

Each violation of the relevant WI criminal statutes at issue in the matter carries with it a potential imprisonment of up to 3.5 years. As that case moves forward apace, Walker could lose a great deal more than simply his hold on the governor's office. His very freedom may prove to be at stake as well...

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