OUTSIDE MILWAUKEE, WI -- GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, will not face prosecution for an Election Day event where he gave supporters and voters a sub sandwich and a soda from in Waukesha.
Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel concluded a six-week investigation and released on Friday his decision to Melissa Bauldauff, the research director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
with the Government Accountability Board, the state agency that oversees elections in Wisconsin, and with the district attorney's office. Since the party alleged that a crime was committed, Waukesha County District Attorney's office, rather than the GAB, investigated the case.
shows Romney and Ryan handing out the sub sandwiches. Additionally, a video edited by the state Democratic Party shows Romney leading a rally and telling supporters to go vote, and, “If you want another sandwich, there are more back there.”
State law prohibits offering something valued at more than $1 in exchange for a vote.
However, in his decision, Schimel disagreed that it was election bribery:
“There is nothing unusual about a candidate telling people to vote on Election Day. It is common knowledge that on Election Day candidates stop in at local diners, senior centers and other places the public gathers to remind people to vote. That is what candidates do on Election Day.
“In his interactions with people in the sandwich line and during his speech, Governor Romney acknowledges the fact that it is likely that many present have already voted. The candidate knows he is talking to a group that is politically involved, and are likely voters. The encouragement to tell a friend can not be characterized as offensive to the law.
“In his speech, Governor Romney indicates that there were more sandwiches available. The organizers paid for 100 sandwiches, but as they noted, less than 100 people attended the event. Event organizers concede that it is possible that an uninvited member of the public managed to obtain a free sandwich. However, the fact that there appeared to be plenty of sandwiches left over reflects that it is unlikely that any significant number of uninvited members of the public helped themselves to free lunch. Even if they had, the evidence demonstrates that the intention of the organizers was only to provide lunch to invited volunteers and supporters. Thus, no one who was not otherwise inclined to vote was intentionally offered any inducement to do so.”