Update: This started out as a simple little diary/post on what looks like good news on the certification of our State Senate recalls. It's gotten bigger. You might want to start with the updates at the bottom rather than the original start of this post.
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A staff report to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has recommended recall elections against 4 Republican State Senators should go forward.
The GAB will meet on Monday to consider whether to accept the recommendation and schedule the election. Few signatures were thrown out with more than enough to qualify for a recall election.
Recall organizers submitted about 20,735 petitions to recall (Republican State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Scott) Fitzgerald, which is above the 16,742 required. The board staff is recommending that 867 of those signatures be disqualified, with the remaining signatures more than enough allow a recall to go forward.
There were 23,712 signatures filed against Sen. Van Wanggaard of Racine, with 15,353 needed to allow a recall election. The board staff recommended striking 643 of those, leaving more than enough for the recall to move forward. The board staff recommend striking 11 apparently fraudulent signatures because of information provided by the Racine County Sheriff’s Department, the memo said.
There were 21,022 signatures submitted against Sen. Pam Galloway of Wausau, with 15,647 signatures needed in that case to force a recall. The board staff recommended striking 1,658 of those, leaving more than enough of them to force a recall.
There were 20,907 signatures submitted against Sen. Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and 14,958 needed. The board staff recommend striking 1,212 signatures, leaving enough to force a recall election.
(Items in italics are my additions)
The GAB has until March 19 to certify the recalls against Governor Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, but are expected to ask for more time to make their decision.
There has been no comment from either the GOP or the State Senators as of this writing.
Time for a bit more Scottenfreuden!
Update: There is an article which lists the primary and recall election dates recommended by the staff. I chose not to include them in this post because:
1 - The dates aren't firm until they're set by the GAB which will happen after their Monday meeting and Wednesday hearing and
2 - The Democrats are asking for earlier election dates so university students will be able to vote. The recommended date for the recall election is after the time the universities will be on summer break.
The GAB might use the recommended dates or change them.
Update #2: Remember the guy who claimed to sign the Walker recall petition 80 times? Yes? Well, the GAB today issued a memo that his name wasn't found even once.
Of course, this was often repeated by the GOP, along with claims that Mickey Mouse and Hitler were signed on petitions, in order to promulgate their claims that the recall petitions were loaded with fraud. Any guesses on how long it will take them to acknowledge that the petitions are valid? Hahahahaha!
Read about it here.
UPDATE: OMG Edition: Scott Walker has set up a legal defense fund.. By itself, not earthshaking, since he hired 2 criminal defense attorneys to aid him in
"volunteering" being asked to meet with prosecutors in the 21 month John Doe Probe. The big news is that to do this, the elected official has to meet very strict criteria:
But state election law makes clear that a candidate may set up one of these funds in limited circumstances.
"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 [chapter 12, Wisconsin Statutes] 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," says a summary of the statute provided by the Government Accountability Board.(the bolding is mine)
Walker issued the statement on the formation of that fund today, saying that he was fulfilling his committment to use no public funds:
"To fulfill my commitment, I have today formed a legal fund to pay for the expenses incurred in cooperating with the inquiry. The fund will operate in accordance with the Wisconsin law authorizing these accounts, which was passed almost thirty years ago.”From what I'm reading in the statutes (pdf file), it seems to me that Walker is either being investigated or charged with something related to the John Doe because those are the limited reasons for establishing this type of fund. Am I reading more into this than is in there? If not, this is a stunning development.
Update: OMG Edition Volume 2: I'm apparantly not reading more into this and updated the diary title to reflect additional reporting:
Gov. Scott Walker announced on Friday that he has formed a legal fund to pay for expenses related to the ongoing John Doe investigation into his close associates and former aides, a move that raises questions about whether he is a target of the probe.
Democrats seized on the news as evidence that Walker is being investigated, despite his previous comments.
"It looks more and more like Scott Walker will be charged with crimes," said Graeme Zielinski, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. "His corruption was born in Milwaukee and imported to Madison, and this is another reason for his recall."