Paul Jacob

The flustered wife responds: “That’s it! I’m not signing any more of those petitions.”

For some reason, she doesn’t respond as savvier wives do, with a roll of the eyes and a combative “That’s nonsense” comment.

What’s the real risk of identity theft from signing a petition?

Well, first, note that CAIT doesn’t bring to the public’s attention even a single case of identity theft via initiative petition. Not one. Hmmmmmm.

Secondly, it is already against the law to send petition information out of the country, as the ad suggested.

The Bee reports that “[r]epresentatives for the Identity Theft Resource Center and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse” — two groups actually engaged in protecting folks from identity theft — “denounced the claims” made in the radio ad “as false and unmerited.”

According to a statement from the California Public Interest Research Group: “There is as much risk of identity theft involved in signing a petition as there is in being listed in the phone book.”

So, what’s at work here?

“It sounds like they’re trying to intimidate people from exercising what is a constitutional right,” concludes Derek Cressman, Western regional director for Common Cause.

“Outrageous,” responds Bob Stern, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies.

Californians Against Identity Theft is a scam organization, whose name has nothing to with it’s anti-democratic mission. The group’s radio advertisement is a dirty trick intended to scuttle citizen control of government. Their chosen tactic is similar to parking a police cruiser with lights flashing at a polling place in hopes of dissuading folks from voting. Despicable.

We can hope that those involved in this deceptive fly-by-night CAIT group, and the organizations working with them — the unions and the “progressive” Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, whose mission is to block conservative ballot measures from a vote by any means necessary — will see their hearts, like the Grinch’s, “grows three sizes” in a day. Then, they’d no doubt apologize for their dishonest voter suppression tactics.

But don’t count on it.

Instead, Californians must stand up to defend their initiative and referendum rights against the concerted attacks of big labor, big business and big politicians. There’s a reason they despise democracy.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.