Meet the felon behind the Republican efforts to recall Democratic State Senators

Meet Dan Baltes, the convicted felon who spent 10 years in the Idaho prison system from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s for grand theft, forgery and writing bad checks.

Who’s Dan Baltes, and why is he newsworthy?

Well, Dan Baltes is the head of the American Patriot Recall Coalition (APRC), the Utah-based political action group that has spearheaded efforts here in Wisconsin to recall those Democratic State Senators who courageously left Wisconsin to take a stand against efforts by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the legislature to dismantle public employee unions. According to the APRC’s website, it has sponsored efforts to recall all eight of the Democratic State Senators who are eligible to be recalled, but according to a report by Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Baltes has denied a connection to any of the three groups that have garnered enough signatures to trigger recalls of Democratic State Sens. Dave Hansen, Bob Wirch, and Jim Holperin.

Here’s more on Dan Baltes, grifter extraordinaire:

Tea party activists, right-wing bloggers and others, though, have taken to hammering him on the Internet. There’s even a blog spot called Conning Conservatives, a sort of cyber wanted poster listing his criminal history and alleged schemes.

Conservative organizations and individuals around the country say the won’t have anything to do with him because he makes promises he can’t deliver, specifically a Glenn Beck speaking tour he promoted that fell apart.

Be proud, conservatives….be proud!


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33 thoughts on “Meet the felon behind the Republican efforts to recall Democratic State Senators

  1. Shouldn’t this have been a comment to the ” These Things Just Write Themselves” post you put up a few days ago?

    Hey, Wisconsin GOP: This is what you get for outsourcing jobs! As my uncle John always says, ” you buy cheap shit, you get cheap shit. “

  2. I have to give credit where it is due: This from the recall mark miller facebook page.

    Recall Mark Miller
    The final open filing to recall Mark Miller is being sponsored by the APRC, which is headed by Dan Baltes. Last night, after reviewing this and other material about this group, a large number of our volunteers unanimously decided to NOT MERGE our signatures with this effort, despite our strong desire to see Miller recalled. They are just too corrupt and the ends do not justify means.

    I commend them for that!

  3. Dan Baltes aka Dan Elliott aka Dan Burch aka Dan Clark aka whatever is not a conservative. He is a con artist that targets conservatives. In fact, Baltes’ family state that he is a life long “bleeding heart liberal” and he himself claims to have worked for years for the ACLU.

    His behavior however has little to do with politics and everything to do with crimes of deception. After over a decade in prison for those crimes, he has continued to perpetrate them on an ever increasing number of victims. The past two years, he has found a tastey new target in Tea Party, GOP and conservatives groups. But make no mistake, these groups aren’t hiring him, they are victimized by him.

    Whether or not you agree with the position of those who sought to recall Democrats who fled the state, our political process gives them the right to pursue that goal and we should support that right. Warning people about this man is correct, proper, and moral. But suggesting that he represents conservatives is not honest. He has derailed legitimate political efforts across the country, in my opinion, to fuel his ego and line his pockets.

      1. I looked for it on her “Conning Conservatives” website/blog, but “nada”.

        Everything page on the thing has a big picture of Baltes at the top of it, along with the ACLU allegation underneath it, but nary a word, document or link in sight which would transform the allegation into a fact.

        I think that she’s probably full of it, and just posted here in order to get some further exposure for herself.

        In any event, nothing that she said changes the fact that Baltes, regardless of his background, is an albatross around the neck of the Republicans here.

        She is ridiculously, and, in all likelihood, disingenuously, attempting to suggest that Baltes is some kind of liberal, ACLU mole, Lee Atwater, “dirty tricks”, partisan doppelganger based upon nothing more than an evidence-free allegation that Baltes may have done some work for the ACLU.

  4. Alexandra, unfortunately, you can’t really change the fact that this guy was working for your “team” and for a conservative” cause. You can’t fault Zach for pointing that fact out. As embarrassing as it might be for “your team”, it is still fair game for commentary.

    Hey, everyone here agrees with you that the guy is a creep, but, again, he’s working for “your team”. So, he’s your problem, not ours. Talking about that isn’t dishonest. It’s simply stating facts which your “team” finds, uh, inconvenient. I know that you, having briefly worked for Baltes, don’t have a “high” opinion of him. Neither do we, but, as I was saying, he isn’t our problem. He wasn’t working for our “team” with respect to the recall efforts, was he?

