DOUG ERICKSON Thursday, February 24, 2011
A Utah group that opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants has filed paperwork in Wisconsin to begin recall efforts against eight Democratic state senators, including Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison.
The group, Americans Against Immigration Amnesty, did not return phone calls or e-mails, so it was not immediately evident why it was undertaking recall efforts here. The eight senators are among 14 who left Wisconsin Feb. 17 to delay a vote on Walker’s budget repair bill by depriving the Senate of a quorum.
Meanwhile, a Madison group has registered a political action committee to start raising money for a recall drive against Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
According to state law, Walker, who took office in January, cannot be the subject of a recall election — and his detractors cannot file recall petitions against him — until he’s served at least one year, said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Government Accountability Board.
Jeremy Ryan of Madison, executive director the anti-Walker political action committee, called Defending Wisconsin, said that by starting now, the group can have volunteers and field offices in place across the state when the official 60-day window to start collecting signatures begins in November.
Legislators also must serve one year of their current terms before they can be the subjects of recall elections. That is apparently why the other six boycotting senators are not subjects of recall efforts by the Utah group.
The group filed electronically with the GAB between Feb. 18 and 21, calling itself the American Recall Coalition. It lists Americans Against Immigration Amnesty as its sponsoring organization. Both are based in Salt Lake City and share a leader.
The group seeks to recall eight Democratic senators: Risser, Lena Taylor (Milwaukee), Spencer Coggs (Milwaukee), Jim Holperin (Conover), Mark Miller (Monona), Robert Wirch (Pleasant Prairie), Julie Lassa (Stevens Point) and Dave Hansen (Green Bay).
Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said he doesn’t think the recall efforts by the out-of-state group against his colleagues will succeed.
“We are very strong, independent people in Wisconsin, and we like things from Wisconsin,” he said.
The Utah group cannot start collecting signatures until it files paper registration statements with the name and signature of at least one qualified voter from each of the Senate districts, Magney said. To trigger a recall election, a petition must contain signatures of qualified voters equal to at least 25 percent of the votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election in the district.
A separate effort to recall Holperin has begun by an Eagle River group called the Jim Holperin Recall Committee. And a group in Pleasant Prairie has scheduled a press conference Thursday to discuss recalling Wirch.
The Madison group hoping to recall Walker will begin a statewide advertising campaign in the coming weeks, said Ryan, 22, owner of a global wholesale and consulting telecommunications company. The group would need about 540,000 signatures to trigger a recall election of Walker, he said.
Reporter Patricia Simms contributed to this report.