Wisconsin’s Baseless Investigation of the 2020 Election

Following the 2020 election, Wisconsin joined a growing list of states where allies of former President Trump launched bogus “investigations” as part of an effort to cast doubt on the results and perpetuate the Big Lie that the election was somehow stolen. American Oversight's fight for the release of public records related to the investigation has shed light on the partisan and election-undermining origins of the taxpayer-funded operation.

Background

On May 26, 2021, more than six months after the 2020 presidential election, Wisconsin’s top Republican lawmaker announced that he would be hiring investigators to conduct a new review of the election results.

The results of the 2020 presidential election are not in doubt and there have been no credible allegations of fraud or misconduct that could have affected the outcome in any state. Dozens of lawsuits filed by Trump and his supporters failed to show evidence of widespread fraud and have been rejected by judges across the country. But the announcement by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos made Wisconsin yet another state in which Trump allies undertook baseless reviews of the 2020 election results.

In June 2021, one day after facing criticism from former President Trump for not having launched an Arizona-style “audit” of Wisconsin’s election results, Vos announced that he had appointed Michael Gableman, a conservative attorney and former state Supreme Court justice who the previous November had called the election stolen, to lead the “investigation.” Gableman’s first request, directed to county clerks, was an email sent from a personal Gmail account, which landed in some spam folders and raised security concerns. In December, Vos announced that Gableman’s investigation would extend past its original end date into 2022 and could require additional funding beyond the $676,000 already allocated.

On March 1, 2022, Gableman released a “second interim investigative report” of findings from the probe. The report was presented before the Assembly’s elections committee and included legally impossible recommendations to retroactively “decertify” the state’s 2020 electoral votes. The report also called for the elimination of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Records obtained by American Oversight revealed that just two weeks later, Gableman had privately sent a memo to Vos advising against pursuing decertification.

But calls among conservative election deniers — including by candidates for elected office — to undue the results of the election continued, and were a major feature of the 2022 primary. Vos remained opposed to the push for decertification, leading to a growing rift between him and Gableman into that August, when Vos narrowly defeated a primary challenger whom Gableman had endorsed. On the Friday after the primary election, Vos fired Gableman, telling the Associated Press that it was “beyond clear to me that we only have one choice in this matter, and that’s to close the Office of Special Counsel.”

American Oversight’s Investigation

American Oversight filed several lawsuits to compel the release of records that could shine a light on Gableman’s work. On Oct. 8, the same day American Oversight filed its first lawsuit against the Assembly and Vos for failing to release records held by investigation contractors, the court ordered the Assembly and Vos to “immediately” release the documents or show cause for withholding them. Later that month, American Oversight filed a second lawsuit, this one against Vos for his failure to release other documents in his custody, and in December filed a third lawsuit naming Gableman’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) as a defendant, along with Vos and the Assembly.

American Oversight’s investigation has resulted in the release of thousands of pages of public records related to efforts to investigate the 2020 election in Wisconsin. In November, we obtained documents that revealed taxpayers had paid for Gableman and investigators to visit the Arizona Senate’s “audit” in August 2021, leading a spokesperson for Vos to tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Assembly would attempt to recover the money.

Expense records American Oversight uncovered through litigation show that Wisconsin taxpayers also footed the bill for Gableman’s hotels on his August trip to South Dakota to attend a “cyber symposium” on election fraud hosted by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell. In December, we obtained communication records that indicate Gableman has been in contact with Lindell throughout the review.

We have also obtained records that showed the growth of Gableman’s investigation over several months. In December 2021, the investigation spent more than $63,510 and employed 11 people, up from $28,250 and five employees in September 2021. Documents obtained in March 2022 showed Gableman’s investigation had already spent at least $519,000 of its $676,000 budget. Days before, Gableman had told the Assembly’s elections committee that he had about $300,000 of that budget remaining.

Other records include communications Gableman had with Erick Kaardal, a conservative lawyer who in 2020 sued Vice President Mike Pence in an attempt to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s win. Gableman is also subleasing office space to Kaardal’s law firm as well as to the conservative Thomas More Society, both of which were involved in challenges to Wisconsin election administration. 

Through our litigation, we also learned that OSC was routinely deleting documents it deemed “not of use to the investigation.” In April, the judge in our third lawsuit ordered OSC not to delete or destroy any record potentially responsive to our requests, and the following month, the judge in our first lawsuit ordered the Wisconsin Assembly and Vos not to destroy documents from the early stages of the investigation. In late June, American Oversight, represented by Democracy Forward and Pines Bach LLP, sued OSC, seeking an emergency order to stop the office from destroying any records in violation of the state’s public records retention law.

