MADISON, Wis. — Are you even in the GOP if you didn’t go to the Arizona election audit? It’s all the rage these days – and Wisconsin Republicans are jumping on the bandwagon. Six GOP lawmakers from Wisconsin just got Robin Vos’s blessing to head down to Arizona and “observe” the election audit, which is being run by a firm called Cyber Ninjas that has absolutely zero experience auditing elections. The legislators’ trip will be funded by Voices and Votes, a dark money group associated with disinformation network OANN’s chief White House correspondent Chanel Rion.
This dark money-funded vacation comes after Vos and legislative Republicans announced their own sham investigation into the election, run by an election conspiracy theorist and former police officer who was banned from the polls in 2008. A recount, a report from Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security, and multiple court rulings proved that the 2020 Wisconsin election was secure time and again.
While $2.3 billion in federal school funding is at risk in Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers’ main priority remains trying to investigate nonexistent voter fraud and pass voter suppression bills. Wisconsin’s GOP lawmakers have proposed at least fourteen election-related bills aimed at limiting absentee voting and targeting nonpartisan election workers.
Arizona Republicans reportedly hope to turn up bamboo fibers based on a debunked conspiracy theory about ballots coming from China. Maricopa County’s own GOP election administrator has criticized the audit, saying there is “no legitimate reason” for having the audit.
The trip is being spearheaded by Rep. Janel Brandtjen, who told her constituents last December that there was “no doubt” that Donald Trump won Wisconsin. Brandtjen recently joined likely gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch for a video about “election reform” that was laced with disinformation and election conspiracy theories. Kleefisch has given her full endorsement to all of the Wisconsin GOP’s voter suppression bills.
“The fact that Wisconsin Republicans’ top priority is to travel across the country to take part in a full-on disinformation circus—and not to find a way to fully secure federal funding for schools— tells you everything you need to know,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler. “The so-called Arizona ‘audit’ is a complete sham and a threat to our democracy. Wisconsin Republicans’ participation in this circus is shameful – our leaders should be trying to strengthen democracy rather than trying to tear it down. Fortunately, the difference between Arizona and Wisconsin is that Wisconsin has Democratic Governor Tony Evers—who will veto any attempt by the legislature to undermine Wisconsinites’ access to the ballot box and will always fight for safe, secure, and fair elections.”