Scott Walker's Extremist Out-of-State Helpers
WARNING: The following memo contains graphic, NSFW language. Please read at your own risk.
Despite Scott Walker’s frequent whining about the “out-of-state special interests” spending “tens of millions” to push him out of office, the only out-of-state special interests involved in Wisconsin politics are those who support Walker.
In addition to the millions of corporate cash Walker has bagged from radical out-of-state financiers of extreme far-right causes, the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity has already spent more than $2 million on false and misleading television ads that distort Scott Walker’s disastrous agenda that has slashed education funding, stripped workers’ rights, gutted critical healthcare protections and has Wisconsin leading the nation in job loss.
Now, in Scott Walker’s failure to challenge the validity of even one recall signature, he is actually requesting the assistance of ethically challenged Tea Party organizations.
Contrary to what their name suggests, the Texas-based True the Vote organization, and its parent organization, the King Street Patriots, are anything but truthful and are committed to suppressing the votes of those who don’t support the radical Tea Party agenda by any means.
Both True the Vote and the “Verify the Recall” coalition of Wisconsin Tea Party organizations claim to be nonpartisan activists who neither support nor oppose any specific recall efforts. However, True the Vote claims on its website that “vote fraud is nearly an exclusive crime of the left” and that the left wants “to be able to steal elections at will” and the Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty were involved in a widespread, coordinated voter-caging scheme with Scott Walker’s Republican Party in 2010.
Further, these groups, who have been validated by Scott Walker and his Republican Party, have been linked with acts of discrimination, racism, hate speech and were even suspected of arson.
As reported by Talking Points Memo in 2010:
A group trying to register voters in Houston received threats and emails containing racist slurs after being targeted by a local tea party group accusing it of “voter fraud.”
In emails obtained by TPM, the group Houston Votes was accused of being “a bunch of white guilt ridden assholes, NIGGERS and greasy mexican spics,” “fraudulent Marxist pigs,” and “American hating A-holes.”
And after a fire that destroyed all of the voting machines in Harris County(Houston), Texas, an area heavily populated with minority voters, TTV and KSP emerged with unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud. A video on their website shows only people of color when speaking of voter fraud, and only white people when talking patriotically about preserving the integrity of the vote.
While the incident was ruled an accident, it was suspected that tea party extremists intentionally caused the fire.
True the Vote has been the subject of multiple investigations, state and federal. In 2010, the Texas Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against TTV and its parent group King Street Patriots alleging illegal contributions and illegal coordination with the Republican Party and/or its candidates. The complaint further alleged that, rather than following laws that require nonprofits working on political issues to be upfront about funding sources, KSP is a “sham domestic nonprofit corporation that instead acts as an unregistered and illegal political committee.”
The suit also claimed that the KSP would act “with the sole intent to deceive and discourage lawful voting. These practices will be targeted to undermine the vote of Plaintiffs and to undermine the vote of certain segments of the population.”
True the Vote and King Street Patriots also came under fire for their voter intimidation tactics.
Following the disgraceful and hateful emails its activists sent to a grassroots group attempting to register historically underrepresented voters in minority districts, KSP and TTV launched an “anti-voter fraud” effort that included aggressive and intimidating election monitoring, as well as the actual disruption of lines of voters.
KSP and TTV’s poll watchers were accused in 2010 of “hovering over” voters, “getting into election workers’ faces” and blocking or disrupting lines of voters who were waiting to cast their ballots.
Following multiple reports of intimidation, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the so-called anti-voter fraud effort.
True the Vote has received a significant portion of its money anonymously and has paid for or hosted events with several major “anti-voter fraud” activists.
As recently as November 2011, KSP hosted Matthew Vadum, a right-wing fanatic who believes that registering poor people to vote is un-American.
In a column penned for The American Thinker in September 2011,Vadum stated that:
“Registering them [welfare recipients] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country…”
KSP also famously doctored a photo of an African-American woman at a 2000 Florida Gore recount rally for use in a video. The woman’s sign that read "Don't Mess With Our Vote," was altered to read, "I Only Got to Vote Once."
We’ve seen out-of-state special interests and billionaire financiers of bizarre social causes flood Wisconsin with unprecedented campaign cash, and worse, a slew of false and misleading advertising paid for with unregulated money from undisclosed donors all to support Scott Walker’s extreme agenda.
A supposedly nonpartisan group which claims an emphasis on preserving the integrity of the ballot would seem to be a welcome addition to the movement in Wisconsin; however, it is clear from its past and current political activity that True the Vote is not acting in Wisconsin in good faith.
On June 11, 2011, True the Vote began its interference in Wisconsin politics with a so-called “training session” highlighting its proprietary software and vision of equipping polling places with Tea Party-trained poll watchers. This session was presented to Scott Walker’s Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce – which has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in Walker’s defense.
Following this training session, TTV presented to the Government Accountability Board on February 7, 2012, in an attempt to convince the GAB to enter into an agreement with TTV for analysis of the nearly two million recall signatures submitted – at a cost of $1.00. Included in TTV’s pitch to the GAB was a letter of recommendation from Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.
Given that Scott Walker’s campaign was unable to produce a single challenge of a single signature, despite his reports of “thousands” of volunteers and his undisputed $12 million in campaign contributions, it is unclear how TTV would be able to analyze the same petitions for $1.00. This raises serious questions about the motives of TTV, as well as the source of their funding. To undertake such a complex operation requires significant resources and, disturbingly, no one knows who is providing those resources and whether they are supporters of Scott Walker.
Further, if TTV was truly a nonpartisan operation acting in the interest of electoral integrity, it stands to reason that Walker’s campaign could have retained them for the same $1.00 – and would still have $11,999,999 left to spend on misleading advertisements and mailers.