A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Progressive Party candidate Robert Wolfe broke state elections law and is out for revenge

By Bill Bradbury of Bandon, Oregon. Bill is a former Senate President and Secretary of State of Oregon.

There are two things that disqualify you to be Oregon’s Secretary of State – the second highest office in our state.

One of those is experience. Knute Buehler, an independently wealthy surgeon and Republican candidate for Secretary of State, doesn’t have any relevant experience that would prepare him to oversee all of Oregon’s elections. That, and his alignment with the right-wing war on voting and his baseless fears about our vote-by-mail system, make him all wrong for Oregon and he shouldn’t be given the power of the Secretary of State’s office.

Visit KnuteBuehlerFacts.com to learn more about Dr. Buehler, but for now, the topic of this post is actually the second thing that disqualifies a person from serving Oregon as our Secretary of State - and that is: breaking state elections law.

Someone who broke the law and oversaw employees who forged voter signatures to get a citizen initiative on the ballot before Oregonians should not be Oregon’s Secretary of State.

That person is Robert Wolfe, the Progressive Party candidate in this election.

Let’s be clear, Wolfe does not expect to win – he is using the Progressive Party ticket to engage in a personal vendetta against Kate Brown.

Earlier this year, as reported widely by the media, Robert Wolfe broke state elections law and the proposed fine totals $65,000, the largest fine in Oregon elections history.

As Secretary of State, the law required Kate Brown to hold him accountable. In response, Wolfe is taking revenge against Kate by running against her as the Progressive Party candidate.

Not only did Wolfe illegally compensate employees gathering signatures for a ballot measure, but the media also reported that his team forged voters’ signatures without the voters’ knowledge.

Such actions are in violation of Oregon’s Constitution – laws that were put in place by the voters of Oregon.

This is not the first time Wolfe has attacked the Secretary of State. Wolfe filed a claim against her, but a judge ruled that the claim was factually and legally inaccurate.

So to be clear: Wolfe is attacking Kate for following the law and protecting the integrity of the citizens’ initiative process – the very thing we expect our Secretary of State to do.

Voters shouldn't believe one thing Wolfe says. Because the truth is that Kate has fought fraud in the initiative process, and because of her work, Oregon received the highest ranking in the country from the non-partisan Ballot Initiative Strategy Center for transparency, fairness and integrity in the ballot initiative process.

When Kate first ran for Secretary of State, she promised Oregonians that she would crack down on fraud and abuse in the paid signature gathering process. Kate knows that when volunteers gather signature, there aren't problems – but when big money gets involved, there are and it’s her job to hold accountable those who break the law.

Kate has done exactly what she said she would – actions we expect from a Secretary of State who has integrity and cares very deeply about initiatives getting on the ballot through legal and legitimate means.

A vote for Kate Brown is a vote for preserving the integrity of our electoral system in Oregon.

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    The Naderites are out in full force aiming to make a name for themselves by getting a Republican elected to statewide office in Oregon. There's a reason why they took money from the GOP in 2004 to get Ralph Nader on the ballot, and there's a reason why the GOP gave them money. Politics makes strange bed-fellows and some people would rather have the satisfaction of the revenge of the loser than actually work for real progress in Oregon and America.

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      What flavor is the kool-aid you are drinking? Ralph Nader wants to get Republicans elected? C'mon man, get real. Nader has always been liberal and anti-business. Kate Brown's main fault is that she is very partisan in an office that demands non-partisanship. This is the same virus that Bradbury could never get over. Brown, like most liberals, simply doesn't like referendums. They know better than the ignorant masses.

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      Yeah, Bill, and the national Democratic Party takes money from the same corporations as does the GOP.

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      Bill, please document your claim that "they took money from the GOP in 2004."

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        Here's one link: http://articles.cnn.com/2004-06-30/politics/bush.nader_1_nader-supporters-nader-campaign-nader-spokesman-kevin-zeese?_s=PM:ALLPOLITICS

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          Thats a big fail Bill. This article alleges some Republican groups made some phone calls to help the Nader effort. That's not the same as Nader accepting money from the Republicans. Not even close.

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            http://www.sccdp.org/sites/default/files/nader.htm Déjà vu 2000: Hoping to Elect Bush, Republicans Repeat Financially Supporting Nader 2004: Major Republican Supporters Fund Nader to Drain Votes from Democratic Candidate John Kerry. “Billionaire Richard J. Egan built his reputation in politics as a major donor and fund-raiser for the Bush campaign, steering hundreds of thousands of dollars into Republican coffers in recent years. But now it appears Egan and his relatives are bankrolling a new candidate: independent presidential contender Ralph Nader.” [“Major Bush Fund-Raiser Donates to Nader Campaign,” Boston Globe. July 1, 2004]

            “[T]he Egans' sudden interest in Nader seems to reflect a more sophisticated strategy by Republicans to draw support away from Democratic challenger John F. Kerry by bolstering his third-party rival.” [“Major Bush Fund-Raiser Donates to Nader Campaign,” Boston Globe, July 1, 2004]

            Republicans: Nearly 10 percent of Nader’s Big Contributors Nearly 10 percent of the Nader contributors who have given him at least $250 each have a history of supporting the Republican president, national GOP candidates or the party, according to computer-assisted review of financial records by The Dallas Morning News.” [“GOP Donors Double Dipping With Nader,” Dallas Morning News. March 26, 2004]

            2000: Republicans Paid for Nader Ads in Three Pivotal States “One group, the Republican Leadership Council, has prepared a television commercial in which Mr. Nader attacks Mr. Gore and is ready to broadcast it in Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin, where the Green Party has made significant inroads among Democrats.” [“Republican Ads Use Nader in an Effort to Attack Gore,” New York Times, October 28, 2000]

            Watchdog Group Files Legal Complaint: Republican Groups Broke Campaign Laws “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington … says the Oregon Family Council and Citizens for a Sound Economy violated election laws last week by telephoning people and urging them to help Nader get on Oregon's ballot in November.” [“Watchdog Group Complains About Nader Aid,” Boston Globe, June 30, 2004]

            “Both groups acknowledge trying to influence Nader's petition drive Saturday in Oregon, in hopes that getting him on the ballot would take votes away from Democrat John Kerry and help Bush win the battleground state.” [“Watchdog Group Complains About Nader Aid,” Boston Globe, June 30, 2004]

            Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington “filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the Oregon groups of breaking campaign laws with their efforts on Nader's behalf. The complaint also names the Bush and Nader campaigns, saying that reports of the Bush campaign using its resources to help Nader, and Nader's acceptance of the assistance, would amount to illegal campaign activity.” [“Major Bush Fund-Raiser Donates to Nader Campaign,” Boston Globe, July 1, 2004]

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              Your first paragraph refers as source to http://www.sccdp.org/sites/default/files/nader.htm, which presents a few quotes from newspaper articles. But the articles cited (from the Boston Globe and Dallas Morning News) are no longer available on the web. Can you provide them? In any event, even the selected short quotations in no way state that "[Naderites] took money from the GOP," which is your claim.

              Accepting some contributions from persons who also have in the past given to Republicans (if that happened) is not "they [Naderites] took money from the GOP."

              Your paragraphs 4-7 merely recite allegations that conservative groups did something on their own to help Nader. That is not "they [Naderites] took money from the GOP."

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              Also, many people and organizations which in the past have contributed to Republicans have also contributed large sums to the Obama campaigns, particularly those in the banking and finance industries. Does that make Obama illegitimate? That is all that your articles say about Nader.

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    Mr. Wolfe, Please elaborate on the assertion that you have "fears about vote-by-mail". As other states struggle with voter supression and attempts to erect roadblocks for valid voters to submit their choices, Oregon stands tall as a model for fair elections. If you oppose this system without any substantive reasons, you would never get my vote. Please explain.

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        Thank you for your reply, Mr. Wolfe. The "idea" was gleaned from Mr. Bradbury's post above about your "baseless fears about our vote-by-mail system". I am so glad that you have set the record straight. It makes me sad when progressives fight amonst ourselves, especially through vicious attacks. Doing so gives the right wing to prevail. My fervent wish this election is to send a message that the goals of the right wing are unacceptable to the majority of Americans. Even Romney is finding this out as his campaign seems to move to the center, but then there is Paul Ryan that refutes his appearance of becoming more moderate. But that is a bit off topic.

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    I really think Kate Brown is headed for a big win. Bill Bradbury attacking Robert Wolfe though is kind of like 'crushing a butterfly with a rock.' Obviously the guy Wolfe has no chance and it is very doubtful the GOP can get the traction in any event.

    I think though that the Brown critics are stiking close to a sensitive nerve and in that respect I think they are saying things that need to be said- perhaps not such a personal attack- I mean she has a lot of good qualities.

    Here is Wasco County we had to form a state pac to circulate a referendum on a county ordinance. The people at the Secretary of State's office were nice enough personally but all of the requirements were a barrier for our tiny grass-roots effort- for example we were required to have a bank account to form the pac and have you tried to open a bank account lately with homeland security? This was even though we filed papers stating that we would spend less than $3000 and we were not soliciting donations and all expenses were out-of-pocket in-kind. Why should you have to open a bank account that you don't need or want? If this is the law it is uncostitutional and should be changed. It was definately a factor in slowing us down and killing our petition.

