Lawyer asking for criminal charges over "place holder" candidates

MILWAUKEE -- A lawyer is asking for criminal charges to be brought against "place holder" candidates who will appear on recall ballots. The Republican candidates will appear on the ballots as Democrats.

In total, there are six candidates who will appear on recall ballots. The Democratic Party says these candidates have taken sworn oaths, saying they are actually Republicans. By being on the ballots, some of these candidates have pushed back primary election dates.

Conservatives say it is a legal strategy, while Democrats say it is a crime, and are seeking charges.

Tuesday, April 10th, recall candidates turned in their nomination paperwork at the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board headquarters in Madison, with the hope of getting their name on recall ballots. However, it's the names of the lesser-known candidates that Democrats are calling criminals.

Jeremy Levinson, an attorney for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin says Republicans are committing campaign fraud. "The fact these folks will look unblinkingly in the camera and say, 'hey we're cheating because we want to win' seems to have confused a lot of people," Levinson said.

Republicans have admitted these "place holder" candidates are from their party, running as a protest.

Levinson expects to file paperwork with the GAB Thursday, April 12th,  calling for criminal charges to be filed.  "'We told everyone we were cheating' is not a defense for election fraud. Putting out press releases, this is all a lie, they're not Democrats, they're only doing this to manipulate the system, is an admission of election fraud, not a defense to election fraud. It was called election fraud a year ago, and it was called election fraud 10 years ago. It's a crime," Levinson said.

Chris Kliesmet with the conservative watch-dog group Citizens for Responsible Government says no rules have been broken. "You can argue all you want, but the bottom line is, in America, you can run for any office, for any party you choose. There is a process. The process was followed. They got the signatures, and they appear on the ballot. Politics is politics. It's a contact sport. Get over it," Kliesmet said.

The GAB will hear both sides of this complaint. The GAB has set a meeting for next week. Since this complaint alleges criminal activity, the GAB may pass it on to the District Attorney.