On Tuesday, a Wisconsin court ordered Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel to produce records related to the ongoing partisan investigation of the 2020 election or show cause for why they cannot or will not do so.
American Oversight had filed a lawsuit for the records the day before in the Dane County Circuit Court. The lawsuit is the third American Oversight has filed against Vos and the Assembly, and seeks the release of communications, contractual documents, and work products related to the investigation being conducted by attorney Michael Gableman, who heads the Office of Special Counsel.
In Tuesday’s order, Judge Frank D. Remington wrote that the Assembly, Vos, and the Office of Special Counsel appeared to have “unjustifiably withheld and refused to release the records,” which had been requested by American Oversight under the state’s public records law in September and October, and set a hearing for Jan. 21, 2022.
On Oct. 8, American Oversight filed its first lawsuit against Vos and the Assembly for documents held by the contractors hired to conduct the inquiry, including Gableman. American Oversight filed a second lawsuit on Oct. 18 against Vos, identifying him as the sole defendant for his failure to release other documents in his custody.
In court, attorneys for Vos and the Assembly argued that the documents belonged to a separate entity, the Office of Special Counsel. But that office was not created until the end of August, after American Oversight submitted its records requests, and the court ordered Vos and the Assembly to release contractors’ documents created before Aug. 30. Earlier this month, American Oversight asked the court to hold Vos and the Assembly in contempt for failing to comply with the court’s order, with a hearing scheduled for Dec. 30. Monday’s lawsuit specifically names the Office of Special Counsel as a defendant and seeks records in custody of the office and the contractors who are staffing the office.
American Oversight has previously uncovered records that revealed emails sent to Gableman by prominent election-denier Mike Lindell following Gableman’s attendance at Lindell’s August “cyber symposium” on voter fraud in South Dakota. Records we obtained also indicated that taxpayers footed the bill for Gableman’s South Dakota trip, as well as for his and other staff members’ trip that same month to visit the Arizona Senate’s bogus “audit” of Maricopa County’s 2020 election.
Other documents showed Gableman has been working closely with partisan activists and is subleasing office space to a law firm and a conservative legal group that were involved in failed legal efforts to overturn election results. Last week, Vos said that Gableman’s investigation would extend into the new year and cost taxpayers more than the $676,000 already authorized.
Part of Investigation: