A Dane County Circuit Court judge today ordered Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his aide, Steve Fawcett, to answer questions under oath from American Oversight regarding the failure to release public records related to the Assembly’s ongoing partisan investigation of the 2020 election.
At a hearing on Tuesday afternoon, Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn said that she would order the depositions of Vos and Fawcett, stating: “The citizens of Wisconsin deserve the truth.” The depositions are scheduled to take place on Jan. 12.
American Oversight has been seeking the public release of records relating to the Wisconsin Assembly’s partisan investigation of the 2020 election, such as documents detailing the management of the investigation and of the contractors hired by Vos, the scope and conduct of the investigation, and Vos’s communications with staff and external parties. The watchdog group submitted multiple requests to Vos under Wisconsin’s open records law and ultimately filed suit in mid-October after the speaker failed to respond as required by law.
American Oversight is represented by Christa Westerberg of Pines Bach LLP.
While Vos and the Assembly have released some records in response to requests submitted by American Oversight — including documents revealing that taxpayers funded lead investigator Michael Gableman’s trip to visit the discredited election review conducted by the Arizona Senate — many other documents have not been released.
The watchdog group is seeking to ask Vos and Fawcett questions under oath to determine whether they have produced all responsive records as required by Wisconsin law, whether their searches for records have been adequate, and whether any documents that should have been retained were deleted, among other topics.
“As the judge said, this is about the truth,” said Melanie Sloan, senior adviser at American Oversight. “From the start, Speaker Vos has gone to great lengths to conceal the details of his taxpayer-funded investigation while continuing to spread baseless conspiracies about the 2020 election. His failure to turn over documents in response to valid open records requests is part of the pattern. As the judge recognized, the public is entitled to learn whether documents have been destroyed or withheld. We look forward to hearing Speaker Vos’s explanations under oath.”
American Oversight has now filed three lawsuits seeking answers about the conduct of the Assembly’s election investigation. More information about those lawsuits, the outstanding open records requests, and the documents already uncovered can be found here. American Oversight’s lawsuit against Vos is available here.
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