Madison, Wisconsin (AP) – The Wisconsin attorney general, representing the state’s election commission on Monday, called for a Republican order to close the investigation into the 2020 presidential election, saying it is partisan political activity that is not credible and wasting taxpayer money and is not serious.
“This investigation suffers from egregious flaws that undermine the credibility of its findings,” Attorney General Josh Kaul told a news conference. “Stop this bogus investigation.”
Kaul’s comments came after the Republican leader of the Assembly’s election commission said she was being kept on the sidelines and disagreed with the steps taken by the leader of the investigation.
The latest twists and turns came after Michael Gableman, a retired Wisconsin Supreme Court judge leading the investigation, posted a video over the weekend aimed at Governor Tony Evers. Evers, a Democrat, told local electoral authorities they should be “held accountable,” and called the taxpayer-funded investigation a $ 700,000 waste. “
Gableman called this the “incomplete and erroneous” probe.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos ordered an investigation under pressure from Donald Trump, who claimed without evidence that he won Wisconsin last year. President Joe Biden won the state with just under 21,000 votes, a result that has fallen short of recounts and various court decisions.
Vos said the investigation will continue “to restore confidence in our electoral system.”
“The integrity of the elections must be enforced by both parties,” Vos said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Attorney General Kaul has sided with out-of-state billionaires interfering in our elections and ignored Wisconsin citizens who report violations.”
The Gableman investigation has been criticized by Evers and other Democrats as bogus, by moderate Republicans who say it undermines confidence in an election that turned out to be fair, and by conservatives who say he is not aggressive enough in the review as having widely discredited himself. the audit was recently completed in Arizona.
It was a complaint filed Monday by Republican Janelle Brandtien, chairman of the Assembly’s electoral committee, who said nothing short of recounting all the ballots that look at voting machines would restore confidence in the Wisconsin election.
Brandtien disapproves of Gableman’s statement that the mayors of the five largest cities in Wisconsin who are cooperating with his investigation will be granted immunity. As Special Adviser, Gableman does not have the authority to initiate criminal proceedings.
Brandtien said she only learned about Gableman’s actions, including the issuance of subpoenas to election officials and mayors of Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine and Kenosha, only from media reports and two videos posted by Gableman. She said that Gableman does not speak for her or the committee.
The past week was eventful for the investigation. After Gableman issued the subpoenas, someone working with him told the mayors they could provide more limited information and avoid face-to-face interviews later this month. But Gableman said Friday that interviews should take place if officials don’t cooperate.
Gableman also sued the bipartisan Wisconsin Election Commission. Kaul said the subpoena, as it was issued, is too extensive and any testimony given by Election Commission Administrator Megan Wolfe should be public in front of the Assembly’s Election Committee, not behind closed doors, as Gableman suggested.
On Saturday, Gableman shifted his criticism to Evers and the comments he made nearly two weeks ago when he called the probe “useless.”
“I would like to ask Tony Evers why it is not easy for the people of Wisconsin to know if their election was fair?” Gableman asked on the video. “What is the alternative? The alternative looks the other way. “
Evers spokeswoman Britt Kudabuck likened the investigation to a circus and said Gableman was the boss who did not understand the election process and “predetermined the outcome of this bogus review.”
The investigation initially focused on grants the strongly democratic cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine received from the nonprofit center for technology and civilian life to help run elections.
The grants were funded by donations from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. They angered some Republicans because $ 6.3 million went to the five Democratic cities that ultimately voted for Biden. It was part of $ 10 million in grants to over 200 communities across Wisconsin.
Gableman suggested in the video that the grants were illegal, although the court ruled that they were not.
Gableman also said he had “overwhelming evidence that the Wisconsin electoral administration did not properly observe the electoral administration at both the state and local levels.” He said there might have been violations of law or protocol, or both, and that security measures for the ballots might have been compromised.
He did not describe this evidence.
In November, Gableman told a Trump supporter rally without proof that the election had been stolen. In an interview with the Journal Sentinel last week, Gableman said he didn’t understand how the election was going.