Records from Wisconsin election probe to be made public

The office Michael Gableman led still exists after he was fired — American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group, has filed four open records lawsuits seeking records created during the 2020 election investigation.

Associated Press

September 28, 2022

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Michael Gableman speaks to another lawyer seated next to him while seated at a counsel table with an open laptop, coffee and water cups, and other items in a courtroom.

Michael Gableman participates in a court hearing on June 10, 2022 in a lawsuit filed over the open records practices of a probe he was hired by the state Legislature to conduct into the 2020 presidential vote in Wisconsin. On Aug. 12, 2022, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos fired Gableman and ended the probe. Following another court hearing on Sept. 27 related to open records, an attorney told a judge that all records would be uploaded to a website. (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

AP News

By Scott Bauer, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — All records from the closed Republican-ordered investigation into the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin are being uploaded to a website “for all to see,” an attorney told a judge on Sept. 27.

The investigation was led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who was fired in August by Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, just days after Vos won his primary over an opponent endorsed by Gableman and former President Donald Trump.

But the office Gableman led still exists. American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group, has filed four open records lawsuits against Gableman, Vos and the office seeking the records created during the investigation.

On Sept. 27, during a hearing over a lawsuit American Oversight filed to stop the deletion of records, attorney James Bopp said all electronic and paper records from the office have been turned over to the Assembly chief clerk’s office. The files are being uploaded to a website that will soon be available “for all to see,” said Bopp, who represents the office that he said has no employees.

Hundreds of pages of documents have already been made public as the result of other American Oversight lawsuits. Bopp said the data yet-to-be made public that’s being processed now includes text messages on cellphones used in the course of the investigation.

Gableman’s probe did not uncover any widespread fraud in the 2020 election that President Joe Biden won in Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes. His effort was widely ridiculed, by Democrats and Republicans alike, and when Vos fired him he called Gableman an “embarrassment” to himself and the state.

Dane County Circuit Judge Jacob Frost considered Bopp’s motion on behalf of Gableman’s former office to dismiss the American Oversight lawsuit seeking to prevent the destruction of public records held by the office. Bopp argued that was moot because all of the records were about to be made public.

Frost earlier ordered that the office not delete any records in its possession while the lawsuit continues. Frost gave both sides until Oct. 21 to make additional arguments in the case before he ruled.

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