    Look, honestly reporting facts “inconvenient” to Republicans/wingnuts/Birchers/birthers/etc is just something that progressives enjoy doing. But you already knew that, right?

    Although it isn’t the first time that I have seen someone from your “team” self-servingly conflate doing that with “dishonesty”, I would encourage you to avoid attempting to do so again in a context like this one. It just makes you look extraordinarily disingenuous, and maybe even a little bit silly.

    Like Zach, I would love to see the evidence that you have that Baltes worked for the ACLU. For the record, I looked for it on your “Conning Conservative” website, and couldn’t find there. Where exactly can it be found? Or were you, when you wrote it above and/or anywhere else, simply not intending it to be construed as a “factual statement” ala Senator Kyl (R-Arizona)?

    Honestly, Alexandra, and with all due respect, the whole ACLU thing looks like a non sequitor, and sounds like little more than embarrassed, chagrined “conservative” “wishful thinking-based” deflection.

    In any event, I haven’t been able to find any indication anywhere that you or any other “conservatives” have called for ALL signatures gathered by Baltes and his Utah-based American Patriot Recall Coalition organization in connection with the recall efforts against Hanson, Wirch and Holperin to be disqualified.

    That you and they haven’t done so is little disconcerting. Kind of like wanting to have your cake and eat it, too, isn’t it? You want to disparage Baltes personally because his background rightfully embarrasses you and the “conservatives” involved in those recall efforts, and rightfully taints the integrity of those efforts, but retain the benefits of the services that he rendered.

    Smacks of dishonesty if you ask me.

  5. Dan’s own website claims that he worked for the ACLU. He has also given numerous interviews in the press (newspaper, radio, and television) stating those credentials.

    As for all the rest. I DO NOT believe that this guy is some ACLU or liberal mole. In fact, I have stated this numerous times in the media. He is a con artist who has chosen to prey on conservatives. But the fact is, this is simply the latest hook in a long line of criminal activity and crimes of deception.

    This is how it seems to work:
    1. Baltes looks out for conservative hot buttons. Recalls in Wisconsin, Arizona, Allen West in Florida, etc.

    2. He then files an free electronic file for a 527 political organization and then contacts the media.

    3. The media then makes a big deal about him being an out of state organizer.

    4. He then contacts conservative groups, points them to the news coverage and his electronic filing and claims that he is a major player and has thousands of members.

    5. He advises the local group to link up with him because he has so much experience and of course is a media contributor.

    6. The groups, often small tea party or other conservative groups, that do link up provide him with a whole new group of potential victims by presenting him to their membership.

    7. He then has a history of using those connections to launch donation drives, ticket selling scams, event organizing fund drives (for events that never happen) and a whole host of other nefarious activities and then disappears.

    8. The conservative organization is then left out of money and demoralized. This is certainly the case in Wisconsin.

    I have no dog in the fight in Wisconsin. I don’t live in Wisconsin and frankly believe that matters of the states should be handled by those in that state.

    But even for conservatives who do, to suggest that he was “working for my team” is not a correct statement. He filed an initial filing and has failed to file proper paperwork since, on any recall. Not only did he not turn in signatures, he didnt bother to even organize the collection of signatures. You claim that conservatives want to “retain the benefits of the services that he rendered.” But the fact is he rendered no service at all and instead did harm to the legitimate efforts started by people in Wisconsin. In addition, several people have come forward surprised to find that their names were on electronic paperwork that Baltes filed, claiming that they were the treasurer or some other officer. This includes his own brother.

    More about his brother’s statement and Dan’s claim to have worked for the ACLU is this article:

    You will note from that article that I was an employee of Mr Baltes for a little over 2 weeks. When I discovered what he was doing, I contacted the police. Initially I put up the blog (not sure you couldnt find it: to alert people to contact their credit card companies to get a refund. Since then, dozens of organizations around the country have contacted me and provided me with their own investigations into his background. The blog has now become a conduit for people who send their investigations and files and court cases. I have been contacted by numerous authorities in 7 states so far who are using this blogspot to find additional victims and to build a case against this guy.

    While I am a fiscal conservative, I am perhaps more liberal socially. I do beleive that people can and do change and that ones past shouldnt prevent them from having a productive future. But by the second week of employment it was very clear that he was perpetrating scams and so I contacted the authorities. While Baltes claims that his past should have no bearing of today, he was convicted of nearly $80K in embezzlement just last year. So it seems that the leopard hasn’t changed his spots at all.

