Speaker Robin Vos says the Assembly could be in later than usual this session to give former Justice Michael Gableman more time to wrap up a 2020 election review so lawmakers can incorporate his findings when writing new bills.
The Rochester Republican, in a WisPolitics.com year-end interview yesterday, sought to blame Dems for a delay in Gableman’s timeline. The effort originally targeted October for an end date, but Vos said Dems have put up a series of roadblocks to hamper the efforts.
Minority Leader Gordon Hintz charged Assembly Republicans are looking to extend the probe as long as they can and may take it past the 2022 election. The Oshkosh Dem said doing so would imply there was something wrong with how the 2020 election played out and avoid having to finally admit to some in the GOP base that the review’s results will be disappointing.
“For some of them, if Trump isn’t reinstated, they didn’t get to the bottom of it,” Hintz told WisPolitics.com.
The pair spoke with WisPolitics.com in separate interviews yesterday with Gableman’s investigation facing court hearings that will likely push any conclusion into the early part of 2022. A Dane County judge has a hearing set for Dec. 23 on Dem AG Josh Kaul’s effort to quash the subpoena Gableman issued to Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, arguing the statute gives the former justice the power to compel testimony in public before a legislative hearing, not in private at his Brookfield office.
Meanwhile, a Waukesha County judge has set a Jan. 21 hearing just to lay out a briefing schedule on Gableman’s request to jail the mayors of Green Bay and Madison if they don’t comply with the subpoenas his office issued to them.
Vos said he didn’t imagine in his “wildest dreams” at the outset of the Gableman probe that Dems would try to throw up so many roadblocks. He was particularly critical of Dems for knocking the Legislature Audit Bureau’s review of the 2020 election, though his appointee to the Elections Commission, former GOP state Rep. Dean Knudson, is among those who questioned the quality of the non-partisan agency’s work.
“It’s just all a game to these people,” Vos said.
The Assembly met Feb. 20, 2020, for its final regular floor period before COVID-19 brought the chamber back in April for a special session to take up legislation related to the pandemic. In 2018, the chamber wrapped up most of its work by late February before returning in late March for an extraordinary session.
Vos said he wasn’t sure how late the chamber may be in session this spring.
“I try to be on time, and I try to put a plan together, and this is one where people have thrown up so many roadblocks that it might take longer than I want,” Vos said.