I’ve been hearing about this for a while now, but Amanda Terkel of the Huffington Post has an audio clip of a bartender at John’s Main Event, a Burlington-area bar, offering patrons free shots of booze if they’ll sign a recall petition against Democratic State Senator Bob Wirch. While offering alcohol to individuals in order to obtain their signatures on a recall petition isn’t technically illegal here in Wisconsin, it is strongly discouraged, and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has indicated an intent to file a complaint to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) about the booze for signatures revelation.
Dave Weigel of Slate got ahold of Graeme Zielinski of the DPW, who appropriately summed up the Republican-backed efforts to organize recalls against eligible Democratic State Senators as a “racket.”
Let’s call it what it is: The Republican effort to recall Democratic senators who stood up to Scott Walker is RACKET, run from afar, fraudulently pursued, deliberately hidden and dangerously unethical. We therefore doubt the integrity of the signatures filed and the methods used to collect the signatures. The practices underlying the Republican recall racket are rotten at their core and taint the entire process. We have been collecting actionable evidence to support our claims, some of which we will release, and which all will be released by our legal team to the Government Accountability Board.
At the end of the day, the sloppy, disorganized, dispirited and fraudulent efforts of the Republican recall racket and its corporate sponsors means a very high likelihood that the challenges will fail. Ultimately, however, the senators they seek to challenge stood up to Scott Walker instead of endorsing his anti-Wisconsin agenda and will prevail in any recall election.
This is the difference between the efforts to recall Republican State Senators and the efforts to recall Democratic State Senators: the efforts by conservatives to recall Democratic State Senators have been led by an out of state group and have had to resort to paying convicted felons to collect signatures and offering inducements to individuals in order to secure their signatures, while the efforts by progressives to recall the eligible Republican State Senators have been true grassroots efforts led and powered by Wisconsinites who didn’t need to offer inducements to get signatures.