recall election

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Editorials: Scott Walker’s Wisconsin and the End of Campaign-Finance Law | Lincoln Caplan/The New Yorker

When Scott Walker announced last week that he is running for President, he pledged to pursue a conservative agenda that will transfer power back to the states. “We need new, fresh leadership, leadership with big, bold ideas from outside of Washington,” Walker said. “The kind of leadership that knows how to get things done, like we’ve done here in Wisconsin.” A few days later, the conservative-dominated Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision that shows an important part of how he and his political allies have gotten things done. They have substituted the misrule of politics for the rule of law. By 4–2, with the four conservatives in the majority, a liberal and a moderate in dissent, and one justice recused, the court halted the John Doe criminal investigation into whether Walker’s successful campaign to retain his post in a 2012 recall election violated Wisconsin law, by coördinating fund-raising and spending with so-called “independent” dark-money groups, and avoiding disclosure of donors’ names. The court did so by rewriting the state law in question, so that the kind of coördination the campaign was being investigated for is now unrestricted in Wisconsin. Read More


Wisconsin: No charges in probe of Scott Walker’s recall election | Associated Press

Presidential candidate Scott Walker won a major legal victory Thursday when Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ended a secret investigation into whether the Republican’s gubernatorial campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups during the 2012 recall election. No one has been charged in the so-called John Doe probe, Wisconsin’s version of a grand jury investigation in which information is tightly controlled, but questions about the investigation have dogged Walker for months. Barring an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling makes Walker’s campaign that much smoother as he courts voters in early primary states. Read More

Ohio: Election officials reject 98 percent of signatures on petitions to recall Cleveland Mayor | Cleveland Plain Dealer

An already long-shot effort to recall Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson was dealt a major blow on Wednesday after elections officials rejected more than 98 percent of the 12,887 signatures submitted by the group. Elections officials certified as valid only 260 signatures submitted by recall organizers on Saturday, the County Board of Elections said in a news release. The group needed 12,025 valid signatures from city residents who voted in the November 2013 election to force a recall election. The recall group, which calls itself the Cleveland: A Return to Excellence Committee, now has 20 days to attempt to collect the 11,765 more valid signatures. If the group fails a second time, it must start its effort over from the beginning. Read More

Voting Blogs: Will the recall effort against the Ferguson Mayor pass judicial scrutiny? | The Recall Elections Blog

It looked like the recall of Ferguson Mayor James Knowles was “dead in the water” a couple of weeks ago. But times have changed. There is now a more concentrated — or at least much better publicized — effort to have Knowles kicked out. Signatures are starting to be collected and press reports note that petitioners need about 1800 signatures (15% of registereds) in 60 days. The move may simply be a way to pressure Knowles into resigning (a common result in a recall). But if Knowles doesn’t resign, there is an open question — and possibly conflicting statutes — as to whether he can be recalled for his leadership of the city. There may also be a question of how many signatures are actually needed for the recall. The problem here is that the state law may conflict with the local law. Read More

Missouri: Ferguson Mayor James Knowles faces recall effort | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

For the past few months, a series of protests have targeted the homes of politicians, and Mayor James Knowles III figured his turn was coming soon, especially after Friday, when five residents filed an affidavit to remove him from office. And sure enough, about 6:45 a.m. Monday, roughly 10 protesters were outside his house, playing music along with sound bites of his own comments through a bullhorn. Knowles said he had warned his wife that if the protesters showed up at his door, he was going to open it, and so he did. “They were clearly not expecting that,” he said. Read More

Editorials: Nevada recall campaigns face hurdles | Joshua Spivak/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Enraged by political maneuvering that resulted in moderate Republican John Hambrick being elected speaker-designate of the state Assembly, Nevada conservatives are preparing a recall petition to kick Hambrick out of office. If this recall came to pass, Nevada would be following other states — in the past 21 years, five states have had legislative leaders face recall elections. But the tea party types should not hold their collective breath — because of the quirks of Nevada law, a recall is much harder to get on the ballot in the Silver State than in many other places in the United States. Using recall elections to target legislative leaders has been a popular, bipartisan undertaking in recent years. It started in 1994, when California Senate President Pro Tempore David Roberti, a Democrat who was already term-limited, faced a recall over his support for gun control legislation. Roberti easily survived the recall, although he lost the Democratic primary for state treasurer. California also got to see a recall used the next year against Doris Allen, a Republican and an independent, who was briefly made speaker after she switched her vote to support the Democrats retaining control of the Assembly. Allen stepped down from the speakership before the recall, and then was trounced in the ensuing election. Read More

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Wisconsin: Elections board officials defend performance | The Journal Times

Wisconsin election board officials told the Legislature’s audit committee Wednesday that they have been struggling with an unprecedented workload as they worked to blunt a critical evaluation of their performance and save their agency from the chopping block. The Government Accountability Board has been forced to administer multiple recall elections, implement voter photo identification and conduct a massive statewide recount with limited staff during the past four years, the board’s director, Kevin Kennedy, told the committee. “The Government Accountability Board is a Wisconsin success story,” Kennedy said. “I am disappointed that some critics of this agency have used this nonpartisan audit to make political points rather than focusing on how we can work together to maintain Wisconsin’s excellent record and reputation for running elections and transparency in government.” Read More

Wisconsin: Lawsuit Over Scott Walker Recall Election Probe To Be Argued In Appeals Court | Associated Press

Wisconsin prosecutors on Tuesday tried to persuade a federal appeals court to let them to resume their investigation of Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election campaign, in a case that touches on broader issues about just what constitutes constitutionally-protected political activity. In more than 90 minutes of questioning, three judges on a panel at the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago didn’t give a clear indication of which way they might be leaning. But two of the three repeatedly broached questions about whether federal judges should intervene in what appeared to be a state matter. When it comes to federal courts dictating to states about criminal investigations or anything else, Judge Frank Easterbook said, what precedent demands is, “Be modest. Be careful.” The arguments in a downtown Chicago building took place two months before Walker — a Republican seen as a potential 2016 candidate for president — faces a closely contested re-election against Democrat Mary Burke. Read More

Wisconsin: New Documents Undermine Walker Statements on Criminal Probe | PR Watch

Despite claims that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not a “target” in the state’s criminal campaign finance probe, newly-released documents demonstrate that prosecutors are indeed looking at potentially criminal activity by the first-term governor and 2016 presidential hopeful.  The latest round of documents released in Wisconsin’s “John Doe” investigation shine new light on the stalled inquiry into alleged illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and outside political groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) during the 2011-2012 recall elections. The documents show that Walker made personal appeals to out-of-state billionaires and millionaires to raise funds for WiCFG — which spent $9.1 million on the recalls and acted as a “hub” for funnelling millions more to other groups — and evidence indicates that his campaign also worked with WiCFG on how those funds were spent.   Read More

Wisconsin: Federal court holds off on Walker probe release | Associated Press

A federal appeals court may hold off on releasing nearly three dozen sealed documents tied to a secret investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, according to a lawyer representing groups which want the documents made public. A coalition of media and open government advocates had asked the court to release sealed documents in the case. The court had planned to release 34 sealed documents Tuesday. But that did not happen, and media and open government coalition’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous Jr., said in an email to The Associated Press that the court is likely waiting for him to file a response to Monday’s motions. He said he has 10 days to submit something but planned to file a response on Wednesday. Read More