The campaign to recall Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will not officially kick off until next Tuesday, but conservative activists are already openly discussing plants to sabotage the petition drive.
The Politicscoop blog reported on Friday that it has been receiving screenshots of conservatives discussing how they might circulate false petitions of their own and later destroy them.
“I’d like to collect signatures of those who want to recall Walker…so I can have something to feed my shredder,” read one Facebook post from a user calling himself “Charles Atlas Shrugging.”
“I shall be heating my home with recall signature,” another replied. “As they sign, I’ll make sure to tell them not to sign another petition. I figure I can get a hundred to a few hundred signatures off the ballot. F*#&* (Word edited) Liberals.”
A third Facebook poster, Will R. Jenkins, appears to be upping the ante with a plan to infiltrate the genuine petition drive and destroy other participants’ petitions as well as his own. “From my estimation, I’ll be able to destroy 15-20K signatures,” he writes, “unless the guy above me gives me access to where he stories [sic] his own signatures so I can place mine in there. If this happens, I’ll be able to destroy upwards of 15-20% of the entire collected ballots [sic] in the state of Wisconsin.”
He later adds “I am a highly trusted member of a recall group who nobody would expect would do such a thing.”
Mother Jones has picked up on the story and has looked further into some of the posters. It notes that Jenkins describes himself in his Facebook profile as a “UNION SLAVE LABORER” at the Kenosha Unified School District and complains, “Dealing with white trash, illegal immigrants, and criminal gang black kids isn’t fun and games.” He lists his interests as “Greeting A Liberal,” “Beating A Liberal,” Strangling A Liberal,” Burying a Dead Body,” and “Having a Few Beers.”
There is no proof, of course, that “Jenkins” is telling the truth about being associated with the petition drive or even about working for the Kenosha School District. Last August, other Facebook users were already drawing attention to his postings and profile and forwarding screenshots to the Kenosha superintendent — with no apparent effect on his Facebook activities.
Mother Jones showed the recent screenshots to an election law expert, who responded, “If a person fraudulently solicits recall petitions and then destroys those petitions, they will probably go to jail. The law is very clear on this.”
“The list of disgusting posts go on,” Politicscoop’s Paul I. Tascoupe observes, “even after a user reminded each and every one of them that their plans would violate Wisconsin statutes. It makes me wonder if the media will pick up on these plans and make it public knowledge.”
Tascoupe has contacted the Democratic Party of Wisconson, whose spokesperson replied, “Destroying petitions or engaging in the acts you describe are serious felonies. However, these threats are intended to sow confusion. We won’t let them win, especially not like this. Petitions will be clearly marked and the circulators will be identified by a lanyard.”
Photo By Maxamegalon2000 (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.