On Monday, American Oversight sued Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for failing to release records related to the Assembly’s baseless efforts to investigate the 2020 general election.
This is the second lawsuit filed by American Oversight for records about the Assembly’s partisan election inquiry. The first, filed on Oct. 8 against Vos and the Assembly, seeks documents held by the contractors hired to complete the investigation. Monday’s complaint identifies Vos as the sole defendant for his failure to release other documents in his custody.
Vos announced a new review of Wisconsin’s general election in the spring, joining a growing list of states pursuing “investigations” in an effort to perpetuate the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Despite a clear legal standard and the significant public interest in the inquiry, Wisconsin lawmakers have fought to shield the investigation from public scrutiny.
American Oversight submitted requests for documents with the potential to shed light on the intent and conduct of the investigation. While Vos and the Assembly have released a limited number of documents, they have failed to adequately comply with Wisconsin’s open records law — which presumes “complete public access” and requires state officials to produce responsive documents “as soon as practicable and without delay.”
Within hours of American Oversight having filed its first lawsuit earlier this month for contractor records, the Dane County Circuit Court ordered the Wisconsin Assembly and Vos to immediately release documents or to appear at a Nov. 5 hearing to show cause for why they have failed to do so.
“Speaker Vos has done everything in his power to protect this investigation from scrutiny,” said Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director. “Finger-pointing, name-calling, and indulging conspiracy theorists are all perfectly legal — but ignoring the open records statute is not. It’s time for Speaker Vos to follow the law and make these documents available to the public.”
Monday’s lawsuit, in which American Oversight is represented by Pines Bach LLP, alleges that Vos has engaged in a months-long pattern of delay, a failure to engage with our inquiries, and minimal disclosure to avoid compliance with the law.
The specific records sought by today’s lawsuit include:
These efforts to keep the public in the dark, and troubling reports about the partisan affiliations and intentions of the investigators, raise serious concerns about the investigation’s purpose and integrity. Wisconsin is one of several states in which American Oversight is investigating partisan election reviews that appear to be intended to undermine the results of the 2020 election and confidence in American democracy.
Part of Investigation: