Subgate: Dems accuse Romney of buying votes with cold cuts

Hunting for votes in Wisconsin with Rep. Paul Ryan yesterday, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney handed out free sub sandwiches to residents and encouraged them to vote for him.  Now, the Wisconsin Democratic Party is accusing the former Massachusetts governor of trying to buy votes and has filed a complaint with the state’s government accountability board.

“Bring your friends to the polling place, get out and vote and if you want another sandwich, there are more back there,” Romney said.  “If we have a good turnout, then I’ll become the person who receives the Wisconsin delegates that I need to go on to become the nominee and finally take back the White House.”

“It is a clear violation of Wisconsin election law, cut and dry,” the Democrat Party’s representative in Wisconsin told ABC News.

Here’s the evidence Dems claim shows Romney exchanging subs for votes:

Democrats are crying foul, accusing Romney of election bribery.  The state’s law books maintain that any individual who “offers, gives, lends or promises to give or lend, or endeavors to procure, anything of value,” with the purpose of either encouraging or discouraging voters from either going to the polls or voting, has gone against the law. That is, so long as the value of the item exceeds $1 and “has utility independent of any political message it contains.”  The sandwiches at Cousins range in price from $4.49 to $5.59 each.

The problem for the Wisconsin Democrats’ case is that there was no explicit exchange of a promise to vote for Romney in exchange for the sandwiches, nor did Romney require individuals to prove that they had already voted for him in order to get a sandwich.

The Ryan-Romney appearance at Cousins Subs was billed as “Lunch With Mitt,” and was advertised on the candidate’s website prior to the event.