Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Walker criticizes GAB with irrelevant, false claims

Governor touts debunked claim about a process that wouldn't even be changed by proposal he supports

Hearings in favor of destroying the non-partisan Government Accountability Board, charged with overseeing elections and ethics violations in the state of Wisconsin, are currently underway in the state legislature. Expressing his support for the measure, which would replace the GAB with two separate partisan boards, Gov. Scott Walker did what he does best --

He took to Twitter and sent out ill-informed tweets to his fanbase.

His comments reflected criticisms brought up during his recall election. In one tweet, the governor insisted that the GAB had readily favored accepting recall signatures from fictitious cartoon characters and a long-deceased fascist dictator:

And Walker reiterated the claim again the next day, apparently in an attempt to reach fans of Warner Bros. since his previous tweet dealt with Disney:

The claim that Walker is making isn’t a new one. It was previously concocted by the MacIver Institute, a right-wing advocacy group that frequently touts up Walker-based proposals using less-than-informed pseudo-news practices.

The claim by MacIver was that the GAB would accept these phony signatures as valid. But that wasn’t the real story, and PolitiFact Wisconsin soon explained how wrong they were.
For such signatures to actually be counted, they would have to pass undetected through petition circulators, the recall committees, a pair of Government Accountability Board reviewers, Walker’s representatives and other groups that review the petitions. If such signatures were found, Walker could formally challenge them to the board to get them stricken.
“Mickey Mouse” would only be accepted as a name on the recall petition if it went unchallenged. Even then, if spotted by the GAB workers it would be flagged for follow-up, allowing challengers the opportunity to question the validity of the signature in a way that made it simpler for them to do so.

None of this even matters because the bill that Walker and legislative Republicans are pushing for wouldn’t change any of the methods for catching fraudulent recall signatures. It merely replaces the non-partisan GAB with two partisan boards.

Walker tries to sully the name of the GAB with these criticisms, but in reality they’re flawed arguments, childish at best. They neglect to account for the process that’s required for challenging signatures, and have wouldn’t be remedied by the proposed bill that the governor is pushing.

Changes may be needed to help the GAB -- but proposing to throw the baby out with the bathwater is unnecessary. Republicans need to backtrack and rethink what they're proposing.

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