MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Democrats are riled because a donor to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign pulled a surprise move and filed the paperwork to recall him instead of waiting for opponents to do so.
The move beat Democrats to the punch in their own plan to file such paperwork to recall the the controversial freshman governor.
The Democratic Party alleges that the donor filed the paperwork so that Walker could begin raising unlimited political donations. The money can be used only for certain things, such as a recall election.
"The only reason this was filed was to open the dirty rain shower of unlimited corporate cash," Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, told The Capital Times in Madison.
Democrats have been vowing to recall the governor since he introduced legislation eliminating most of public workers' union rights in February. Public employee unions traditionally have been big supporters of Democratic candidates.
The Wisconsin Democratic Party has said it plans to start its effort to recall Walker on Nov. 15.
The state Government Accountability Board said Friday was the first possible day to file paperwork to recall Walker. Organizers must gather 540,000 signatures in 60 days to force a recall election.
Brandt says in the filing he was registering a recall committee to "fulfill my friend's last request."
David Brandt of Muskego and the "Close Friends to Recall Walker" committee filed the paperwork for the effort. Brandt said in the paperwork he was registering a recall committee to "fulfill my friend's last request." An Associated Press check of campaign finance reports lists Brandt as giving the Friends of Scott Walker campaign $50 on Sept. 21, 2010.
Unlike in regular elections, campaign contribution limits do not apply when an elected official is facing a recall. The window for unlimited contributions opens once a committee registers with the GAB, which Brandt did Friday. That means political action committees, individual donors and special interest groups can contribute as much as they would like.
Individual contributions to the governor normally are capped at $10,000 and single committee contributions to $43,128.
State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said the recall papers "will allow Walker to bag all the sleazy campaign cash he can get his hands on."
Nicole Larson, a spokeswoman with the Republican Party of Wisconsin, told The Capital Times that "the rumors being circulated by the Democrats are completely false."
Two Republican state senators were ousted in recalls this summer, while three Democrats and four other Republicans survived recall elections.
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