Fake Candidates, Real Consequences?

One Wisconsin Now Calls for Investigation of GOP Fake Candidate Scheme

MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now today asked the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) and County District Attorneys to open an investigation to determine if any laws were broken when “fake” or “protest” candidates filed their sworn declarations of candidacy indicating they would be “representing” the Democratic Party in 2011 State Senate recall elections.

Mike Browne, spokesperson for One Wisconsin Now commented, “In sworn statements submitted to the GAB, these candidates declared that they intended to represent the Democratic Party. Yet the public statements and actions of these candidates and Republican Party leaders suggest just the opposite.”

Wisconsin Statutes 12.13 (3) (a) states that no person may “falsify any information in respect to … [a] declaration of candidacy”, and 12.13 (3)(am) states that no person may “… file a false declaration of candidacy or amended declaration of candidacy.” A violation of 12.13(3)(a) is a Class I Felony punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and 3 _ years in prison and a violation of 12.13(3)(am) is punishable by a forfeiture of up to $500.

Browne continued, “You can’t honestly say you represent the Democratic Party in an election when your true intention is to help the Republican Party win. Honest and transparent elections are a serious issue and we’re asking the GAB and District Attorneys to open investigations to determine if these candidates broke the law.”

Significant evidence suggests the intention of these candidates was to represent the interests of the Republican Party. Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald was reported as saying the candidates were “a tool to help Republican candidates”.

One candidate received an in-kind contribution of over $5,200 for a phone bank from the St. Croix County Republican Party and five of the “fake” candidates only source of campaign funds was the Republican Party of Wisconsin, and their only expenditure was to the Republican Party for printing and postage. Three letters authorized and paid for by fake candidates say: “Please help maintain our Republican legislative majority today! We can’t stress enough how important it is to have (CANDIDATE NAME) on the ballot today to combat the shady maneuvers of Madison liberals and their out-of-state allies.

Browne noted it was reported last week that the Republican Party will engage in this scheme again, and has recruited more “fake” candidates in 2012, including two candidates from 2011. In the event these publicly identified “fake” candidates file potentially false declarations of candidacy in 2012, One Wisconsin Now will ask that investigations be expanded to include the latest incidents.

“Whatever your opinion of recall elections, the fact is they are happening and the laws that are in place to keep them honest and transparent need to be obeyed by candidates and enforced if broken,” concluded Browne.

Supporting documents:

One Wisconsin Now letter to the Government Accountability Board (PDF).

Evidence suggesting “fake” candidates provided false or misleading information (PDF).

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