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Friday, January 06, 2012

Scott Walker's Taxpayer-Funded Bailout

I wouldn't call this a loss for recall supporters, since they aren't really out anything. I'd call this a loss for Wisconsin taxpayers.

Wisconsin State Journal:

A judge ruled Thursday that the state Government Accountability Board needs to take more aggressive action to vet recall signatures that are expected to be submitted in two weeks against Gov. Scott Walker and other Republican office holders.

The ruling by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis came in a case filed Dec. 15 by Walker's campaign committee and Stephan Thompson, executive director of the state Republican Party, asking Davis to order the accountability board to seek out and eliminate duplicate and fictitious signatures and illegible addresses in recall petitions.

Davis, who refused to enter injunctions in the case, based his decision on his interpretation of state law, more than on equal protection arguments brought up by the Republicans. He also said that the board must take "reasonable" efforts to eliminate such signatures.


The problem here is that the state now must do the Walker campaign's job for them. GAB director Kevin Kennedy had originally said that it was up to the Walker campaign to challenge signatures, in much the same way it's up to each campaign to challenge votes in a recount. But the Walker campaign whined that they would only have ten days after the petition was signed to check all the signatures and that he'd have to hire temps with the campaign's own money and oh my God it's just a terrible thing...

So now I have to pay for it. So much for saving the taxpayers' money.

"In court, Kennedy testified that entering signatures into a database to look for duplicates could take eight extra weeks for his staff, and could cost $94,000 for software and outside help," the Journal Sentinel reports. At least Walker's finally creating a few jobs.

There's no way that enough signatures will be weeded out to stop the recall. Halfway through the petition process, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin announced that 500,000 signatures had been collected. That was very nearly the 540,208 mark required to trigger a recall and that announcement was made before Christmas. I think the requisite number have probably been collected, but that petitioners will continue to get signatures until the very last day of the period, in order to create a buffer for signatures that are thrown out. If your goal is to collect as many signatures as possible, the last thing you want to do is send out a "We've got enough!" press release. You want to send out the "Almost there! Keep plugging away!" press release the party sent out in December. I'm guessing the December numbers are the last official ones we'll see until the final tally is released.

Long story short, Team Walker knows that the recall is going to happen. And they don't want to spend the campaign's money on challenging signatures. That's just a sort of ritual to stretch out the process and build up a campaign war chest, anyway. These are Republicans and, being Republicans, they're really big on saving the taxpayer's money -- right up until the moment that they're not. $94,000 will now be blown on a timewaster.

And, of course, if Kennedy's right, then it's eight more weeks of fundraising for Walker. We spend money on a doomed effort to save Walker from a recall, so he has more time to rake money in.

Is it any wonder we want to recall this guy?


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