    My goal is NOT to point fingers or to absolve conservatives of their associations. But I do believe that the groups that did align themselves with him did so completely blind and in good faith. By the same token, I do NOT believe that Baltes works in collusion with any liberal groups. I reference that ACLU aspect because that is HIS claim.

    I simply wanted to point out that when it comes to Baltes, it isnt really about politics. Its about the mark. He happens to target conservatives. And unless people know the facts behind his actions, they will continue to have their money and reputations tarnished by this con artist.

  6. Alexandraea….lets be perfectly clear. The recall organizations that Baltes was scamming are NOT victims…..they CHOSE to work with Baltes…..

    When you are doing a grassroots recall effort and you hire a conman with a questionable past to help run your operations you are no longer running a grass roots recall effort. It points to the morals and ethics of the recall organizers(they have none).

    While I am a progressive and strongly disagree with any recall efforts of the democrats, I respect the process 100%. If they went around the district and got legitimate signatures from people in the district, then the recall is on and let the people decide. Unfortunately for the recall efforts of Wirch, Holperin and Hansen appear that that is not the case. Again they chose to run an ammoral campaign and deserve what they get for that and are NOT victims.

    IN contrast, there was an effort where I am, to attempt to recall Senate Minority(soon to be majority) leader Mark Miller. They fell short and Baltes wanted to join them and help them get the signatures needed at the end and they PASSED! While I disgree with them philosophically, they deserve credit for how they acted morally! Kudos to them.

  7. Look, you clearly have an axe to grind with this guy. Grind away, just do it someplace else.

    Whatever his history may have been, it simply doesn’t change the fact that, at best, Wisconsin Republicans embraced his efforts without properly vetting him, and probably did so because they did not have the spontaneous grassroots energy that the Democrats had behind them in connection with their efforts to recall the Republican 8. At worst, they knew exactly who and what he was.

    Your “belief” that Wisconsin Republicans embraced him “in good faith” doesn’t change the fact that Baltes’ efforts on their behalf absolutely compromise the integrity of their efforts to recall members of the Fab 14, either.

    While you now indicate that you don’t think that Baltes is or has been working with liberal/progressive groups, and claim that “. . .[you] reference that ACLU aspect [only] because that is his claim”, your cynical and self-serving motivations in alleging the “ACLU connection” are abundantly clear.

    Either you are just trying to get as much attention for yourself as you can, for entirely selfish and self-promotional reasons, or you are consciously and intentionally using a standard wingnut “dog whistle” clarion call to arms that you know is sure to attract the attention of, as well as inflame, wingnuts, “the fringe”, the Republican base, rightwing conspiracy theorists, Andrew Breitbart, and so on.

    If you are, in fact, here for selfish reasons, leave. You are doing an extraordinary disservice to the political process in Wisconsin for the most craven of reasons. Personally, I wouldn’t want the kind of “publicity” that you might be garnering as a result, but I think you’ve accomplished just about all you can accomplish in this regard at this point, so I would discourage you from posting any further comments.

    Alternatively, if you are cynically using a “dog whistle” here, it is also time for you to leave, or at least to cop to the fact that that is exactly what you are up to. Your choice. The people here are far too intelligent, with a couple of notable exceptions, to fall for such nonsense, or to brook it for very long.

    I think we’re done here.

  8. I went to the link that you provided, the one which you described as “Dan’s own website”:

    The website home page provides a brief biography for Baltes which, in part, says the following:

    “A frequent media contributor, Dan Baltes had spent much of his adult life working in civil litigation. Though a life long conservative, Baltes started his career working for the Mountain States Regional Office of the American Civil Liberties Union as staff paralegal. This made him privy to not only the inner workings of the organization, but to the private policy and litigation strategies of arguably the most controversial legal organization in the country.

    After becoming disenfranchised [I think he means “disenchanted”] with the direction of the increasingly anti-American ACLU, Baltes moved on to establish himself as one of the most respected civil jury trial specialists in the country, serving as a civil litigation paralegal in the Federal Courts and several Courts of Appeal.”

    Alexandrea, with all due respect, and I’m not sure if any is due, it is abundantly clear to me that your comments here have been disingenuous, at best, craven and cynical, at worst.

    Time to go, girl.

