AP

Wisconsin’s GOP-ordered election investigation will continue

Apr 26, 2022, 8:05 AM | Updated: 3:03 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-ordered investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin that was supposed to wrap up this week will continue just as Donald Trump urged, but with no more taxpayer money to pay for it, the state’s top Republican said Tuesday.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ announcement that the probe into President Joe Biden’s win in the battleground state will go on beyond Saturday, when the contract with the investigator was scheduled to end, came a day after Trump issued a not-so thinly veiled threat to Vos if he shut it down.

Vos referenced several ongoing lawsuits related to the investigation, but not Trump, in explaining the extension.

“The Office of Special Counsel will remain open as we guarantee the legal power of our legislative subpoenas and get through the other lawsuits that have gridlocked this investigation,” Vos said.

Wisconsin’s review is one of only a handful of GOP efforts to look back at the 2020 election that remain alive.

A much-ridiculed investigation wrapped up in September in Arizona without offering proof to support Trump’s claims of a stolen election. Similar efforts are being pursued by Republicans in the presidential battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, also won by Biden. And in Utah, a panel of majority-GOP lawmakers in December approved an audit of the state’s election system. Unlike Arizona, the Utah effort will be conducted by nonpartisan legislative auditors and is not focused solely on 2020.

Vos hired former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman at $11,000 a month and launched the probe after Trump and others put pressure on him to investigate the 2020 election in Wisconsin. Biden carried Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes, an outcome that has survived recounts, partisan and nonpartisan reviews and numerous lawsuits.

Vos said the investigation would continue under its original $676,000 budget with Gableman agreeing to a pay cut. He didn’t say how much of a cut and his spokeswoman, Angela Joyce, said details were still being finalized. She said Gableman had asked to purchase the state office equipment he had been using, and Vos agreed. She had no further details.

Vos, the longest-serving Assembly speaker in state history, has tried to appease the wing of his party that supports Trump and questions the outcome of the election, while also pushing back against those who want to decertify Biden’s win.

Trump on Monday called for the investigation to go forward.

“Anyone calling themselves a Republican in Wisconsin should support the continued investigation in Wisconsin without interference,” Trump said in a statement.

“I understand some RINOs have primary challengers in Wisconsin,” Trump said without naming Vos or his primary challenger, Adam Steen. “I’m sure their primary opponents would get a huge bump in the polls if these RINOs interfere.”

The acronym RINO refers to “Republican In Name Only.”

Gableman, in a series of recent appearances on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcasts, has urged Vos to allow the work to continue. Gableman asked listeners to call and email Vos to tell him not to have movers remove state furniture from his office on Tuesday.

Gableman did not return a message Tuesday.

Gableman’s inquiry has drawn bipartisan criticism from the start. A conservative, he worked briefly in the Trump administration and said right after the election that he believed it had been stolen from Trump.

Once the investigation began, Gableman was criticized for surrounding himself with Trump loyalists, sending confusing emails, making basic errors in his filings and for meeting with conspiracy theorists. He was sued over his response to open records requests and for subpoenas of mayors and other local elections officials who said they were willing to testify publicly, but not behind closed doors. A hearing on Gableman’s case seeking to jail the mayors for noncompliance is scheduled for July.

A judge last week ordered Gableman to stop deleting emails and other records. On Tuesday, the judge set a June 10 hearing to determine whether Gableman should be found in contempt. Vos has already been found to be in contempt for failing to produce records in another case.

Gableman has delivered two interim reports, most recently in March, but he has failed to meet numerous deadlines. None of his findings provided substantiated evidence that Trump actually won Wisconsin.

Gableman’s recommendation that the Republican-controlled Legislature take a look at decertifying Biden’s win was met with bipartisan scorn.

In recent weeks, Gableman drew new criticism for disparaging how Wisconsin’s top elections administrator, Meagan Wolfe, dressed.

Investigative documents posted publicly in late April showed the probe had expanded to look at the political leanings of public workers involved in elections. One unsigned memo drew criticism; it described a Milwaukee city employee as “probably” a Democrat because she “has a weird nose ring,” colors her hair and lives with her boyfriend.

“There’s something wrong with him,” Republican state Sen. Kathy Bernier, chairwoman of the Senate elections committee, said of Gableman in response to that memo.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

2 days ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

2 days ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

2 days ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

2 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

5 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Wisconsin’s GOP-ordered election investigation will continue