DENVER — A man being paid to gather signatures to recall state Sen. Evie Hudak can be heard encouraging a person who lives outside the lawmaker’s district to sign his petition with a fake address in an audio recording released Thursday by a group defending Hudak.
The Democracy Defense Fund, formed to defend Hudak, D-Westminster, sent out a YouTube video of an audio recording of a four-minute exchange between an unidentified petition circulator, who admits to being paid $3 per signature by Kennedy Enterprises, and an unidentified person who is really a DDF staffer with a tape recorder.
The group, Recall Hudak Too, has until Dec. 3 to turn in the 19,000 valid signatures required to make Hudak the third Democratic lawmaker to face a recall election over her support of gun control legislation earlier this year.
After Sens. John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo were bounced from office in September, Democrats are clinging to a one-seat senate majority; if Hudak loses her seat to a Republican, Democrats would lose control of the legislature’s upper chamber.
FOX31 Denver confirmed last week that Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which is working closely with recall organizers, is paying Kennedy Enterprises, the company that hires people to circulate petitions for ballot initiatives.
Toward the end of the conversation on the video released Thursday, the unidentified paid petition gatherer asks the staffer for Democracy Defense Fund, who’s secretly recording the conversation, if he’ll sign the petition.
“I could do it, but I live outside of Denver, dude,” the citizen responds. “Could I still do it? It if helps you out, I wouldn’t mind doing it for another signature or something.”
“If you write an Arvada address in there, it’s alright,” the petition gatherer says, apparently encouraging the man to lie about his residency.
“So if I just wrote my buddy’s house, you think it would work out?” the man responds.
“The thing is, technically, only out of 100 names — or let’s say out of 1,000 names, only 630 of them have to be real registered voters for me to get paid for the whole job,” the petition circulator says.
“It’s basically six out of ten — makes it a little easier for me.”
Democracy Defense Fund told FOX31 Denver that the group will challenge the validity of the signatures, should Recall Hudak Too turn them in on or before Dec. 3.
“We know that the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners have been having so much trouble getting signatures, that they resorted to paying people with criminal backgrounds, said Cheryl Cheney, a volunteer with the Democracy Defense Fund.
“This recording is evidence they will do whatever it takes, even if it means committing fraud, to achieve their goal.”