Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Dan Baltes, the man responsible for the failed effort to recall Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, is now saying that he wants to clear his name and reinstate the recall, after allegedly filing a complaint with Pima County Elections.
According to a copy of the six-page complaint obtained by the Tucson Weekly, Baltes’ main reason for ending the recall involved a cooperative effort by a “de facto political committee,” whose aim was to derail the recall by making false claims through websites and blog posts.
The complaint names Trent Humphries, president of the Tucson Tea Party, and Alexandrea Merrell, a conservative talk-radio personality and former Baltes employee, as well as other people “whose identities are unknown to (Baltes) at this time,” as the leaders of the so-called political committee. The complaint claims this "de facto political committee" did wrong because Humphries, Merrell and the unknown others did not register their committee with Pima County Elections.
Both Humphries and Merrell received copies of the complaint in the mail last weekend.
“That is the beauty of having the truth on your side,” said Dan Baltes via e-mail to the Tucson Weekly. “We will not comment on the basis of the allegations nor the facts of the complaints and look forward to the Pima County Department of Elections adjudicating the complaint."
However, Pima County Elections had not yet received the complaint earlier this week.
“I haven’t heard or seen anything about it until Alexandrea Merrell called me on Monday,” said Brad Nelson, director of the Pima County Elections Department.
According to Nelson, Merrell contacted the department to find out if the supposed legal document came from Nelson’s department. His response was “absolutely not.”
Merrell was suspicious about the complaint, because Baltes’ return address was on the envelope, she said.
“I felt that something was wrong, because it didn’t come from a court or Pima County Elections,” said Merrell. “It came from Dan.”
Trent Humphries said he wasn’t concerned about the complaint when he received his copy in the mail.
“I never opened it,” said Humphries. “I tossed it right in the garbage when I saw it came from (Baltes).
Humphries and Merrell both denied starting a “de facto political committee” to oppose Baltes’ “Recall Dupnik” effort. The two didn’t know each other until Merrell posted allegations of fraud against Baltes on her blog.
According to Humphries, he reposted Merrell’s findings, along with a link to her site on the Tucson Tea Party blog to warn people.
“You can tell the hucksters from the people who are in this movement for the right reasons,” said Humphries. “When you see those people, it’s your responsibility to call them out so good people don’t get hurt.
The Pima County Elections Department would forward the matter to the Pima County Attorney’s Office if they were to find any wrongdoing, according to Nelson.