The 2020 election probe being led by former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman drew fire from both flanks Monday over offers of immunity for those who respond to subpoenas issued in the investigation.
Gableman in a video posted Friday said those who respond to his subpoenas are provided immunity under Chapter 13 of state statutes.
But Dem AG Josh Kaul on Monday said Gableman lacks the authority to grant immunity to mayors who participate in interviews relating to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ taxpayer-funded probe.
“So my request to Speaker Vos is simple: Shut this fake investigation down,” he said.
Kaul in a Madison press conference slammed Gableman for conducting a “fake investigation” which he says is ripe with bias from members of Gableman’s team. He added the investigation is an abuse of the Legislature’s authority and a waste of $700,000 of taxpayer money. While there is a place and time for election investigations, the election results in question reflect the will of the voters, he added.
He said attorney Andrew Kloster’s involvement points to pro-Trump bias since Kloster used to work for the Trump administration.
“Frankly, no serious investigator would conduct an investigation under these circumstances, and no one should treat the results of this investigation as credible,” he said.
When asked if state Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe would need to visit Brookfield for an interview with Gableman, Kaul said he’s talking with Gableman and his team to determine whether she does. But he said any interviews with election officials regarding elections should be conducted in front of the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee.
See Kaul’s statement here.
Vos in a statement slammed Kaul’s “misguided remarks” and said the subpoenas were issued correctly.
The Rochester Republican accused the Dem AG of taking sides and said the investigation will continue in order to restore confidence in the democratic process.
“Sadly Attorney General Kaul has sided with the out-of-state billionaires meddling in our elections and ignored Wisconsin citizens who bring up irregularities,” he said.
See Vos’ statement here.
Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Janel Brandtjen said she opposes the subpoenas and the extension of immunity to the mayors of the state’s five largest cities.
Gableman has sent subpoenas to the mayors of Green Bay, Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha and Racine. Those communities received the bulk of funds The Center for Tech and Civic Life provided to some 200 Wisconsin communities to help cover the cost of putting on an election during a pandemic.
Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls and chair of the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee, singled out Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, charging the former Dem lawmaker “committed dereliction of duty and should be held accountable.”
“Providing him immunity after all the time it has taken to uncover his actions will not serve justice,” she said.
Brandtjen said the subpoenas weren’t presented to her committee and don’t have the committee’s backing. The subpoenas Gableman sent out include the committee’s name on the letterhead.
“Justice Michael Gableman does not speak for myself or for the Wisconsin Assembly’s Campaigns and Elections Committee,” Brandtjen said. “The current subpoenas have not been approved by the Assembly’s Campaigns and Elections Committee that Justice Gableman is supposed to serve, nor have the subpoenas even been submitted to the committee.”
Brandtjen said committee members have only learned about Gableman’s actions via radio interviews, media reports and YouTube videos.
Brandtjen also repeated her call for an Arizona-style audit of the 2020 election, saying it “would finally rebuild trust in Wisconsin elections.”
The group performing Arizona’s audit found the official results of the election closely matched the results they found during their investigation. But the audit report also raised concerns about absentee ballots, which election officials disputed.
See Brandtjen’s statement here.