In July, with little notice by the outside world, the corporate- funded “Tea Party” group called Americans for Prosperity sent around a mailing to the 16th Assembly District in Milwaukee.
The district is one of the most heavily Democratic in the state. It also has a high African American population. But that was exactly the point.
The mailings were actually a test run that is part of a conspiracy by Republicans and the Tea Party to “cage” Black voters, sow confusion and keep African-Americans home from the polls in November.
The vast Republican plot, which also is meant to target Hispanics and college students, was revealed in new tapes uncovered last week by the advocacy group Own Wisconsin Now.
The leaders of the Tea Party have acknowledged the authenticity of the tapes and Republican officials have not denied their essence, that the GOP is joined at the hip with the Tea Party to help Scott Walker and Ron Johnson win election this fall by using “voter caging” of African- American voters.
Tim Dake, of the extremist group The Grandsons of Liberty, has admitted that he is one of the voices heard in the tapes, where other Tea Party members complain about “the minorities” voting, and repeat the discredited Republican theory of voter fraud by blacks that has historically been used to justified Republican voter suppression efforts.
Dake was taped at a Tea Party instruction session and, in the tapes, he is heard to say that the Wisconsin Republican Party and its Chairman Reince Priebus were going to share voting lists of Blacks, Hispanics and college students with the corporatefunded Americans For Progress Group, which is run out of West Allis by Mark Block, whose criminal behavior in elections caused him to be banned from Wisconsin elections.
In the tapes, Dake and others are heard complaining about, “the minorities,” and claiming voter fraud that was disproven by the Republican U.S. Attorney, by the Milwaukee District Attorney, by the Government Accountability Board and by the Republicanrun Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Nevertheless, Republicans don’t see the irony in their “voter caging,” which involved sending pieces of mail to Black voters, recording those pieces of mail that were listed as undeliverable, then using the list of undeliverable mail to intimidate black voters and cause long lines on election day.
The technique has been deemed illegal by a long list of legal scholars and One Wisconsin Now has referred the tape and the evidence of the current Republican plot to the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
“Republicans have worked long and hard to deny African Americans the vote and it’s clear that the corporate-funded Tea Party is now working hard with them,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Black Caucus Chair Stephanie Findley said. “This time, they were caught red-handed. But the way to pay back the Republicans for their attack on the Black franchise is to get out and vote in November.”
Findley went on to say that the incident, “represented just the latest insult to the African American community by Scott Walker and the state Republicans.”
This summer, Scott Walker’s communications director and his deputy communications director posted a racist Internet posting that was meant to mock President Obama during a visit. Walker laughed off the deeds of his top campaign staff and nobody from his campaign was disciplined, even though the racist incident received national attention and even though Black leaders called on Walker to apologize.