The Washington Post

Desperation of Wisconsin GOPers could cost taxpayers tens of thousands

Earlier today I noted that the plan being hatched by Wisconsin Republicans to meddle in Dem primaries in order to delay the recall elections is being widely seen as a sign of mounting GOP desperation as the recalls loom.

Now, according to an interesting story in the Journal Sentinal, it looks like these tactics could actually end up costing the Wisconsin taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars — and that all the Wisconsin GOP senators being targeted in recalls were aware of this plan:

A Republican effort to stall recall elections by forcing Democratic primaries to be held will cost taxpayers at least tens of thousands of dollars, a check of local election clerks shows.

Meanwhile, the top Senate Republican said Tuesday that all GOP recall targets were familiar with the plan to delay the recall elections by fielding fake Democrats in primaries. Earlier, some of those recall targets claimed they didn’t know about the plan.

Click through the link for the details. This is not huge money on the state level. But this story is nonetheless very revealing. Keep in mind that the number one justification Wisconsin Republicans offered for taking away the collective bargaining rights of public employees — the proposal that got this whole fight started — has been that it’s necessary to protect Wisconsin taxpayers! In his February address at the height of the crisis, Walker claimed he was pursuing the rollback of bargaining rights in order to protect the “millions of taxpayers from all across this state who know we’re doing the right thing.”

Now that Wisconsin GOP state senators are staring into the recall abyss, however, Wisconsin Republicans are willing to waste the money of those very same taxpayers on a scheme to tamper with Dem primary politics in a last-ditch effort to push back the recall elections in hopes of saving their hides.

To be sure, recall elections are going to cost taxpayers money no matter what. But Dems have secured these elections through the arduous collection of tens of thousands of signatures — they have gotten past hurdles which are meant to insure that there’s genuine and widespread public support for holding them. By contrast, Republicans are discussing fielding candidates in Democratic primaries for the express purpose of saving themselves — and as it turns out, these primaries will come at additional cost to the taxpayers whom Republicans originally purported to represent as they rolled back the rights of public employees.

UPDATE: Post edited slightly from original.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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