Pro-Recall Group Outs Facebook Page That Boasts About Destroying Signatures
One Wisconsin Now calls on all recall supporters to be vigilant, but only one instance of actual recall destruction found.
Wisconsin recall supporters outed an anonymous Facebook group called Operation Burn Notice on Tuesday as a coordinated effort designed to destroy petitions signed to force Gov. Scott Walker and other Wisconsin Republicans out of office.
Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, denounced the anonymous group, in a Madison press conference.
"We cannot allow democracy to be threatened by those who would illegally destroy recall petitions with valid signatures on them," Ross said. "We intend to keep the public informed about its rights during the signature gathering process and alert those who would engage in illegal conduct that they do so at their own peril."
One Wisconsin Now, a pro-recall group, is offering a reward for anyone who outs a person destroying signatures. The group also wants the public to know the rules with regards to the recall petition process and released a memo addressing myths that have been circulating around the recall process.
Ross said the purpose of the reward was to get leads on people destroying petitions until Jan. 14, which is the date the recall committees have to turn in the petitions to the Government Accountability Board.
Destroying or defacing petitions is a felony, which carries a $10,000 fine and up to three-and-a-half years in jail.
The group, which said they are for a fair and clean election, also sent a letter to Ismael Ozanne, the Dane County District Attorney, which notified the office of a Facebook page called Operation Burn Notice.
The letter cited several Operation Burn Notice posts that bragged about having destroyed 148,764 signatures as of Sunday.
One post stated Saturday:
The fires have been extinguished and the ashes spread. It was a very good day for a Sunday. To date, Operation Burn Notice has destroyed over 11,000 "documents". Do the math, kiddies. First correct total of signatures gets the Sunday, weekly door-prize.
To date, only one instance of actual criminal activity has been reported to the authorities in Dane County, the rest of the reports have been on other blogs and included screen shots from Facebook pages of people talking about having destroyed petitions.
In response, the group is offering a reward that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone destroying or defacing recall petitions from today through Jan. 14. The group will be taking affidavits from people who step forward and will turn those affidavits over to the appropriate district attorney, Ross said.
Last week, a Caledonia resident, who asked not to have his name used, told Caledonia Patch that he and at least two other people in Racine were collecting signatures to recall Scott Walker, but had no intention of turning them into the GAB. Instead, they want people to think they've signed the petition, but not actually have their signatures count. The man, who asked not to have his name used, ultimately decided to turn them into the recall committee.