Wisconsin

Media Trackers First To File Complaint With GAB, Milwaukee DA Over “BBQ For Votes”

Campaigns

On Tuesday, Media Trackers was the first to publicly file a formal complaint with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office in the wake of what appears to be an illegal voter drive sponsored by Wisconsin Jobs Now!, whose parent organization is Citizen Action of Wisconsin

On August 1, a source who wishes to remain anonymous attended a Wisconsin Jobs Now! “block party” and witnessed a number of illegal activities firsthand. Upon checking in, the source was given a free meal ticket and a raffle ticket for a prize drawing before being whisked away in a white van to Milwaukee City Hall. At Milwaukee City Hall, personnel wearing Wisconsin Jobs Now! t-shirts explained the ballot and assisted voters with registration forms all from inside the Milwaukee Election Commission office, a polling location.

The Media Trackers complaint is twofold, citing Wisconsin Jobs Now! for violating two sections of Chapter 12 of the Wisconsin statutes.

  1. Wisconsin Jobs Now! engaged in electioneering in violation of Wis Stat. 12.03(2)(b)2, which states that “no person may engage in electioneering during the hours that absentee ballots may be cast on any public property within 100 feet of an entrance to a building containing the municipal clerk’s office or an alternate site under S. 6.855.”  Wis Stat 12.03(4) defines “electioneering” to mean “any activity which is intended to influence voting at an election.” There were two Wisconsin Jobs Now! workers with Wisconsin Jobs Now! t-shirts inside the Milwaukee Election Commission office, a polling place, explaining the ballot and assisting voters with registrations.
  2. Wisconsin Jobs Now! committed election bribery in violation of Wis Stat. 12.11.  Wisconsin law states that any person who “offers, gives, lends or promises to give or lend, or endeavors to procure, anything of value…, in order to induce any elector to 1. go to or refrain from going to the polls….” Wis Stat 12.11(1m)(a)1.  “Anything of value” is defined in Wist Stat 12.11(1) to mean “any amount of money, or any object which has utility independent of any political message it contains of which exceeds $1.”  Here, Wisconsin Jobs Now! offered free BBQ and raffle tickets and offered a free ride to the polls. The free BBQ is worth more than $1 and is an object which has utility independent of a political message as it is food. Thus, the free BBQ was something of value and Wisconsin Jobs Now! engaged in election bribery.

After the issue was raised by both Vicki McKenna and Charlie Sykes, MacIver News Service published the first article alleging that Wisconsin Jobs Now! may have violated election law. Media Trackers filed suit with exclusive firsthand reporting from a source who attended the event, witnessing at least two clear violations of election law by Wisconsin Jobs Now!

In the wake of allegations against Wisconsin Jobs Now!, their website underwent a thorough purge removing the name Matthew Brusky as treasurer for the organization and deleting the “block party” event page. Matthew Brusky serves as Political Director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an organization whom Sandy Pasch’s affiliation with has drawn criticism.

 

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