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.
The Subpoenas: Two weeks ago, attorney Michael Gableman issued subpoenas for all election materials as well as testimony from several mayors and election clerks. The requests were criticized for their broad scope, and confusion deepened after Gableman backed off some of the demands then changed direction again late last week, saying in a radio interview that officials would still have to be interviewed. And then just this week, news reports indicated that none of the election officials would sit for interviews.
American Oversight Lawsuit: What have not been made public, however, are records from Gableman’s investigation itself. Last week, we sued the Wisconsin Assembly and Speaker Robin Vos, who ordered the review under pressure from former President Trump and those pushing baseless allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Coordination (or Lack Thereof) with Assembly Committee: Gableman is ostensibly working with the Elections Committee, which was authorized by the Assembly to conduct the sham investigation (and which approved the $680,000 in taxpayer money being spent on it). But the chair of the Elections Committee, state Rep. Janel Brandtjen — who has long pushed for an election “audit” in the same vein as the Arizona Senate’s recent bungled and conspiracy-tinged operation — is not pleased with Gableman’s work:
Gableman’s Troubling Statements: Last week, Gableman drew criticism for comparing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to Joseph Goebbels. This came just days after Gableman said that he does not have “a comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work.”
Doug Logan, the CEO of Arizona Senate’s inexperienced lead “audit” contractor Cyber Ninjas, said he would not conduct any more recounts because of the attacks he’s received from supporters of the Big Lie who are angry that the election review found that Biden had won Maricopa County. Those same voices continue to push efforts to undermine the 2020 election in multiple states.
Here are some election- and voting-related headlines from across the country:
Questionable Pandemic Loan
Citing supporting documents obtained by American Oversight, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis last week released new evidence that the Trump White House may have played a direct role in helping a trucking company secure a CARES Act loan meant for businesses deemed critical to national security. The records show White House officials communicating with former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the loan, which has been the subject of significant scrutiny.
Arkansas Deployment to Border
Two weeks ago, the Washington Post reported on documents we obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety that revealed that Gov. Greg Abbott’s border crackdown, in which multiple states deployed National Guard troops to the border, had a weekly cost of $2.3 million. Now, the Arkansas Department of the Military has sent us records that show the political stunt has cost Arkansas taxpayers more than $115,000.
The Trump Administration and Unaccompanied Minors
In a February 2019 email, Trump DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told then-HHS Secretary Alex Azar that her department foresaw “an extraordinarily demanding and challenging time” because of the increasing numbers of unaccompanied migrant children (UAC) held in government custody. Noting that a plan to add more beds to a facility run by HHS would not be enough, Nielsen wrote, “The number of beds coming on line will not provide placements for the current UAC waiting at the border, let alone address the continuing high levels of daily apprehensions.” Read more here.
Part of Investigation: