A judge Thursday ruled against recall campaigns that sought to intervene in a lawsuit over how state election officials check recall signatures. Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis also set Jan. 5 for the next hearing in the case, in which the Friends of Scott Walker and Stephan Thompson, executive director of the state Republican Party, asked Davis to order the state Government Accountability Board to look for and eliminate duplicate signatures, clearly fake names and illegible addresses. All of the issues in the case are expected to be handled during that hearing.
Jeremy Levinson, attorney for recall groups targeting Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state senators, had sought to make the groups, and some individuals connected with them, parties in the case. Levinson also sought to have the Republicans submit to discovery, which could potentially have opened Walker campaign records to scrutiny by Democrats. With Davis denying the motion to intervene, discovery won’t occur, as an attorney for the accountability board said it didn’t see a need to conduct discovery.
Recall campaigns were launched Nov. 15 against Walker, Kleefisch and four GOP senators, though only three of the senatorial recall campaigns were represented by Levinson – those against GOP Sens. Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine. Signatures are due to the accountability board Jan. 17 in the recalls.
The lawsuit, filed Dec. 15 in Waukesha County, can be brought in one of the most Republican counties in the state because of a change in state law earlier this year by GOP lawmakers and Walker that allowed lawsuits to be brought against the state outside Dane County, the seat of state government. Republicans argued that Dane County judges are too liberal. Judge Davis used to be a Republican state senator.
The recall efforts mark the state’s second big round in 2011, in the wake of battles over the budget and limitations to public-employee collective bargaining last winter and spring.
In denying Levinson’s motion to intervene, Davis cited the need for speed in the case, with the signatures coming in by Jan. 17; the possibility for “chaos” or a “free-for-all” if the new parties were allowed into the case; and that the recall groups’ position will be adequately represented by the accountability board and its lawyers. Lewis Beilin of the state Department of Justice represents the board.
Full Article: Court rules out intervention by recall groups – JSOnline.