Judge says she does not understand how Vos could have so few records regarding Wisconsin’s election review


MADISON – A judge on Thursday expressed confusion that Assembly President Robin Vos had handed over so few documents about a Republican review of the 2020 election.

The Liberal group American Oversight is asking Dane County Circuit Court Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn to hold Vos in contempt of court for failing to present all documents in response to requests it has filed under state law on open records.

Bailey-Rihn said Thursday she would not hold anyone in contempt of court for now because she does not know how thoroughly Vos and his aides searched for documents they are required to publish.

She said she did not understand how Vos could have found so few documents for a review of the election that has lasted months, has a taxpayer-funded budget of $ 676,000 and has included travel to Arizona. The election review is being conducted by former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.

“Does he have no travel plan, and did he have no work product for what he was doing out in Arizona while he was there?” she asked.

“It seems strange to me that this could last for three months (from August) but I think one if not more lawyers are working on this and they did nothing. They delivered nothing? They do not even have a copy. of receipt showing that they have paid for their airline tickets? “

Bailey-Rihn scheduled a hearing on January 24 where she can hear from Vos or his aides about what he did to try to identify items related to the election review.

If she finds that Vos did not fulfill her duties, she could find the Rochester Republican in contempt of court. American Oversight asks her to force him to pay $ 2,000 a day until he submits all the records at stake in the case.

The lawsuit is one of three American Oversight has filed to try to produce records of the election survey.

Bailey-Rihn in November first ordered Vos to release records. American Oversight received a bit from Vos and brought his request for contempt.

Vos ‘attorney Ronald Stadler said Vos’ team searched Vos and Gableman’s records and handed over anything they found that was responsive to American Oversight’s requests.

U.S. Attorney General Christa Westerberg questioned this allegation, noting that in response to a separate request for records, Gableman had provided an email that Vos should also have produced. Stadler said he did not know why that email had not been found by Vos’ team.

Gableman looks at a choice that has already been scrutinized through retellings, lawsuits, and independent reviews. Courts have upheld Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin.

Some records of the Republican election review have already been released, including those showing that Gableman has met with and hired election conspiracy theorists as part of his review.

These records also revealed taxpayers bankrolled Gableman’s trip to South Dakota and Arizona. Vos said this summer that taxpayers should not pay these costs. In a recent interview, he said he would probably try to recover the funds.

American Oversight’s lawsuit is a sideline to a broader legal battle over Gableman’s work.

Democratic Justice Minister Josh Kaul in October defendant Gableman to try to block subpoenas he issued to the two-part state election commission. A decision in that case is expected in January.

In November, Gableman filed his own lawsuit trying to imprison the mayors of Madison and Green Bay because he claims they did not cooperate with him. It disputes the mayors. A judge in Waukesha County will consider the dispute in January.

Gableman and Green Bay’s attorney, Jeffrey Mandell, have threatened to seek professional sanctions against each other in that case.

Several hearings in the series of cases are scheduled for January, including one on Tuesday that could determine whether Vos and his attorney, Steve Fawcett, need to sit for deposits with American Oversight’s legal team.

Nass is looking for new election rules

Also on Thursday, GOP Senator Steve Nass of Whitewater announced that he was seeking to demand that the Electoral Commission quickly adopt rules regarding absentee ballots.

Polling stations were widely used in Wisconsin last year because of opposition from some Republicans.

State law does not say anything about ballot papers. Election officials have said local governments are free to use them, while some Republicans have claimed they are not allowed.

Thaw lawsuits over the legality of drop-boxes is pending.

The Commission began the lengthy process of writing formal ballot box rules in December, but Nass wants it to adopt emergency rules within 30 days.

If the commission were to do so, Republicans in control of the Legislature could block them without leaving any nationwide policy on drop-boxes.

Nass is also seeking emergency rules for when clerks can fill in missing addresses for witnesses on absent ballot papers. Since 2016, the Commission has allowed clerks to fill in this information if they have it.

Nass said he has the support of Senate Republicans for his efforts and urges Assembly Republicans to side with him.

More: The identity of Michael Gableman’s ‘Carol M.’ is no longer a mystery, but the names of others who help him remain secret

More: Gableman pays $ 20,500 a month to a staff of five for the GOP election review, but will not tell taxpayers who they are

More: Former Supreme Court Justice Gableman, leader of the Republican election review in Wisconsin, says he does not understand how elections work

Contact Patrick Marley at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.

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This article originally appeared on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: The judge questions why Vos has reversed few registrations of election review





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