The effort to recall Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker begins in earnest tomorrow, November 15. As TPM's Eric Kleefeld reports, Democrats and other opponents of the WI GOP's big government removal of public union collective bargaining rights will have just 60 days to collect more than 540,000 signatures in order to put the controversial Governor onto a recall election ballot early next year.
It won't be easy, as the initiative must succeed in gathering an average of more than 9,000 signatures each day between now and the 60-day deadline in January. To make matters worse, if indications on a number of Facebook pages are to be believed, some Walker supporters are planning to sabotage the effort with a number of dirty tricks, including collecting signatures under cover and then burning and shredding the petitions...
These plans, discussed in Facebook posts that were first reported by the blog PolitiScoop, entail posing as recall supporters and gathering signatures, only to later destroy the petitions. They also include telling Wisconsinites that they can only sign one recall petition (which is false—they can sign different petitions as long as they each correspond to a different organization) and directing signature collectors to the homes of registered sex offenders.
In one post, Will R. Jenkins says, "I'll be able to destroy 15-20K signatures." If things go well, he adds, he might even "be able to destroy upwards of 15-20% of the entire collected ballots in the state of Wisconsin":
Jenkins' Facebook profile lists his profession as "UNION SLAVE LABORER" at the Kenosha Unified School District, located in southeast Wisconsin. His description reads, "Dealing with white trash, illegal immigrants, and criminal gang black kids isn't fun and games." Jenkins' interests are listed as "Greeting A Liberal," "Beating A Liberal," Strangling A Liberal," Burying a Dead Body," and "Having a Few Beers."
Both MoJo and PolitiScoop post a number of other Facebook screenshots detailing plans for other types of sabotage by others as well. According to WI Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) spokesman Reid Magney, such actions would constitute Class I felonies.
According to Kroll, Magney says that "destroying or defacing an official recall petition would violate state law" and carry "a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to three-and-a-half years in jail."
As a fish rots from the head down, Walker himself has already helped set the WI GOP standard for playing fast and loose with election statutes. On November 4th, a supporter of his launched his own fake "Recall Walker" initiative, allowing the Governor to begin raising funds in advance of the real recall effort. As TMP's Kleefeld reports, "Under Wisconsin law, the target of a recall effort is able to raise unlimited amounts of money."
With ardent supporters such as the Koch Brothers --- the obscenely wealthy oil and chemical barons who have become obscenely wealthier during the Presidency of Barack Obama, increasing their personal wealth by some $16 billion in the last three years, even as they've laid off thousands of workers at Koch Industries --- Walker will indeed have access to "unlimited amounts of money" to fend off the recall effort.
Those are the same Koch brothers who, as we reported exclusively in September, see the 2012 elections as "The Mother of All Wars."
Dirty tricks for WI Republicans are nothing new. Earlier this year, during an unsuccessful effort to to recall a number of Democratic state Senators, thousands of petition signatures were found to have been fraudulent on GOP petitions. Moreover, in the days just prior to the elections themselves, the Kochs' political organization Americans for Prosperity and at least one of their front groups were tied to a number of efforts to mislead voters about the date of the elections and to sabotage absentee ballot applications.
We've sent an inquiry to the G.A.B.'s Magney for comment in hopes of learning what efforts are being undertaken by the state's top election agency to investigate and/or refer the reported sabotage schemes in the Recall Walker effort, as discussed above, to state prosecutors. We'll update this report when we hear back from him.