    All of this scheme is trying to suppress use of the initiative because frankly their is an elitist attitude that fears the majority. I know there were abuses by the right-wing that sponsored a lot of bad petitions but honestly the scheme we have now is anti-democratic by design. Why the liberal aren't using the petition I don'y understand since our Legislature and Governor seems to only come up with a very mild agenda.

    A vendeta? Oh god- I've have never heard of a grudge or vendetta in politics- It's not just Wolfe but others share similar sentiments. The liberals on this one sowed the seeds and now they get the crop.

    Think I might vote Green for this race- not for President though- that vote might mean something- After Nader and that escapade I won't back the so-called Progressive Party candidates- as one writer explained it is well know that the Bush backers pushed the efforts placing Nader on the ballot- this is nothing new- during the McGovern-Nixon campaign the illegal Watergate slush funds were proven to have finaced most of the Linda Jenness Socialist Workers Party campaign attacking McGovern as a tool of capitalist lackeys.

    Enough said.

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      I think the initiative process is really important, but I do not see where Kate or anyone else has created impossible hurdles. I know that I don't want 100 initiatives on the ballot, and I don't want some group to just buy their way onto the ballot like Kevin Mannix & pals did. The process has to be demanding and rigorous to prevent gaming the system.

      If there are some problems that need to be fixed in our initiative process, then lets get them on the table and get the legislature to enact them. But so far, I'm not seeing anything.

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    This is one of the ickiest thing's I've read on BO. It is dishonest, deceptive, and desperate.

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    The whole point of the existence of the Progressive Party and the Wolfe candidacy is to leverage power by demonstrating the ability to split off enough votes from Dem candidates to get GOP candidates elected. Rather than be a competing coalition in the Dem. Party they find these politics of slash and burn more romantic and appealing. Why else would the Naderite cause seek common cause with the GOP in getting on the ballot?

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    I'll be voting for Kate Brown, and for Bradbury if he's ever on the ballot again. Keisling failed to enforce some election laws.

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      Me too! Yay for Kate Brown and Bill Bradbury. The last thing we need in Oregon is a Republican in charge of our elections. That's a sure road to voter suppression and rigged election counts. We need Kate Brown making sure voters can access their right to vote and have their votes counted as cast AND to make sure initiative petitions are truly supported by Oregon citizens as opposed to purchased by corporate or other special interests.

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    What I think everyone who's basing on Kate Brown fails to realize is she is abiding by the laws regarding initiatives and signatures. If you don't like the laws the way they are, get on your state representatives and senators to change it. Also, while I wish we had a successful multi-party system, we don't at the moment. Unfortunate as it sounds, a vote for a third party candidate is a vote for Buehler. If you're paying attention to what's going on around the country, a republican secretary of state will do everything they can to create voter suppression, as is happening in states around the country!

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      The policies that disqualify most of the voter signatures are not in state statutes. They are in "directives" adopted by Kate Brown.

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    Ralph Nader, the man who brought us two terms of GWB, the Bush tax cuts, Justice Alito and Roberts, and Citizen's United, the Iraq War and the Bush Tax Cuts, now wants to bring us a right wing GOP Sec. of State by making attack Ads against Kate Brown.

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    Is she doing anything illegal? If so, then why did the judge rule afainst Wolfe? If not, again, change the system if you don't like it. I really don't have an opinion one way or another re: Wolfe's role in this. I am a registered member of the progressive party, but I do NOT want Buehler to win. If we continue to fight amongst ourselves and split the vote between the two, that's what will happen. It is too important to keep a republican from winning this race. And if he does, I don't want to hear all the Wolfe supporters complaining when Buehler starts doing things to suppress the vote like other republican secretaries of state are doing.

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    I am with Kate100 percent!!

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    I can identify with the Progressive Party positions in the Oregon Voters Pamphlet, BUT I am quite disturbed by the mis-characterization of other Parties, especially the Dems. It lacks integrity, Mr. Wolfe. You lost my vote specifically because your party lies.

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    Every third party candidate running in this race is a cannabis reform candidate. They may not stand a chance of winning, but they sure do make marijuana law reform a major issue in the race. And it should be. Marijuana is the top cash crop in the State and according to DASC reports, 90% of the market is run by foreign Cartels. According to those same reports there were between 1-3 million plants grown in Oregon in 2009 - and police confiscated a record 262,000. That is a major drain on our economy.

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