American Oversight Settles Lawsuit Over Records from Secret Wisconsin Impeachment Panel

On Friday, American Oversight reached a settlement agreement in its lawsuit against Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos concerning records from a panel of former state Supreme Court justices, whom Vos had convened last year for advice on the potential impeachment of a current justice.

American Oversight first sued the panel in September 2023, when it remained shrouded in secrecy. At that time, Vos had said he was consulting former justices about impeaching recently elected Justice Janet Protasiewicz unless she recused herself from a redistricting-related case. 

The lawsuit — which alleged that any panel meetings that had occurred had been in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law and was later amended to include claims under the Public Records Law — shed important light on Vos’ impeachment efforts, which ultimately went nowhere.

At the time of the lawsuit’s filing, the only known member of the panel was former Justice David T. Prosser, with court filings later revealing the membership of former Justices Jon Wilcox and Patience Roggensack. The next month, Prosser released records to American Oversight showing that he had advised Vos against pursuing impeachment. After we published those records, Wilcox told the Associated Press that he also recommended against impeachment.

Roggensack’s lawyer affirmed during a December hearing that Roggensack had turned over all requested public records related to the panel. Those records did not show her offering impeachment advice to Vos.

In his earlier dismissal of the open meetings claims because of a statutory 20-day period for the district attorney to act, Judge Frank Remington of the Dane County Circuit Court found that, based on the allegations outlined in American Oversight’s complaint, the panel would have “plainly violated the open meetings law.

In advance of last week’s settlement, Vos’ office had produced more than 20,000 pages of documents in response to American Oversight’s request.

Read more about our work in Wisconsin here.