  9. LMOA How typical.

    I posted respectfully, explained things clearly, made it clear that I do not think he is a liberal plant, and provided you links disproving you various assertions.

    Your response….name call and attack.

    I wouldnt be so smug dear lefties…..there are people just like Danny Boy targeting the left as well.

    1. Alexandrea,

      The front page of your website doesn’t make it clear that he’s not a liberal “mole”. You call him a former ACLU activist who is conning conservatives.

      What a dark and strange culture you conservatives have created. A fevered swamp of moles and Breitbarts and Becks and Baltes’s, death panels and secret muslims, reloading not retreating, creeping socialism and Kenyans, End Times Islamic Caliphates, long form birth certificates, and con men and women run amok and hither and yon.

      What a full tilt boogie, balls to the wall phantasmagoria you folks like to run around in. How do you do it without a fan clutch attached to your head?

  10. Ahhh yes, AND your true Inner Wingnut finally reveals itself. . .

    In truth, while your language and tone may have been respectful, Alexandrea, the substance of what you posted was disingenuous, cynical, and self-serving.

    If you truly think that you disproved what you characterized as my “various allegations”, then you either didn’t read my comments or you suffer from a profound reading comprehension problem.

    Thanks for playing, though.

    Now off ya, go. . .back to whatever wingnut echo chamber you usually inhabit.

    Just for future reference, Alexandrea, you have to be *THIS high* to get this ride. . .

    Parenthetically, if you elect to come back despite that restriction, try to stay focused on the subject at hand. The issue being addressed here is that the ex-felon for whom you apparently have such a personal and/or political hard-on collected signatures on petitions being circulated by Republicans intent on recalling three Democratic state senators. Employing specious, deceptive and fundamentally irrelevant reference points, like the fact that Baltes worked at a paralegal for the ACLU for a brief time a long time ago before his conversion to the “conservative” side of the political equation, and like the non-sequitor/”red herring” that you just offered above that “. . .there are people just like [Baltes] targeting the left [sic] as well”, smacks of bad faith and intellectual dishonesty.

    Who was he working for, who should have known better than to employ him, who was desperate enough to employ him because of the enormous enthusiasm and grassroots support gap that existed between the Republican and the Democratic recall efforts, and who benefited from his services? These were the only relevant questions, the only relevant issues herein. You failed to address them in good faith, choosing instead to deflect, to attempt to make the “fine” conservatives/Republicans who wholeheartedly embraced/endorsed his efforts on their behalf his sad, pathetic little “victims”.

    You need to peddle that kind of crap to your fellow wingnuts who are struggling to find a way, any way to feel a little bit better about the fact that THIS time your side got caught playing fast and loose with the political process. Peddle it in some wingnut echo chamber somewhere, not here.

  11. My entire point of even commenting in the first place was in regards to the false allegation that he was employed by anyone. You continue to make that claim:

    “Who was he working for, who should have known better than to employ him, who was desperate enough to employ him because of the enormous enthusiasm…”

    The point is that he did not work for anyone but himself. He was not employed by anyone. He conned people into believing that he was a major organizer and could help them. They in turn provided him with links to their membership from whom he solicited donations. They never heard from him again. They received no benefit, no signatures, no events, nothing and instead were used to create a donation machine for his own financial gain.

    Again, you claim that Baltes, “collected signatures on petitions being circulated by Republicans intent on recalling three Democratic state senators” That is not the case. He collected nothing, filed no follow up paperwork in all cases but one and in that case he filed unusable paperwork. He has no signatures, no staff, no employees, no volunteers, NOTHING. There was no benefit to anyone but Baltes himself.

    Clearly there are some dodgey people out there on the Republican side collecting fraudulent signatures. That is clear and I am not defending those people in any way, shape, or form. But Baltes didnt collect anything except donations into his paypal account.

    I understand that this doesnt go along with the narrative you have created, but those are the facts.

  12. You apparently see and/or read what you want to see and/or read.

    “Employ” has several definitions:

    Merriam-Webster defines “employ” as follows:

    (a) to make use of someone;

    (b) to use advantageously;

    (c) to use or engage the service of; and

    (d) to provide with a job that pays a salary or wage.

    All right, Einstein, which definition do you think that I was using in my earlier comments?

    Hint: It’s not (d). . .

    As to Baltes’ “role” in the Wisconsin recall effort, please take note of how Fox News characterized it:


    “Dan Baltes, Executive Director of American Patriot Recall Coalition, [WHICH IS LEADING] the signature-gathering efforts against Democrats. . .”

