A lawsuit from Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC seeks to remove three top Republicans from office for allegedly aiding and abetting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The targets are: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and Reps. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, and Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.
The complaint was filed yesterday by 10 Wisconsinites from five congressional districts, including two in Fitzgerald’s and five in Tiffany’s.
The lawsuit aims to remove the elected officials from office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — the Disqualification Clause — which prohibits public officials from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States or “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
The Disqualification Clause was originally created after the Civil War to keep officials who had served the Confederacy from holding public office.
Super PAC founder Kirk Bangstad said the group repeatedly asked AG Josh Kaul to press charges against the delegates under the 14th Amendment, but Kaul did not take action. Bangstad suggested Kaul had not filed charges because he doesn’t want to upset voters.
“Attorney General Josh Kaul is a politician — he knows that we’re a very purple state. I think he doesn’t want to anger voters, and I think that’s the reason he hasn’t brought this himself,” Bangstad said.
Bangstad, owner of Minocqua Brewing Company, ran for the state’s 34th Assembly district against Rep. Rob Swearingen, R-Rhinelander, in 2020.
Bangstad said although Dems might fear losing elections, at least they aren’t trying to subvert the law.
Kaul spokeswoman Gillian Drummond told WisPolitics.com the Department of Justice doesn’t typically comment on current or potential investigations, except in unique public safety circumstances.
“As the AG has said, it’s critical that the federal government fully investigates and prosecutes any unlawful actions in furtherance of any seditious conspiracy,” Drummond said.
The complaint alleges that Capitol insurrectionists were “egged on relentlessly” by the delegates’ “flagrant lies and distortions” about the election. The complaint also targets Fitzgerald for procuring a room at the state Capitol for 10 Republicans allegedly to meet and cast alternative electoral votes for the state post-election.
“It’s weird for a brewery to be pushing things in a political sense, but that’s where we are because we feel like there’s not enough intestinal fortitude among some of our higher-up legislators or Justice Department officials to be doing what we’re doing right now,” Bangstad said.
Johnson called the lawsuit “total nonsense.”
“Democrats have ignored the Summer 2020 riots and relentlessly used January 6th as a political cudgel,” he said. “Now they’ve used January 6th to file a frivolous lawsuit against me similar to the one dismissed by a court last week.”
A spokesperson for Tiffany a declined to comment on the lawsuit at this time. Fitzgerald did not immediately respond to requests for comment.