American Oversight is also looking into the efforts of state Rep. Janel Brandtjen — who chairs the Assembly’s Committee on Campaigns and Elections and falsely claimed that Trump won Wisconsin in 2020 — to initiate an Arizona-style review of Wisconsin’s elections. In January, we obtained records from Brandtjen’s office that show she has also been in touch with Kaardal about alleged insecurities in the state’s voting system. Additional documents showed Kaardal’s continued communications with Brandtjen through January 2022.

Brandtjen has also voiced her desire to hire an outside firm to review every voter registration in the state, which involved a request for information that Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) Chair Ann Jacobs said included “millions of data points”. Records obtained by American Oversight show that state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo’s office had asked the state’s Legislative Reference Bureau about the legal ability to remove WEC members even before the 2020 election, and in November 2021 asked about removing the WEC’s nonpartisan administrator.

In addition to perpetuating the Big Lie, one of the main objectives of such partisan election investigations is to create a pretext for enacting new restrictions on voting rights. The Journal Sentinel reported that Vos intended to use the results of his investigation to take legislative action, and Republican lawmakers in more than three dozen states have cited false claims of voter fraud as justification for pushing anti-voting measures.

Litigation

American Oversight v. Wisconsin State Assembly

In American Oversight’s first lawsuit against the Wisconsin Assembly, the clerk of the Assembly, and Speaker Vos, we are seeking the release of records, including communications and contractor documents, related to the investigation.

  • On Oct. 8, 2021, American Oversight sued the Wisconsin Assembly and Speaker Robin Vos for failing to release requested public records related to the Assembly-ordered investigation.
  • Just hours after the lawsuit was filed, the Dane County Circuit Court ordered Vos and the Assembly to produce the requested records within 30 days or to show cause for failing to do so.
  • In court hearings, Vos and the Assembly argued that they should not be required to produce records held by the Assembly’s recently created Office of Special Counsel. 
  • On Nov. 5, the court once again ordered Vos and the Assembly to release the records and set a deadline of 10 days. 
  • In December, American Oversight filed a motion asking the court to hold Vos and the Wisconsin Assembly in contempt for failing to comply with court orders.
  • On March 30, 2022, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn issued a ruling holding Vos and the Wisconsin Assembly in contempt of court for their continuing failure to turn over public records. 

American Oversight v. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos

In the second lawsuit, filed by American Oversight on Oct. 19, 2021, we are seeking the release of records related to the election inquiry that are in the custody of Speaker Vos, including documents detailing the investigation’s management as well as Vos’ related communications.

  • On Jan. 4, 2022, the Dane County Circuit Court ordered Vos and his aide, Steve Fawcett, to sit for depositions regarding their failure to produce public documents. Vos filed a motion to stay the ruling with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and petitioned the state’s Supreme Court. Both efforts to avoid deposition were rejected, and in January and February American Oversight deposed Vos and Fawcett.
  • On March 23, Judge Bailey-Rihn set a “drop dead date” of April 7 for Vos to produce requested public records or to provide expert testimony explaining why deleted records cannot be recovered.
  • On April 8, two days after releasing more than 20,000 pages of previously deleted records, Vos’ attorneys filed a motion asking the court to keep those records confidential. American Oversight filed an opposing brief on April 12.

American Oversight v. Wisconsin Assembly Office of Special Counsel and the Wisconsin State Assembly

In American Oversight’s third lawsuit, filed Dec. 21, 2021, we are seeking the release of records and communications held by the Wisconsin Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC).

  • On Dec. 22, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank D. Remington ordered Vos and the OSC to “immediately” release the records or show cause for continuing to withhold them at a hearing on Jan. 21.
  • On Jan. 21, Judge Remington ordered Gableman to turn over sealed copies of the requested records to the court within 10 days for private review.
  • On March 8, Judge Remington ordered the immediate release of over 700 pages of public records related to the OSC’s investigation.
  • On April 8, OSC released additional records to American Oversight, claiming they had been “inadvertently” left out of earlier productions. In a letter, OSC’s counsel also admitted that OSC “routinely deletes” records in its custody, which prompted American Oversight to file a motion asking the court to bar OSC from deleting records on April 20. The next day, Judge Remington ordered OSC to stop deleting records that could be responsive to our public records requests.
  • On June 10, following a hearing in which Michael Gableman refused to answer questions, Judge Remington held OSC in contempt for failing to comply with the court order to turn over public records. On June 15, Remington issued the written decision finding OSC in contempt and outlining requirements for Gableman to prove that OSC has adequately searched for and produced records responsive to requests.

American Oversight v. Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel

On June 28, 2022, American Oversight filed suit against the Office of Special Counsel seeking an emergency order to stop the election investigators’ destruction of public records.

Updates

Statement on the Firing of Michael Gableman

August 12, 2022
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos fired Michael Gableman, the investigator who had been overseeing the Assembly’s partisan inquiry into the state’s 2020 presidential election.

