Wisconsin Lawmaker Wants to Ban "Bribes" in Recall Petitioning

A Republican state lawmaker wants to make it illegal for recall petitioners to offer what he calls bribes. Current law prohibits getting votes by offering something of value ---- but right now that rule doesn’t apply to recall petitions. Evan Wynn calls it a ‘loophole’. The Republican from Whitewater has authored a bill applying to both situations so there’s conformity, “We (Republicans) are not trying to bring this out because of the current recall Walker situation. If I was in the Assembly--I’m a freshman--I just believe it’s common sense. It’s wrong for these types of things.”

Recall supporters say it’s another roadblock to removing elected officials as Wisconsin’s Constitution allows. Bryan Bliss of Madison says political gatherings that offer food or drink without strings attached should not be considered a bribe, “Right now the bribery’s not coming because people are getting pizza; the bribery’s coming because there’s millions of dollars coming in from out-of-state lobbyists and a lot of people (recall supporters) feel like they ‘bought’ the legislators. The recallers’ aren’t the ones giving or receiving the bribes. We’re in the recall because we think the politicians got the bribes and that’s why we got to get them out.”

Last month, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office cleared three groups accused of election bribery. The groups came from across the political spectrum. They offered gift cards, free food and transportation to the polls.