Who IS that guy with the ads on KPOJ that's raising a stinkfest all over Oregon Secretary of State SOS Kate Brown? It's Robert (Bob) Wolfe, the chief petitioner behind the unsuccessful Initiative Petition 24, the Constitutional Initiative that would have decriminalized pot. Mr. Wolfe feels particularly put upon by SOS Brown since the SOS Office invalidated around 1/2 of the petition's signatures, and left it well short of the required number to make the November ballot.
Wolfe claims that the SOS unfairly tossed thousands of signatures, "undermining democratic process." What Wolfe fails to mention in his media short screeds is that not only were there thousands of duplicate signatures and signatures of inactive and non-voters, but his professional signature gathering team was busted for forging signatures.
"Lynne Terry, a reporter for The Oregonian, received a letter in the mail saying that the Oregon secretary of state (sic) had invalidated her signature in support of a measure that would legalize marijuana for adults. The letter asked her to sign a declaration stating that she had signed the petition and wanted her signature counted. Enclosed with the letter and declaration was a copy of the petition, including her name and address.
"There was just one problem: She never signed the petition. Reporters, as a rule, are not allowed to participate in political activity."
In the SOS June sampling, only 54.4% of the IP 24 signatures returned were found to be valid. In investigating the alleged forgeries, the SOS also determined that petitioners were being paid by the signature, rather than by wage. Because pay-by-signature has historically been found to promote forgery, and because it's a practice more often used by corporate interests than regular Joe-citizen petitioners, Oregonians passed a Constitutional Amendment in 2002 outlawing the practice.
The SOS levied a significant fine against Wolfe based on the signed statements from 2 petitioners who described being paid signature "bounties" for signatures appearing on 26 signature sheets. The fine levied was $65k, or $2500 per sheet. The Foundation for Constitutional Protection, a Texas non-profit which also pumped money into Measure 74 in 2010, financed $435,000 for the IP 24 petition effort, so the fine won't be sending Wolfe off to the poor house any time soon.
To be fair, Wolfe reported the to the SOS the names of 5 petitioners who were suspected of forgery. While this could potentially be grounds for reduction of the fine, those forged signature still remain forged.
So, to summarize, Bob Wolfe is busting Kate Browns chop's because she is enforcing the Constitutional mandate that the citizens of Oregon passed and because she is tossing duplicate, non-voter and forged signatures.
How terribly undemocratic!
Stay tuned for more... What do Ralph Nader, the Progressive Party and Oregon arch conservative Ross Day have in common? (Bob Wolfe)