Internal Memo Obtained by American Oversight Reveals that Michael Gableman Privately Opposed ‘Decertifying’ Wisconsin’s 2020 Election

August 2, 2022
Michael Gableman, the lawyer leading the Wisconsin Assembly’s review of the 2020 election, privately sent a memo to Assembly Speaker Vos in which he advised against decertifying the election, just weeks after he publicly advocated for it.

Judge in American Oversight Lawsuit Says Wisconsin Assembly’s Election Investigation Has Found ‘Absolutely No Evidence’ of Fraud

July 28, 2022
On Thursday, a Wisconsin judge said that American Oversight’s litigation for records from the state’s partisan election investigation has revealed that investigation has shown “absolutely no evidence of election fraud.”

News Roundup: 187 Minutes

July 22, 2022
Thursday’s hearing of the Jan. 6 committee focused on perhaps the biggest question about that afternoon: what Trump was doing while the U.S. Capitol was under attack by his supporters.

Court Rules Vos Violated Public Records Law, Orders Response to American Oversight’s Requests Within 20 Days

July 15, 2022
The judge issued a decision holding that Vos “not only untimely delayed responses to record requests, but that his responses have also failed to include countless records, either willfully or because of neglectful office-wide practices which might have caused the loss of records.”

News Roundup: Wisconsin Court Order, Trump Accountability, and State Anti-Immigration Measures

July 8, 2022
Amid another week of somber headlines, American Oversight achieved a victory for accountability in the world of bogus election reviews.

Wisconsin Court Bars Office of Special Counsel from Deleting Records

July 5, 2022
The Office of Special Counsel, which has been leading the Wisconsin Assembly’s review of the state’s 2020 election for nearly a year, was issued a temporary restraining order banning it from deleting public records in its custody.

News Roundup: January 6 Hearing, Lawsuits in Wisconsin and Texas, and the Supreme Court

July 1, 2022
It was another week of blockbuster Jan. 6 testimony and earth-shattering Supreme Court decisions.

New Lawsuit Filed to Stop Wisconsin Election Investigators’ Destruction of Public Records

June 28, 2022
American Oversight, represented by Democracy Forward and Pines Bach LLP, seeks an emergency order to block the Office of Special Counsel’s deletion of public documents.

Wisconsin Assembly’s Partisan Election Investigation Frequently Destroyed Public Records

June 23, 2022
During a hearing in our lawsuit for public records from the investigation, Michael Gableman — the lawyer heading the inquiry — provided testimony indicating that records had been frequently destroyed.

News Roundup: Contempt of Court, Subversion of Democracy

June 17, 2022
As the select committee examined Trump’s stolen election lies, a court imposed sanctions on the Wisconsin Assembly’s ongoing partisan inquiry into the 2020 election.

Judge Issues Written Decision Holding Wisconsin Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel in Contempt for Failing to Release Public Records

June 15, 2022
Following a tense hearing last week, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington ordered OSC to submit to the court proof that it has complied with a previous court order to release records from its partisan election investigation.

News Roundup: January 6 Hearing, Wisconsin Assembly’s OSC Held in Contempt, and More Cyber Ninjas Documents

June 10, 2022
Thursday night was the first of several public hearings of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6.

Wisconsin Judge Holds Office of Special Counsel in Contempt for Failure to Comply with Court Order

June 10, 2022
Attorney Michael Gableman, who heads the office overseeing the partisan investigation of Wisconsin’s 2020 election, angrily refused to answer any questions.

Michael Gableman to Testify at Friday Hearing in American Oversight’s Lawsuit for Election Investigation Records

June 8, 2022
On Wednesday, a Wisconsin judge denied the attempt by Michael Gableman, the attorney overseeing the Wisconsin Assembly’s partisan election investigation, to avoid appearing at a hearing on Friday, June 10.

News Roundup: Gone Rogue

May 20, 2022
As false claims about election fraud continue to reverberate around the country, a Wisconsin judge raised concerns that the state’s election inquiry is out of control.

Wisconsin Assembly, Speaker given ‘one last crack’ at purging contempt in public records case

May 19, 2022
During a hearing on Thursday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ordered the Wisconsin Assembly and Speaker Robin Vos to produce an affidavit from Michael Gableman, who is leading the probe, by June 16 in order to avoid contempt penalties.

Vos Reverses Pledge to Recoup Taxpayer Money That Paid for Gableman’s Trips to Arizona ‘Audit’ and Lindell ‘Symposium’

May 12, 2022
News about the reversal comes as Gableman’s contract has been once again extended, this time indefinitely.

News Roundup: The Frightening Road Ahead

May 6, 2022
Americans are reeling from the revelation of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Wisconsin Judge Orders State Assembly, Speaker Vos Not to Delete Records from Election Investigation

May 4, 2022
“I’m frankly amazed that I have to say don’t destroy records that are subject to an open records request or order that to occur,” the judge said on Wednesday.