    See also:

    Just for the record, Ms. Merrell, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board will not accept recall petition paperwork which fails to include Wisconsin residents as signatories.

    From which political party do you suspect that the Wisconsin residents who signed off on the paperwork filed by Baltes’ group hailed from? The Democratic Party?! (*laughing*) Think that they were Bob and Marge, lifelong Republicans from down on Main Street? I don’t think so. Republican Party leadership? Yep.

    The Republican Party of Wisconsin supported Baltes’ efforts, initially by enabling his participation, and then by looking the other way once he and APRC were authorized to work in the state gathering signatures. Were they victims? Hardly. Were they babes in the woods. No. What they lacked in grassroots enthusiasm, they needed to make up for in other ways. They cut a deal with the devil, and now they’re paying the price.

    Stop trying to whitewash it. AND take your personal vendetta against Baltes someplace where someone gives a sh*t.

  13. Brilliant……I thought you guys didnt believe anything that was said on Fox News, oh I mean…Faux News.

    The GAB posted the following:

    You will note that this notice states clearly that Baltes failed to submit paperwork with signatures. He only filed the online, electronic version. In fact…he has NEVER filed paperwork with signatures. Why? Because by this time he was already being investigated for forging signatures in two other states.

    It also points out that people’s names were used in the wrong district.

    You will also notice that this letter references the fact that they had sent previous notices to him to file supporting paperwork.

    Does it really wound you so deeply to admit that maybe…just maybe….people who dont share your political views were passionate about their beliefs that the Dems should be recalled? People didnt lack grassroots enthusiasm. They lacked knowledge of the political process and accepted this fellow at his word…that he could lead their efforts and achieve their goals. He took their money and gave them nothing in return.

    1. There may have been some people who were passionate about getting the Democratic State Senators recalled, but clearly there wasn’t as wide a range of folks who were as passionate as the folks who wanted to recall the Republican State Senators – a fact that’s borne out by the fact that 4 out of the 6 Republican State Senators face recalls while only 3 out of the 8 Democrats face recalls.

  14. They lacked knowledge of the political process? You must be joking. The state GOP doesn’t understand the recall process? Is that what you’re saying?

    You want us to believe that republicans here in Wisconsin can’t get a credible recall effort going without the help of someone like Baltes? Nobody vetted him? No one thought it strange that a Utah based group was taking up the cause?

    The more you write the more feeble your case gets.

  15. The “they” that I am referring to are those who donated money to his scam, those regular folks who thought that they were joining a grassroots movement. NOT the GOP. Regular people saw this guy on Fox News…who clearly did NOT bother to vet him….and believed that he had the experience to help them achieve their goals.

    I dont give two figs about the GOP. In fact, had they done their job, none of this would have happened. The GOP across the country has done NOTHING BUT help insure that they keep their old boys (and girls) in office.

    They do not care about the direction of the country. They do not care about the economy. They care only about their own financial well being and regulating other people’s morals. The complete cluster shtupp of the GOP is WHY so many people who previously considered themselves Republicans have reached out for any group that claims that to have conservative ideals. This has made them ripe for the likes of con men like Dan Baltes.

  16. I’ll tell you what. When you take down from the front page of your website that Dan Baltes was a former ACLU activist, I’ll think about taking you seriously. Otherwise I’ll consider you yet another among the many smear artists that seem to populate the right.

  17. Zach – You are correct. If there had been enough people passionate about the recall, then their efforts would have succeeded. That is the political process.

    But, their desire to recall Dems doesn’t make them worthy of being scammed or maligned. Differing opinions keeps this country from veering radically to the right or the left.

    My entire point was that this guy did not represent the people…the regular people….who believed his stories and the media hype. He represented himself. I objected to the suggestion that people hired him and they they knew he was a criminal and used him anyway. Because that is simply not the case.

    He changed his name, changed his hair, got new teeth, and a new “sales pitch” geared towards conservative groups and took his scam on the road across the country, Florida, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wisconsin. He used his free, online electronic filings to wave in the face of the media and used their hype to convince the masses.

  18. I’ll tell you what. When you take down from the front page of your website that Dan Baltes was a former ACLU activist, I’ll think about taking you seriously. Otherwise I’ll consider you yet another among the many smear artists that seem to populate the right.

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