Scott Walker Won’t File Challenges, But Asks Taxpayers to Foot The Bill

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Scott Walker Recall

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February 29, 2012

Walker Won’t File Challenges to Recall Signatures, Asks Taxpayers to Foot the Bill Instead

Wisconsin’s recall election came one step closer to reality yesterday, as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker  decided not to challenge any of the over 1 million signatures filed to recall him.  Monday was the deadline for him to file challenges.

The Walker campaign said that instead of filing challenges themselves, they will call on the state’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) to strike allegedly fraudulent signatures, and to accept challenges on his behalf from an out of state group called “Verify the Recall.”

With this decision, Walker seeks to shift the financial burden of vetting petition signatures from his campaign to the state’s taxpayers, and the blame for delay onto an outside group. This seems contrary not only to state law, which presumes signatures are valid and requires the party challenging signatures to submit evidence of invalidity, but to Walker’s principal argument for remaining in office: reducing the burden on the state’s taxpayers.

Walker claimed that his campaign did not have enough time to review the more than 150,000 pages of petitions filed seeking his recall, even though a judge had already granted him a 20-day extension beyond the 10 days allowed under state law.  Walker claimed this timeline was “impossible” to meet.  Walker had sought another two week extension beyond the three week extension the judge had already given him, but was turned down.  Walker’s spokesperson declined comment when asked if Walker would appeal the ruling denying additional time beyond the original extension.

As this issue of the e-news went to press, observers were torn over whether the claim of “not enough time” was a face-saving tactic, given that Walker would have to find nearly half a million bad signatures in order to derail the election, or whether it was strategic.

He could be simply shifting the stage for his delaying tactics to the state’s GAB.  On the other hand, it could be that Walker has decided delaying the election is not in his interest:  he is slipping in the polls, his administration is facing a major corruption investigation, the Democrats have not yet united around a candidate, and Walker’s campaign has raised millions from out-of-state billionaires and mega-corporations.  It may simply be that time is not on the embattled Governor’s side.

Under state law, the GAB is supposed to rule on the validity of the recall petitions by March 19. If they meet that deadline, a Democratic primary could be held May 1, and the recall election could take place as early as June.

This article is based in part on reporting from WisPolitics.com, http://elections.wispolitics.com/2012/02/citing-time-crunch-walker-camp-wont.html.

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