Records from Wisconsin Assembly Speaker’s Office Reveal Early Spring Negotiations over Gableman’s Pay and Second Contract Extension

April 29, 2022
The documents include language from a draft motion that would have extended Gableman’s partisan election investigation through the end of August instead of April. This week, the inquiry was extended yet again.

News Roundup: Let the Records Show

April 29, 2022
Yet another extension to Gableman’s investigation, a ruling in Arizona on Cyber Ninjas “audit” records, and the latest on the Jan. 6 investigation.

News Roundup: Victory in Wisconsin

April 22, 2022
A Wisconsin court has ordered the state Assembly’s election investigation to stop deleting records. Meanwhile, new details have emerged about congressional leaders’ initial response to the Jan. 6 attack.

Judge Orders Wisconsin Assembly Election Investigation to Stop Deleting Records

April 21, 2022
A Dane County Circuit Court judge ordered the Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel, which is overseeing the partisan investigation of the 2020 election, “not to delete or destroy any record” that could be responsive to American Oversight’s public records requests.

Documents Posted on Wisconsin Assembly Election Review’s Website Further Expose Inquiry’s Partisan Leanings

April 21, 2022
Records posted to the investigation’s website include certain contract and payment information, as well as indications of the investigation’s overt partisanship.

American Oversight Asks Court to Force Wisconsin Election Investigation to End Its ‘Alarming’ Practice of Regularly Deleting Records

April 20, 2022
In a recent letter, the Wisconsin Assembly’s office conducting its partisan election review admitted that it “routinely deletes” public records, maintaining — incorrectly — that it is not subject to the state’s public records retention law.

American Oversight Files Brief in Opposition to Speaker Vos’ Attempt to Block Release of Records

April 15, 2022
On April 12, American Oversight asked the court to deny Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos’ belated motion to keep private more than 20,000 public records that had been released to American Oversight days before.

American Oversight Obtains New Contract Documents from Partisan Wisconsin Election Investigation

April 14, 2022
Last week, the Wisconsin Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) released records — including previously unseen contract agreements — related to the ongoing partisan review of the 2020 election.

American Oversight Obtains Previously Deleted Records from Wisconsin Election Investigation

April 8, 2022
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos released more than 20,000 pages of documents in response to American Oversight’s litigation for records related to the ongoing partisan election investigation.

News Roundup: Ongoing Investigations, Ongoing Lies

April 8, 2022
So long as any purported evidence remains in short supply, so-called “investigations” into election fraud can be sustained on lies and vague assertions.

News Roundup: Vos Held in Contempt in Election Inquiry Lawsuit

April 1, 2022
Efforts to avoid accountability have gone hand in hand with today’s threats to democracy.

Court Finds Wisconsin Assembly, Speaker Vos in Contempt in American Oversight’s Election Inquiry Records Lawsuit

March 30, 2022
The judge ruled that Speaker Robin Vos and the Assembly continue to “willfully violate a court order” and ordered the defendants to pay American Oversight’s legal fees, along with potential additional fines.

News Roundup: The Lies that Undermine

March 25, 2022
The latest news on threats to democracy, from renewed scrutiny on Mark Meadows and Ginni Thomas to the seemingly inexhaustible efforts in various states to keep alive the election-undermining lies.

News Roundup: How Far Is Too Far

March 18, 2022
When it comes to actions and false claims that weaken democracy and undermine faith in elections, there is no safe middle ground.

In the Documents: Wisconsin State Representative’s Contacts with Election-Denying Activists and Lawyers

March 17, 2022
Records uncovered by American Oversight reveal further contacts between state Rep. Janel Brandtjen’s office and conservative lawyer Erick Kaardal, as well as contacts with prominent Big Lie proponents.

News Roundup: ‘Much To-Do About Nothing’

March 11, 2022
This week, the release of more than 700 pages of public records from the Wisconsin election investigation revealed that the probe has done little actual investigating.

Judge Orders Immediate Release of Wisconsin Election Investigation Records

March 8, 2022
American Oversight obtained more than 700 pages of records related to the partisan investigation following a court order.

News Roundup: Legally Impossible, Democratically Dangerous

March 4, 2022
The post-election scramble to dig up any evidence of significant voter fraud has shown us that schemes don’t need to be legally possible, or even ground in reality, to be dangerous.

Key Takeaways from Michael Gableman’s Report on Investigation into Wisconsin’s 2020 Election

March 3, 2022
American Oversight's fight for the release of public records related to the investigation have revealed the biased and election-undermining origins of the taxpayer-funded operation, which after over eight months culminated in a report rife with misleading claims.

