• WisPolitics


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

 12:02 PM 

Dem recall hearing continues

The Government Accountability Board continues to hear from attorneys on both sides of the attempt to recall three Dem senators.

The board showed concerned with finding a standard for a percentage of fraudulent signatures that would invalidate the entire petition, and whether that would disenfranchise some individuals who signed the petitions in an honest attempt to recall the Democrats.

Jeremy Levinson, the attorney representing the three Dems facing recall, said said there is a “pattern of deliberate fraud” in the recall petitions, offering examples of false addresses given by petition circulators, incorrect addresses listed for signers, and affidavits from individuals who said they were misled by circulators about what the petition was for.

As one example, Levinson pointed to a petition signed for the recall of Wirch listing the address and name of the deceased father of state Rep. Mark Pocan, Bill Pocan. Levinson suggested that the inclusion of the name implies the petitioners “sat down with the White Pages and randomly picked names.”

The board questioned McLeod about the Pocan signature. McLeod said there was no evidence offered by Levinson as to who signed the petition using his name. But board member Gerald Nichol questioned why McLeod hadn’t sought the answer himself from his client.

“Well you people turned it in. And you don’t take responsibility for that?” Nichol asked.

McLeod said while he agreed that the Pocan signature should be stricken from the petition, it does not equate to evidence of widespread malfeasance. He said Levinson’s case is based on rhetoric, not “credible, direct evidence.”

Panel members questioned McLeod about how circulators were paid by Kennedy Enterprises, the Colorado Springs-based firm contracted to collect the signatures needed to recall the Dem senators.

McLeod said there is no evidence that the circulators were paid per signature, as Levinson claimed. But Gordon Myse, a retired judge like the other members of the GAB, said Kennedy Enterprises had established a per signature payment method in other petition efforts, and there’s no reason to believe they would alter the practice for the Wisconsin job.

McLeod said the payment issue is irrelevant, but Nichol disagreed.

-- By Greg Bump

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