Conservatives Plot to Burn, Shred, and Sabotage Scott Walker Recall Effort

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/_kristy_/5519069170/sizes/z/in/photostream/">_kristy_</a>/Flickr

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A group of self-identified conservatives say they plan to sabotage the effort to recall Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, which begins on Tuesday, by burning and shredding recall petitions they’ve collected and misleading Wisconsinites about the recall process.

These plans, discussed in Facebook posts that were first reported by the blog PolitiScoop, entail posing as recall supporters and gathering signatures, only to later destroy the petitions. They also include telling Wisconsinites that they can only sign one recall petition (which is false—they can sign different petitions as long as they each correspond to a different organization) and directing signature collectors to the homes of registered sex offenders. (Requests for comment were sent to each of the Facebook posters who allowed messages from other users.)

In one post, Will R. Jenkins says, “I’ll be able to destroy 15-20K signatures.” If things go well, he adds, he might even “be able to destroy upwards of 15-20% of the entire collected ballots in the state of Wisconsin”:

Jenkins’ Facebook profile lists his profession as “UNION SLAVE LABORER” at the Kenosha Unified School District, located in southeast Wisconsin. His description reads, “Dealing with white trash, illegal immigrants, and criminal gang black kids isn’t fun and games.” Jenkins’ interests are listed as “Greeting A Liberal,” “Beating A Liberal,” Strangling A Liberal,” Burying a Dead Body,” and “Having a Few Beers.”

Another person posting under the name Terry Dipper quips, “I bet I can heat my house the whole winter with what I collect”:

Poster Matt Wynns in Eagle, Wisconsin, doubles down on the idea of burning recall petitions:

And finally Facebook users Matt Wynns and Terry Dipper discuss telling Wisconsinites that it’s illegal to sign more than one recall petition—a false statement:

(You can read more of these posts at PolitiScoop, which posted nine different screen shots from Facebook.)

Michael Maistelman, a Wisconsin attorney and election law expert who reviewed screenshots of the comments, says the postings could raise serious legal issues if the plan is to tamper with official recall petitions. “If a person fraudulently solicits recall petitions and then destroys those petitions, they will probably go to jail,” Maistelman says. “The law is very clear on this.”

[UDPATE]: Reid Magney, a spokesman from Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, says destroying or defacing an official recall petition would violate state law. (Here’s the relevant statute.) Such a violation, he adds, would be a class I felony in Wisconsin, which carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to three-and-a-half years in jail.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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