Wisconsin Court Orders Release of Election Investigation Records

March 2, 2022
On Wednesday, a Dane County Circuit Court judge found that the Wisconsin Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel, along with the Assembly and Speaker Robin Vos, had violated Wisconsin’s Open Records Law by refusing to release documents related to its ongoing partisan review of the 2020 election results.

Report on Wisconsin’s 2020 Election Investigation Released

March 1, 2022
The election probe, ordered by Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and led by conservative lawyer Michael Gableman, cost taxpayers at least $676,000 over nine months.

News Roundup: Threats to Voting Rights Accelerate

February 25, 2022
Here is this week’s latest news on our investigations into threats to democracy and voting rights, as well as on the pandemic in the U.S.

News Roundup: Exploiting the Big Lie

February 18, 2022
Catch up on the latest news about threats to democracy, voting rights, and the pandemic with this week’s newsletter.

News Roundup: ‘Records Matter’

February 11, 2022
“The Presidential Records Act is critical to our democracy, in which the government is held accountable by the people,” Archivist of the United States David Ferriero said earlier this week. “Records matter.”

News Roundup: There’s a Memo for That

February 4, 2022
In recent weeks, we’ve seen even more clearly how much the focus of the election-overturning efforts was on the Jan. 6 Electoral College certification. Recently unearthed memos support that conclusion.

Legislative Leaders in Arizona, Wisconsin Were Sent Memos Regarding the Ability of State Lawmakers to Alter Selection of Electors Following 2020 Election

February 1, 2022
The memos, obtained by American Oversight, suggest that in November 2020, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos sought legal advice about whether legislators had the power to alter the selection or actions of electors after the election had taken place.

News Roundup: Cyber Ninjas CEO Sits for Deposition, Justice Department Investigating Fake Electors

January 28, 2022
The fake electoral certificates, copies of which were first uncovered by American Oversight last year, have remained a focus of efforts to unravel the full extent of the plot to subvert the 2020 election.

Wisconsin Judge Orders Gableman to Provide Court with Election Investigation Records Within 10 Days

January 21, 2022
On Friday, a Wisconsin judge ordered the attorney running Wisconsin’s partisan investigation of the 2020 election to turn over to the court sealed copies of records related to the inquiry.

News Roundup: Demands for Accountability in Fake-Electors Plot

January 21, 2022
The brazen scheme to subvert the 2020 vote by having pro-Trump electors submit false electoral certificates — which American Oversight obtained through FOIA — has heightened demands for accountability.

In the Documents: Emails from Wisconsin Legislature, Elections Commission Regarding Efforts to Investigate 2020 Election

January 19, 2022
Records obtained by American Oversight include communications about the state’s bipartisan elections commission, which is currently under attack by state Republicans, as well as emails sent to state Rep. Janel Brandtjen by a conservative attorney who tried to overturn Wisconsin’s 2020 election results.

American Oversight Obtains Records Revealing Increases in Wisconsin Election Investigation’s December Expenses

January 18, 2022
From September to December 2021, salary expenditures nearly doubled in Michael Gableman’s partisan election investigation, which has extended into the new year.

News Roundup: A Coordinated Coup Attempt

January 14, 2022
We’ve written a lot about the Big Lie’s evolution — from fear-mongering about voter fraud to the attempts to subvert the 2020 election, to the ongoing partisan election reviews — and the network of activists who have been keeping this anti-democratic movement alive.

Fake Electoral Certificates Obtained by American Oversight Draw Renewed Scrutiny

January 12, 2022
The phony documents were submitted to Congress by Republicans in several states who sought to overturn Biden’s 2020 election victory by casting the state’s electoral votes for Trump instead.

Update: Wisconsin Supreme Court Denies Vos’s Latest Efforts to Avoid Deposition in American Oversight Lawsuit

January 11, 2022
On Monday, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals denied State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’s motion for a stay of his upcoming deposition, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 12.

News Roundup: Fighting for Our Democracy — and Winning

January 6, 2022
Accountability is more important than ever in ensuring our elections remain free and fair, and that our democracy withstands these attacks.

Court Orders Depositions of Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos and Counsel in Lawsuit Seeking Release of Election Investigation Records

January 4, 2022
American Oversight has sued Speaker Robin Vos for failing to release documents related to the Assembly’s partisan investigation of the 2020 election.

News Roundup: What We’ve Learned This Year

December 23, 2021
From the disturbing violence of Jan. 6 to the ongoing efforts to restrict voting and cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election, 2021 has shown us just how fragile our democracy is.

American Oversight Files Third Lawsuit for Wisconsin Election Investigation Records

December 22, 2021
A Wisconsin court ordered Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the Office of Special Counsel to produce records related to the ongoing partisan investigation of the 2020 election or show cause.

News Roundup: The Jan. 6 Committee and Mark Meadows, and the Latest in the Wisconsin Election Investigation

December 10, 2021
The Wisconsin election investigation continues to show its partisan and anti-democratic colors, while former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows takes an accountability-dodging page out of his old boss’s playbook. Here’s the latest news on threats to U.S. democracy — and how American Oversight is fighting to expose them.

Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen’s Communications Regarding Election Investigations

December 9, 2021
Records obtained by American Oversight include a legal memo requested by Brandtjen — who has called for a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 election — regarding the validity of subpoenas issued in attorney Michael Gableman’s partisan election investigation.

Documents from Wisconsin Election Investigation Reveal Contact with Mike Lindell, Other Partisan Activists

December 6, 2021
The emails from conspiracy theorist Lindell were sent to Michael Gableman, the lawyer running the investigation, the same month that Gableman attended Lindell’s “cyber symposium” in South Dakota.

American Oversight Files Motion to Hold Speaker Vos in Contempt for Failure to Comply with Wisconsin Public Records Law

December 3, 2021
On Friday, American Oversight asked the court to hold Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos in contempt of court for failing to comply with the court’s order to release contractors’ records related to the baseless investigation of the 2020 election.

News Roundup: Robin Vos and Michael Gableman’s Partisan Investigation

December 3, 2021
Wisconsin’s partisan election investigation got a dose of public accountability this week.

Five Key Questions About Wisconsin’s Election Investigation

November 30, 2021
There are important questions about this taxpayer-funded investigation that the people of Wisconsin deserve answered.

Expense Records Reveal New Details about Wisconsin’s Partisan Election Investigation

November 24, 2021
The documents obtained by American Oversight include details about travel and reimbursements, as well as information about the investigation’s office space, which includes sublease agreements with conservative lawyers paying much of the total rent.

News Roundup: The Lasting Damage of Partisan Election Reviews

November 19, 2021
A new poll finds that the bogus Arizona “audit” reinforced doubts about the 2020 election. And the partisan investigation in Wisconsin has escalated into calls for a Republican takeover of elections in the state.

News Roundup: January 6, Wisconsin’s Partisan Election Review, and Transparency in Georgia

November 11, 2021
The investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection — and, more specifically, into what Trump was doing when the mob overran the U.S. Capitol — accelerated this week, with new public documents, new subpoenas, and a new court ruling.

Court Orders Release of Wisconsin Election Investigation Records

November 5, 2021
Assembly and Speaker Robin Vos must release within 10 days records created prior to Aug. 27 related to the Assembly’s partisan review of the 2020 election.

News Roundup: The Before, During — and After — of the Jan. 6 Attack

November 4, 2021
The Washington Post’s investigation into the Capitol insurrection, and the latest on partisan election reviews in Arizona, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

News Roundup: Jan. 6 Accountability and Election ‘Audit’ Transparency

October 22, 2021
The Jan. 6 attack isn’t the only consequence of the Big Lie that Trump allies are trying to shield from public scrutiny.

American Oversight Files Second Lawsuit Against Wisconsin Assembly Speaker for Election Investigation Records

October 19, 2021
This is the second lawsuit filed by American Oversight for records about the Assembly’s partisan election inquiry.

News Roundup: Sham Wisconsin Election Investigation Has Rough Couple Weeks

October 15, 2021
The partisan election investigation currently underway in Wisconsin has had a bumpy couple of weeks, thanks to a series of missteps by the attorney leading the review and confusion surrounding recent subpoenas issued to various county and city officials.

Court Orders Wisconsin Assembly to ‘Immediately’ Release Records from Election Investigation or Show Cause

October 8, 2021
In the order, the judge wrote that it appears Vos and the Assembly had “unjustifiably withheld and refused to release the contractor records to which the Petitioner is entitled,”

News Roundup: Congressional Hearing on Arizona ‘Audit’; Lawsuit Against Wisconsin Assembly; and New Report on Trump’s DOJ Pressure Campaign

October 8, 2021
Arizona’s bogus election review continues to have far-reaching, democracy-undermining effects in Texas, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

American Oversight Sues Wisconsin Assembly, Speaker Vos for Election ‘Investigation’ Records

October 8, 2021
The Assembly has failed to release documents related to its baseless and partisan investigation of the 2020 election, including records from hired contractors.

From Voter-Fraud Myths to Bogus Election Audits: The Evolution of the Big Lie

September 13, 2021
On Monday, American Oversight published an in-depth look at the "Big Lie" and the decades-long campaign by conservative activists and lawmakers to hype up the threat of voter fraud.

News Roundup: Warming Planet, Surging Pandemic, and Election-Undermining Reviews

August 13, 2021
It's been a busy news week, from the fast-growing U.S. surge in Covid-19 cases and the new "code red" report on global warming to news about efforts past and present to undermine the 2020 presidential election.

