Fearing the worst with looming recall elections on the way, Wisconsin Republicans are beginning to panic a bit. This includes ramming right-wing legislation through at break-neck speed before voters can take away the GOP’s power, but it also includes a series of election-related schemes.

Most notably, Wisconsin Republicans are pushing fake candidates in Democratic primaries in order to delay the recall process. The scheme will cost state taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, but the GOP doesn’t seem to care. (Remember when Gov. Scott Walker and his party said saving money was so important, they had to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights? I guess the commitment to fiscal responsibility was just a phase.)

Also note, these election shenanigans aren’t just the work of outside agitators — top GOP officials in the state, including the state’s Senate Majority Leader, are in on the game.

As it turns out, they’re not the only ones. Greg Sargent reports today that an official at the Republican National Committee also appears to be involved in hatching the scheme.

When the La Crosse Tribune first broke the story earlier this month, the paper reported that one Mark Jefferson, then the executive director of the Wisconsin state GOP, had been recorded discussing the plan with local GOP officials. Jefferson had served in that position for four years, as the right hand man of the Wisconsin state chairman, Reince Priebus. Priebus, of course, is now the head of the Republican National Committee.

Even as the story about the Wisconsin GOP scheme was breaking, it was already known that Jefferson would be moving to the RNC to play the role of Midwestern regional director, a significant position.

No one is saying that the RNC itself played an active role in developing the plan. But Jefferson himself has in the past denounced such schemes as highly unethical.

And now, Jefferson doesn’t want to talk about it.

Six of the state Senate Republicans facing recall elections were also in on the scheme, though they initially claimed otherwise.

If unions, Democrats, and their allies in Wisconsin were looking for a little added motivation, this ought to do the trick.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.