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277 views • August 15, 2022

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Fires 2020 Election Investigator

NTD News
NTD News
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has fired Michael Gableman more than a year after Vos hired the former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice to investigate the 2020 election amid allegations of fraud and irregularities. In a statement on Aug. 12, Vos, a Republican, said he is seeking to close the Office of Special Counsel, which had been created in July 2021. The election investigation, which documented numerous instances of misconduct during the 2020 election, has cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million, not including any attorney fees. "After having many members of our caucus reach out to me over the past several days, it is beyond clear to me that we only have one choice in this matter, and that's to close the Office of Special Counsel," Vos said. "For those like me who remain concerned about ensuring we have election integrity, we have a simple solution; to focus on our efforts to elect a Republican governor in November so we can pass the bills that were vetoed by Governor Evers." Vos's office later released Gableman's termination letter (pdf), in which Gableman was told "not to engage in any further activities with regards to the Office of Special Counsel or as a representative of the Wisconsin State Assembly," and to return "any and all records" to the Wisconsin Assembly chief clerk's office. "This ends your employment by and association with the Wisconsin State Assembly," Vos wrote. The firing comes just three days after Vos narrowly survived a primary election challenge from an opponent endorsed by Gableman as well as former President Donald Trump for his Republican-leaning State Assembly District 63 seat. Vos won the primary by 260 votes, likely securing his reelection. Soon after he won, Vos criticized Gableman, calling him "an embarrassment to the state." In a robocall for Vos's opponent, Adam Steen, a day before the Aug. 9 primary election, Gableman alleged that Vos "never wanted a real investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin." "Everything that my office and I have been able to do to expose all the corruption that took place has been in spite of Robin and not because of him," Gableman added. Biden, a Democrat, was declared the winner of Wisconsin’s popular vote by 0.6 percent, or nearly 21,000 votes. Democrats and local media outlets in Wisconsin have often criticized Gableman’s review of the election, claiming it to be "partisan." Wisconsin Democrats said in a statement on Aug. 12 that Vos should resign from office for having backed a "sham" investigation "all at taxpayer expense." Election Investigation Paused Since May Vos in May had put on hold Gableman's investigation, pending resolution or settlement of at least five ongoing lawsuits related to the investigation. Three lawsuits were related to Gableman's capacity as an investigator to compel testimony from local officials and elections officials in the state after he filed subpoenas against the head of the Wisconsin Elections Commission and the mayors of several major cities. Another two lawsuits were open records cases brought and won by American Oversight, a left-leaning judicial activist group that appears to exclusively target Trump and Republican interests. Both Gableman and Vos were held in contempt at at various points during the lawsuits for not having turned over documents that were requested as a part of the investigation. Judges in the two lawsuits recently awarded a combined $261,000 in legal fees to American Oversight, to be paid for by taxpayers. Gableman’s attorney, James Bopp, told the Wisconsin Examiner in March that the release of documents sought in the lawsuits must be blocked so as to not tip off any individuals who were being investigated, including election officials. Vos said in May that Gableman’s salary of $11,000 a month would be cut in half during the investigation's pause. Gableman's contract had been renewed in March, April, and May, with the latest contract having no expiration date but had stated that either Vos or Gableman could terminate the agreement via written notice. In an interim report rele
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