American Oversight Obtains Previously Deleted Records from Wisconsin Election Investigation

On Wednesday, the office of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos released more than 20,000 pages of documents in response to American Oversight’s litigation for public records related to the Assembly’s ongoing partisan investigation of the 2020 election.

The records, which had been deleted by Vos’ office prior to their recovery and release, include communications with prominent supporters of the stolen-election lie, as well as records related to contract extensions for Michael Gableman, the conservative attorney leading the Assembly’s probe. Because of the large size of the document production, American Oversight is still processing and reviewing the records. We have published the first processed set of documents here, and will update this page with the full set of records as available.

Emails with Big Lie Proponents

The documents include an email to Vos from Trump-allied lawyer Victoria Toensing, sent in early June 2021, less than two weeks after Vos announced that he would be hiring investigators to conduct an election review. Toensing, a longtime associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, had worked with Giuliani to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine and later assisted in the former president’s legal efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

“I am a Washington DC lawyer who worked with Rudy et al after November election,” Toensing wrote to Vos on June 7, 2021, asking to schedule a call with Vos regarding “an issue with … your revisions to state election law.” The records do not contain a response from Vos.

The records also include a Nov. 16 email exchange between Vos and Harry Wait, the head of a conservative Wisconsin group called Honest Open Transparent Government with the subject line “2020 election investigations.” Records previously uncovered by American Oversight revealed that Wait was involved in the investigation; his brother, Gary Wait, was employed by the investigation in September and October.

Michael Gableman’s Contract

Vos announced the hiring of Gableman, who had previously claimed the election had been stolen, later that month. Gableman, who was receiving a taxpayer-funded salary of $11,000 a month, was originally supposed to complete his work that fall. But the investigation was later extended into 2022, and recent reports indicate it is expected to continue through July. 

Previously, American Oversight obtained expense records from the late summer and fall of 2021 detailing Gableman’s travel reimbursements and other employee salaries, and last month obtained a copy of Gableman’s second amended contract extending his work through April.

The records released this week indicate that in late August 2021, Nick Boerke, a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association, played a role in drafting the first amendment to Gableman’s contract agreement. An Aug. 25 email from Boerke to Gableman and Vos attorney Steve Fawcett is titled “DRAFT – Amendment to IC Agreement” (likely for “independent contractor”) along with an attached amendment. 

“Call me to discuss,” Boerke wrote, “or call to let me know if this is acceptable and I can send an executed signature page.”

In late January, Fawcett emailed Gableman regarding a “Contract Addendum.” The proposed changes, as well as an email sent a week later by Gableman regarding the “proposed second amendment contract,” indicates that Vos’ office had planned to decrease Gableman’s salary to $5,500 a month after March, but this decrease does not appear to have been included in the final second amendment American Oversight previously obtained.

The full set of documents will be made available here following American Oversight’s completed processing and review.