On Wednesday, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would no longer require Michael Gableman, who is heading the Assembly’s partisan election investigation, to reimburse certain controversial 2021 travel expenses. The expenses in question — first uncovered by American Oversight — were incurred during Gableman’s trip to the partisan election review in Arizona, as well as his visit to a South Dakota forum hosted by election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell.
News about the reversal comes as Gableman’s contract has been once again extended, this time indefinitely. Vos said that the investigation will be put on hold while the Assembly and Gableman’s Office of Special Counsel fight a series of lawsuits, including American Oversight’s litigation for the release of public records from the inquiry. According to the Journal Sentinel, Gableman’s salary will now be $5,500 a month instead of $11,000.
Records obtained by American Oversight in November 2021 revealed that investigators conducting the Assembly’s partisan review of Wisconsin’s 2020 election spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on travel and lodging to visit Arizona’s discredited election “audit” in August.
In December, American Oversight obtained several emails to Gableman from Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and prominent election conspiracy theorist. Gableman had attended Lindell’s August voter-fraud “cyber symposium” in South Dakota; expense records revealed that taxpayers footed the bill for his hotel.
Following the revelations about the trip to Arizona in November, a spokesperson for Vos said the Assembly would attempt to recover the money. In March, Vos’ office said it would recoup those travel expenses, as well as those for a trip to a partisan event, by withholding money from future payments to Gableman. But according to the Journal Sentinel, “Vos said Tuesday he had ultimately decided to let Gableman keep” the reimbursements for the Arizona and South Dakota trips.
Gableman’s protracted investigation has failed to produce any evidence that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, despite his support for calls for the Assembly to pursue the legally impossible task of “decertifying” the state’s results. More about our lawsuits and the records uncovered by American Oversight can be found here.
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