On Thursday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn found that the Wisconsin Assembly and Speaker Robin Vos had not yet done enough to avoid potential penalties over their continuing failure to produce public records to American Oversight. The finding — which came weeks after Bailey-Rihn found Vos and the Assembly in contempt — is the most recent in a lawsuit American Oversight filed in October in search of records related to the state Assembly’s baseless review of the 2020 election.
During the hearing on Thursday, Vos and the Wisconsin Assembly once again argued that they are not responsible for records now held by the Assembly’s Office of Special Counsel, which was created in August in order to conduct the election probe. Bailey-Rihn rejected that argument and offered the defendants “one last crack” at meeting their obligations and clearing the contempt order that she had imposed on March 30.
Bailey-Rihn also ordered Vos and the Assembly to produce an affidavit from Gableman explaining who worked for him on the Assembly’s contract, what steps he took to recover records from those employees or subcontractors, and what records (if any) are in his possession or were destroyed. If the defendants do not meet the conditions to purge the contempt order, Bailey-Rihn indicated that she will impose fines. During the hearing, Bailey-Rihn also noted that Wisconsin taxpayers are footing the bill for the Assembly’s ongoing court cases.
American Oversight will return to court over this issue in June. At that hearing, Bailey-Rihn will once again assess whether Vos and the Assembly have met the conditions to purge the contempt order, and American Oversight may ask questions of witnesses. Follow along with all of our work in Wisconsin here.
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