Updated at 6:23 p.m. with a quote from Walker's spokeswoman
The recall effort is over in Wisconsin. No, it's not what you think.
Recall season wouldn't be complete without a few strange developments. During the 2010 state Senate recalls in Wisconsin, one of the more bizarre developments arrived when Republicans ran fake Democrats in primaries to give their own incumbents more time to prepare.
Now, GOP Gov. Scott Walker is headed for a near-certain recall election this year, as Democratic activists are collecting petition signatures at a swift pace. But a lesser-known, separate recall effort launched on Nov. 4 -- by a Republican donor -- ended today with little fanfare. The effect of that recall -- even if not the intended purpose -- has some Democrats raising their eyebrows. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The effect of the recall committee created on Nov. 4 and then quietly terminated was to give Walker an extra week and half to raise campaign contributions with no limits that can be used to help defend the governor against the more serious recall attempts that were begun by Walker opponents on Nov. 15.
The Nov. 4 petition was filed by David Brandt of Muskego in Waukesha County. Brandt, a modest contributor to Walker and the state Republican Party, did not return a phone message Wednesday left seeking comment.
Reid Magney, a spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board, said Wednesday that Brandt didn't raise money or turn in any signatures as part of his recall effort and has formally ended it.
In the Nov. 4 filing with the accountability board, Brandt wrote cryptically that he was registering a recall committee - Close Friends to Recall Walker - to "fulfill my friend's last request."
In Wisconsin, gubernatorial candidates normally can't raise more than $10,000 from a single contributor during a four-year election cycle. But a quirk in state law removes those limits during the first part of recall elections.
Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews notes: "The Walker campaign did not start fundraising as a result of the recall effort until United Wisconsin filed recall paperwork on November 15th. Also, we did not organize, collaborate or work with in any way the gentleman who filed the recall paperwork."
Writes Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski, in a memo to reporters:
Today, Jan 4, marks the 60-day deadline of the "first" recall to Scott Walker, which actually was when Scott Walker recalled himself. In sham fashion, a Scott Walker supporter filed recall petitions to trigger the period in which Walker could raise unlimited, unregulated amounts of sleazy corporate cash.
Just another day in what promises to be a recall season filled with unexpected twists.