Governor Jan Brewer and her supporters are pulling out all the stops to prevent a People’s Veto of her Medicaid expansion Plan. Members of URAPC and the Tea Party are reporting incidents of interference with their efforts to gather over 100,000 signatures to get a referendum challenging the Governor’s Obamacare plan on the November 2014 General Election ballot.
According to several sources, Chad Willems, of Summit Consulting, is managing the counter campaign in the Phoenix area, funded by big hospitals and other health service providers who stand to benefit financially from Brewer’s plan. Willems is reportedly paying people $1.25 per signature on his “fake” petitions.
On the James T. Harris radio show on 104.1FM, opponents with referendum petitions, described encountering aggressive operatives who followed them around attempting to prevent them from having access to Tucson area residents. (Click Here)
One Republican insider estimated that “Willems’ workers could easily earn up to $500 a day passing a fake petition for the Governor that has no other purpose but to deliberately confuse Arizona voters.” The intent of the effort is twofold; to confuse Obamacare opponents by having them believe that they signed a petition in favor of the People’s Veto, and create an atmosphere that hinders the access to legitimate petition passers.
The URAPC group, founded by former state senators Frank Antenori and Ron Gould warns their supporters of the Governor’s group on their website: “Governor Brewer suspended the rules in the House to ram Obamacare and a Democrat unbalanced budget through the legislature. So it is not a surprise that the Governor’s Team intends to bend every rule in the book to prevent the Republican Party from their constitutionally defined right to collect signatures to veto her.”
According to members of the URAPC Alliance the “fake” petition gatherers have been spotted in Glendale, the East Valley, and in Tucson Arizona seeking signatures on a paper with the title: “Petition in Support of Health Care for Arizonans Who Need it Most.”
An official of a Phoenix Tea Party Group speculates that the Governor will use the fake petition signatures to say, ‘see all these people are in favor of healthcare,’ which is all the fake petition says. If in doubt, their group encourages people to sign both.
Willems’ group has traditionally worked for conservative candidates, but according to sources, Willems’ operatives will work for the highest bidder. One Republican insider said Willems “should be recognized for his contributions so good Republicans should know the next time they endorse him on his website.” Former congressman J.D. Hayworth endorses Willems on his website as does Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
One Capitol insider reported that Brewer’s team hired an out-of-state signature gathering business led by Jenny Breslin for their interference effort. They say that while there are numerous negative charges being leveled against Breslin and the JMS organization she represents, “JMS appears to be a mercenary organization and will work for the highest bidder, in this case for Brewer and the Medicaid Express.”
The Orange County Register reports that Breslin’s political signature gathering firm has been accused of wrongdoing in seven states and some of their “workers have been convicted of fraud in Florida and accused of violations in six other states, including California.”
According to the Orange County Register, “JSM workers were among 17 signature gatherers who tricked dozens of young Orange County residents into registering to vote as Republicans…. The Register interviewed 12 voters whose voter registration affidavits on file with the Orange County Registrar of Voters say they were registered to vote by a Desia Ritson. But when the Register showed them pictures of Ritson, Breslin’s sister, all 12 said they didn’t recognize her. Most said they were signed up by young, white men in their mid-twenties at Golden West College.”
Ritson did not play a part in her sister’s firm. The Register reported that “JSM, which according to Ritson stands for “Just Send Money,” rose to national prominence during the 2004 presidential campaign when independent candidate Ralph Nader hired the firm to gather signatures to put him on the ballot in several states. Many Democrats thought the Nader petition drives were a Republican ploy to draw votes away from U.S. Sen. John Kerry. JSM has ties to the GOP.”
But opponents of Brewer’s expansion say she and her cronies are anything but representative of the GOP that they know. They say that the Governor cannot win on principle because she sold it to corporate hospitals.
URAPC and other opposition groups are not hiring professionals to gather the signatures needed for a People’s Veto. According to URAPC’s website, the groups have approximately 13,000 petitions throughout the state of Arizona being carried by small business owners of both political parties.