Republican election investigation runs more than $200,000 over budget

MADISON, Wis. — The review led by Republican election investigator Michael Gableman has run a nearly $900,000 price tag, less than a month after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said it would not exceed the initial $676,000 budget.

Vos extended the investigation in May as long as two court cases are still pending. To help prevent the cost from exceeding the initial budget, Gableman reduced his salary by half — now down to $5,500. Vos’ office said this week that any costs incurred from that ongoing litigation should not count against the initial budget.

A spokeswoman for Vos blamed the ongoing litigation on Democrats, saying the extra costs are their fault. One of the ongoing court cases deals with the mayors of Wisconsin’s largest cities, which are left-leaning.

“The Gableman investigation is costing the state almost a million dollars, and part of that is these continued lawsuits and that really have no basis,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “It is time for us to acknowledge reality and that the November 2020 election is a settled matter, and we need to move on.”

Satya Rhodes Conway Interview At Pride Event

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway speaks during a pride event June 1, 2022.

Gableman sought to take private testimony from the mayors of Madison, Green Bay and Racine over how their cities conducted the 2020 election. Those mayors declined, some arguing that their testimony should be in public, and Gableman is now attempting to jail them for not complying.

“Clearly it could be used for more productive things rather than revisiting an election that’s already been determined to be safe and fair and secure,” Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday.

“The bottom line is it’s all our money, and it’s all going to investigate an election that happened nearly two years ago that’s been decided that was safe and secure and that Joe Biden won,” Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, said.