Apparently the SEIU wants to be notified when people are gathering signatures against their card check legislation. So they can call out the goons on you? Nice. Things are getting rough out here in CA.
As backers of several high-profile ballot measures hit the streets looking for signatures, a new radio ad has surfaced warning listeners that signing initiative petitions puts voters "at risk for identity theft."
The 60-second spot, which is airing on at least one Southern California radio station, features a man telling his spouse she should not have signed a petition at the grocery store.
"The Legislature called it an identity theft starter kit. Now we really need to watch our bank statements and credit information," he says.
"That's it, I'm not singing any more petitions," the woman responds. "I guess the lesson here is not to give our name and address to anyone we don't know."
The identity of the group behind the ad remains a mystery, but the timing of the launch suggests its aim is to derail one of several high-profile measures currently trying to qualify for the 2012 ballot.
The spot claims to be paid for by a group called "Californians Against Identity Theft." The coalition has no website and has not filed a campaign committee with the Secretary of State, though the content of the ad likely would not trigger disclosure requirements because it does not mention a specific measure or candidate.
Update 11:36 a.m.: A website for the group has been launched at this link
The group does not appear to have any ties to legitimate organizations dedicated to protecting consumers from identity theft. A spokeswoman for the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center disputed the premise of the ad.
Under state law, it is illegal to use initiative signatures for anything other than the initiative petition. Election code also prohibits felons ineligible to register to vote from serving as signature gatherers, as claimed in the ad.
Derek Cressman of government watchdog group Common Cause said he was "hard pressed" think of a situation where signing an initiative petition led to identity theft. He said the ad sounded like an attempt to "provoke a fear" to discourage people from signing petitions.
"If they really wanted people to take their warning seriously, they'd have more credibility by revealing their own identities," he said.