Tea party groups upset with GAB ruling
MADISON — Leaders of two tea party groups said a decision Tuesday by Wisconsin’s elections board not to accept third-party evidence of fraud in recall petitions targeting Republican Gov. Scott Walker has put the integrity of the election in jeopardy.
The attorney for recall organizers called the tea party request ridiculous. If the groups find any serious problems, they can make them publically available for Walker to bring to the Government Accountability Board’s attention before it determines whether to order a recall election, Democratic attorney Jeremy Levinson said.
The board agreed with the recommendation by GAB director Kevin Kennedy not to allow outside groups to intervene in the process. The board currently is reviewing an estimated 1.9 million signatures on petitions seeking the recall of Walker and five other Republicans.
The recalls were largely fueled by anger at a law proposed by Walker and passed by the Republican-led Legislature that severely limited the collective bargaining rights of public workers.
Its review is focused on making sure the required information was entered with the signature, and the date is within the allowable time period. The board also is seeking to identify duplicates and obviously fake names.
Ross Brown, president of the tea party group We the People of the Republic, said the elections board wasn’t doing enough to weed out fraud, and that “clean and honest elections” are at stake.
“We are finding abnormalities, we are finding duplicates,” said Larry Gamble, spokesman for the Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty, the other tea party group. The two groups had enlisted more than 13,000 volunteers, including at least one person from all 50 states, to help build a database to review the signatures, he said.
It takes 540,208 valid signatures to order a recall election against Walker. Organizers said they turned in more than 1 million signatures, a number they say makes an election inevitable.