Former Justice Michael Gableman originally sought to subpoena employees of Airbnb and Hyatt Regency, suggesting he cast a wide net in his review of the 2020 election.
But it was unclear that the subpoenas — among dozens that Dem state Rep. Mark Spreitzer released Wednesday — were served. That’s because Gableman’s office acknowledged to Spreitzer, D-Beloit, that the office didn’t attempt to serve out-of-state subpoenas.
Spreitzer posted dozens of subpoenas that Gableman’s office had shared with him, including the ones that targeted Trent James and Ryan McCrum of Hyatt Regency. The document Spreitzer posted didn’t include details of what Gableman had been seeking. Green Bay’s central count took place at the KI Convention Center at the Hyatt Regency in 2020.
The subpoena issued to Ari Steinberg, engineering director at Airbnb, requested any and all communications related to or concerning the 2020 general election and/or any future Wisconsin election, as well as various documents and records. The subpoena did not indicate why the information was requested.
During the 2020 election, Steinberg worked for US Digital Response, which was a partner with the Center for Technology and Civic Life. CTCL, funded largely by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, provided grants to some 200 Wisconsin communities to help cover costs of putting on the election during the pandemic. The bulk of that money, about $8.8 million, went to Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine. Those funds have been a focus of Gableman’s probe.
Neither subpoena Spreitzer posted indicated where James, McCrum or Steinberg live. The versions that Spreitzer posted also weren’t signed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, a needed step before they could be served.
Spreitzer, a member of the Assembly Campaigns and Elections committee, asked Gableman last week if the justice would share copies of the dozens of subpoenas he issued as part of the probe. Gableman said he would and turned them over this week.
In an email to Spreitzer Tuesday, Gableman aide Zakory Niemierowicz wrote the subpoenas included the first round issued in early October and a second batch from late December. The records included in-state subpoenas that were served along with out-of-state ones that weren’t. In the email, Niemierowicz twice misspelled Vos’ name as “Voss.”
Spreitzer said the volume of subpoenas issued were either a fishing expedition or a sign the effort has lacked focus.
“The whole thing seems pretty unfocused. That’s been true of the overall investigation,” Spreitzer said.
Gableman’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gableman has subpoenaed a series of state and local officials, as well as voting equipment companies Dominion and Election Systems & Software, both based in Nebraska. ES&S told Gableman earlier this year it wouldn’t comply with the subpoena, calling it a “quintessential fishing expedition.”
Some of the targets — including Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe — have challenged Gableman’s attempt to compel them to provide depositions at a private office in Brookfield rather than before an Assembly committee in public.
And Gableman’s office withdrew its subpoena of Voces de la Frontera after the immigrant rights group challenged it as a violation of the group’s First Amendment rights, among other things.
The targets of subpoenas Spreitzer posted include:
*David Henke, City of Milwaukee chief information officer
*Sarah Edgerton, City of Madison chief information officer
*Dan Schmiedicke, City of Madison finance director
*John Morrissey, Kenosha city administrator
*Amber McReynolds, the National Vote at Home Institute
*Spencer Coggs, City of Milwaukee treasurer
The above subpoenas were not signed in the shared PDFs.
See the subpoenas here.