Updated: August 1, 2011, 4:40PM
Is the Koch-backed conservative group Americans For Prosperity up to no good in the Wisconsin state Senate recalls?
As Politico reports, mailers have now turned up from Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin, addressed to voters in two of the Republican-held recall districts, where the elections will be held on August 9. The mailers ask recipients to fill out an absentee ballot application, and send it in — by August 11, after Election Day for the majority of these races.
“These are people who are our 1’s [solid Democrats] in the voterfile who we already knew,” a Democratic source told Politico. “They ain’t AFP members, that’s for damn sure.”
There are two other recall elections being held on August 16, targeting two Democratic incumbents, but they are both a distance away from the recipients of these particular mailers.
Furthermore, a close look at the mailer shows a continuation of irregularities that have already involved conservative groups and absentee ballots in the state.The mailing address for the applications is listed as “Absentee Ballot Application Processing Center, P.O. Box 1327, Madison WI 53701-1327.” A Google search shows that this address is not any sort of government office, but has been used by the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action.
In addition, Wisconsin Right To Life previously used the same address for absentee ballot application letters and phone calls that were sent out shortly before the July 12 Democratic primaries, but after the official deadlines for the applications. The group responded to criticism, saying the phone calls were intended to be for the general elections in August.
Calls placed by TPM to Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin, and to Wisconsin Family Action, were not immediately returned.
Late Update: AFP Wisconsin director Matt Seaholm told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the August 11 date in the mailer was a typo, and that the group is not trying to mislead voters.
“This just went out to our members,” Seaholm said. “I’m sure the liberals will try to make a mountain out of a molehill in an attempt to distract voters’ attention from the issues.”
But what of the self-identified Democratic voters who received them?
Seaholm noted that some critics of his group sign up for AFP material so they can keep tabs on the organization, which backs GOP candidates and causes and was co-founded by billionaire activists David and Charles Koch. He said he couldn’t be sure if that is what happened here.
“No (mailing) list is perfect,” Seaholm said.