News Roundup: The Big Lie’s Long Reach

August 5, 2021
New details continue to emerge about the attempts by former President Trump and his allies to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

News Roundup: From the Trump White House to Wisconsin

June 17, 2021
New emails released to Congress show the former president exerting pressure on Justice Department officials to support his baseless fraud claims. The lies haven't disappeared.

The Latest Attempt by Wisconsin Legislative Leaders to Undermine Election Has Been in the Works for Months

June 17, 2021
Emails uncovered by American Oversight reveal an early April meeting between legislative leaders and one of the former police officers hired to investigate the 2020 election in Wisconsin.

News Roundup: Undermining Democracy, One ‘Audit’ at a Time

June 3, 2021
After visiting the sham audit of votes cast in Maricopa County, Ariz., this week, Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers have called for their state to conduct a similar partisan review.
Show all updates

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Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
Litigation
June 21, 2022

Wisconsin State Assembly Communications of Rep. Ramthun with External Entities

Agency Record
June 6, 2022

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Records Related to Contracts for Assembly’s Election Investigation

Agency Record
May 27, 2022

Wisconsin State Assembly Records of Rep. Brandtjen’s Communications Concerning Guidance to Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
May 27, 2022

Wisconsin Assembly Office of Special Counsel Records of Contracts and Work Products

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
Agency Record
May 9, 2022

Public Records to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen Seeking Guidance to Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 9, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen Seeking Contracts with Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 9, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen Seeking Guidance to Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
April 8, 2022

Wisconsin Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel Election Investigation Records

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel, Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
March 21, 2022

Wisconsin State Assembly Records of Rep. Brandtjen’s Communications with and about Cyber Ninjas and Allied Security Operations

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
March 11, 2022

Wisconsin State Assembly Communications Between Speaker Vos’s Office and External Entities Investigating the 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
March 8, 2022

Wisconsin Assembly Second Amended Contract with Michael Gableman

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
Agency Record
March 4, 2022

Wisconsin State Assembly Records of Office of Special Counsel Expenses

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
March 3, 2022

Records Request Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Additional Communications Regarding Elections Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
March 3, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly for Additional Communications Regarding Elections Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
March 3, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Additional Contractual Documents from Elections Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
March 3, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Additional Contractual Documents from Elections Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
March 3, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Communications Between Contractors and External Entities

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
March 3, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin State Assembly for Communications Between Contractors and External Entities

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
March 3, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen for Contract Agreements with Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
March 3, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen for Guidance Documents Sent to Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
March 3, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Additional Work Products from Elections Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
February 24, 2022

Wisconsin State Assembly Records of Rep. Brandtjen’s Communications Regarding 2020 Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
February 22, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Ramthun for Communications With and About Cyber Ninjas and Allied Security Operations Group

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
February 22, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen for Communications With and About Cyber Ninjas and Allied Security Operations Group

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
January 24, 2022

Wisconsin Assembly Amendment to the Contract with Election Investigator Michael Gableman

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
January 18, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin State Assembly for Communication Records Between Contractors and External Entities

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
January 18, 2022

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Communications Between Contractors and External Entities

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
January 14, 2022

Records from the Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen’s Office Regarding Guidance Documents for Entities Investigating Results of November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
January 14, 2022

Wisconsin Assembly Records Concerning Entities Investigating Results of November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
January 11, 2022

American Oversight v. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos – WI Supreme Court Denial of Stay of Deposition

Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
January 11, 2022

American Oversight v. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos – Circuit Court Denial of Motion for Stay of Discovery

Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
January 10, 2022

American Oversight v. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos – Appeals Court Denial of Vos’s Motion to Stay Deposition

Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
January 3, 2022

Complaint and Court Filings: American Oversight v. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos – Communications and Contract Records Regarding Wisconsin Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
December 21, 2021

Order: American Oversight v. Wisconsin Assembly and Office of Special Counsel – Election Investigation Records

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel, Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
December 21, 2021

Complaint and Court Filings: American Oversight v. Assembly Office of Special Counsel and Wisconsin State Assembly

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel, Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
December 9, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Elections Commission for Data and Records Concerning Rejected Ballots

Wisconsin Elections Commission
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen for Contracts with Entities Investigating Results of November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Speaker Vos for Communications Regarding Entities Investigating Results of November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen for Communications Regarding Entities Investigating Results of November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Sanfelippo for Communications Regarding Entities Investigating Results of November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly for Additional Contractual Documents from Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Additional Contractual Documents from Election Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly for Additional Work Products from Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Additional Work Products from Election Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly for Additional Communications Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
December 8, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Additional Communications Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
December 4, 2021

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel Records of Election Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel, Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
December 3, 2021

Selected Court Filings: American Oversight v. Wisconsin State Assembly – Wisconsin Election Investigation Records

Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
November 24, 2021

Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen Communications about Entities Investigating the November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
November 19, 2021

Wisconsin Assembly Records of Communications with Election Investigation Contractors

Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
November 19, 2021

Wisconsin Assembly Records of Gableman Investigation Costs and Contracts

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
October 29, 2021

Wisconsin State Assembly Communications for Rep. Ramthun Regarding Elections Investigations

Agency Record
October 26, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel Seeking Additional Contractual Documents from Elections Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
October 26, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel Seeking Additional Communications Regarding Elections Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
October 26, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel Seeking Additional Work Products from Elections Investigation

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
October 26, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Additional Contractual Documents from Elections Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
October 26, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Additional Communications Regarding Elections Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
October 25, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Sanfelippo for Contracts with Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
October 25, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen for Guidance to Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
October 25, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Sanfelippo for Guidance to Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
October 25, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos for Communications About Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
October 25, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen for Communications About Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
October 25, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Sanfelippo for Communications About Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
October 15, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel for Communications Between Contractors and External Entities

Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel
FOIA Request
October 8, 2021

Order: American Oversight v. Wisconsin State Assembly – Election Investigation Records

Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
October 8, 2021

Complaint and Court Filings: American Oversight v. Wisconsin State Assembly – Wisconsin Election Investigation Records

Wisconsin State Assembly
Litigation
September 14, 2021

Wisconsin Assembly Communication Records Regarding the State’s Election Investigation

Wisconsin
Agency Record
September 8, 2021

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker’s Office Records of Communications Related to Partisan Election Investigation

Wisconsin
Agency Record
August 13, 2021

Public Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos Seeking Communications with Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
August 12, 2021

Public Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Records Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
August 12, 2021

Public Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Work Product from Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
August 12, 2021

Public Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Communications Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
August 12, 2021

Public Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Records Regarding the Resignation of Election Investigators

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
July 23, 2021

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker’s Office Communications Related to Election Investigation

Wisconsin
Agency Record
July 20, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Records Regarding Elections Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
July 20, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Records from Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
July 20, 2021

Records Request to the Wisconsin Assembly Seeking Communications Regarding Elections Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
July 13, 2021

Letter to Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Vos Regarding Requests for Records

Wisconsin State Assembly
July 9, 2021

Wisconsin State Rep. Brandtjen Communications Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
July 8, 2021

Wisconsin State Rep. Brandtjen Communications Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
June 23, 2021

Wisconsin Elections Commission Records of Spindell’s External Communications

Wisconsin, Wisconsin Elections Commission
Agency Reply
June 23, 2021

Wisconsin Elections Commission Communications Between Spindell and Specific External Parties

Wisconsin Elections Commission
Agency Record
June 23, 2021

Wisconsin State Assembly Communications Between Rep. Brandtjen and Specific External Parties

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
June 23, 2021

Wisconsin State Assembly Records Regarding Rep. Brandtjen Communications About Election Funding

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
June 23, 2021

Letter to Wisconsin Elections Commission Regarding Requests for Records

Wisconsin Elections Commission
June 16, 2021

Wisconsin State Rep. Born Communications Concerning Withholding Recount Funds

Wisconsin
Agency Record
June 15, 2021

Wisconsin Rep. Sanfelippo Communications Regarding Challenges to November 2020 Election

Wisconsin Senate
Agency Record
June 15, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen Seeking Communications Regarding Challenges to November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
June 15, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Sanfelippo Seeking Communications Regarding Challenges to November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
June 15, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Sen. Nass Seeking Communications Regarding Challenges to November 2020 Election

Wisconsin Senate
FOIA Request
June 15, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Brandtjen Seeking Communications Regarding External Election Funding

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
June 15, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Rep. Sanfelippo Seeking Communications Regarding External Election Funding

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
June 11, 2021

No Records Response from Wisconsin State Assembly Regarding Contracts with Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
June 9, 2021

Wisconsin State Rep. Sanfelippo Communications Regarding the Legislature’s Investigations of the 2020 Election

Wisconsin
Agency Record
June 9, 2021

Wisconsin State Rep. Sanfelippo Communications Regarding the Legislature’s Investigations of the 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly for Contracts with Entities Investigating November 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Vos for Communications Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin State Rep. Brandtjen for Communications Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin State Rep. Sanfelippo for Communications Regarding Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos for Communications with Wisconsin DOJ Regarding 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin State Rep. Brandtjen for Communications with Wisconsin DOJ Regarding 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin State Rep. Sanfelippo for Communications with Wisconsin DOJ Regarding 2020 Election

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Vos for Communications with External Parties

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin State Rep. Brandtjen for Communications with External Parties

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin State Rep. Sanfelippo for Communications with External Parties

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
May 28, 2021

Records Request to Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos for Legal Authority for Election Investigation

Wisconsin State Assembly
FOIA Request
February 24, 2021

Wisconsin State Assembly Communications for Rep. Born Concerning Recount Funds

Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record
February 24, 2021

Wisconsin House of Representatives Communications for Rep. Born Concerning Recount Funds

Wisconsin State Assembly
Agency Record