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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

 4:54 PM 

GAB won't consider outside reviews of recall petitions

Government Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy said Tuesday the board would not consider input from outside groups in its recall review process.

He told GAB members during a special meeting that state law does not currently provide for evidence from outside parties during the recall review and that it would be inappropriate to change procedures in the middle of the review.

A pair of Tea Party groups had requested that the GAB use its petition checks as part of the review, but Kennedy said individuals with concerns about signatures should direct their comments to the committees of the recalled officeholder in question.

"At the end of the day, we are trying to proceed as the policymakers have directed," GAB Chairman David Deininger said.

Ross Brown, of Madison Tea Party group We the People of the Republic, said his group is legally prohibited from sharing information with the campaigns, but that the Verify the Recall effort -- operated by Brown's group and Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Grandsons of Liberty -- would publish their findings publicly.

He accused the GAB of not taking appropriate steps to root out fraud in the recall signatures, and said he's "disappointed that the citizens are being cut out of the process."

Kennedy countered that the GAB process is a review of recall petitions, not a verification, and said the Verify the Recall project would go "way beyond" what is required in state statutes.

"Just like in a courtroom, you don't just allow people to walk in and say, 'I have additional evidence,'" Kennedy said.

State GOP spokesman Ben Sparks said in a statement that the party encourages "any individuals who identify potentially fraudulent signatures to report their findings to their local Republican Party office."

-- By Andy Szal

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