Madison, Wisconsin (AP) – Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Tuesday that his commissioned investigation of the 2020 presidential election will last until next year and cost more money.
Vos’s current contract, signed this summer with former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who will lead the investigation, will run until the end of this month at $ 680,000 taxpayers. As part of his investigation, Gableman requested a subpoena for the mayors of the state’s five largest cities and the state’s highest election official.
Gableman said the mayors of Madison and Green Bay should be jailed if they don’t testify. The court hearing in this case is scheduled for January 21. Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul is trying to block the subpoena of Megan Wolfe, the state’s election administrator, and a court hearing on the matter is scheduled for next week.
These legal battles will extend the Gableman investigation indefinitely, Vos told The Associated Press.
“My goal has always been to complete the investigation by the end of the year,” Vos said. “I never, in my wildest dreams, predicted the level to which the Democrats will go to try to block and create obstacles to everything we do.”
If the Democrats had cooperated, the investigation would have been completed this month, Vos said. Vos said that if Gableman has to “spend most of his time and money fighting Democratic attempts to end the investigation, he may need more resources. But this is the business of the democrats, not us. “
It is in the Republicans’ best interest to delay the investigation as it looks like something illegal has happened, said Democratic Assembly minority leader Gordon Hintz.
“The only thing that happened to them was that Joe Biden won and Donald Trump lost,” Hinz said. “I don’t expect them to ever complete the investigation.”
Democrats and some Republicans have called the investigation bogus, given that some of the employees Gableman hired worked in the Trump administration or supported 2020 election conspiracy theories. Trump lost nearly 21,000 votes to President Joe Biden in Wisconsin, a result that was confirmed after a recount, multiple court decisions and a non-partisan review.
Vos and other Republicans defend the investigation, saying they are trying to address concerns raised by voters and others over procedures and private grants awarded to cities with high Democratic populations during elections.
Republican Senator Katie Bernier, chairman of the Senate electoral committee and former Chippewa County clerk, criticized the investigation Monday. She called it a “charade” designed to appease the conservative GOP base, called for it to end as soon as possible, and said doubting the integrity of the election would ultimately hurt Republican turnout.
“I understand there is frustration when the president reports massive electoral fraud,” Bernier said, noting that Trump regularly reported fraud back in 2016 Iowa rallies. “We have a great system here and no one should falsely accuse election officials of fraud.”
Vos said he interpreted her comments as an expression of frustration at the lack of Democratic participation.
“Not only one side, Republicans, or the other side, Democrats, lost confidence in the elections, it’s the entire population, if we don’t figure out how to remind people what the rules are and have a standard set for everyone. , no matter where you live and how you vote, said Vos.
Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul applauded Bernier for her comments.
“I would like to see more Republicans speak up,” Kaul said Tuesday.
Kaul accused Gableman and the Republicans of “pursuing conspiracy theories.” Vos last week declined to name claims that Biden stole the election from Trump’s conspiracy theories.
“It is clear that the efforts that we are seeing from some party Republicans are aimed at destabilizing our democracy and confidence in our democracy,” Kaul said.
In addition to the investigation, Trump supporters are also considering a constitutional amendment on elections to bypass Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and empower the Secretary of State to take on some of the election-related responsibilities currently carried out by a bipartisan electoral commission.
Hinz said the ultimate goal of the Republicans was to give the legislature the ability to overturn election results that he didn’t like.
Vos said he was “skeptical” about the secretary of state’s empowerment, an office that hasn’t run for elections for nearly 50 years. Instead, Vos said he was focusing on ways to overhaul Wisconsin’s existing bipartisan election committee, created by the GOP-controlled legislature.
“I want to look at all the potential models,” Vos said of how he wants the election to take place in Wisconsin. “I am not saying that now I have an exhaustive answer. I think the current process is broken. “