‘Shut this fake investigation down’: Wisconsin attorney general calls for election probe to end

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s Democratic attorney general who represents the state elections commission is calling for a Republican-ordered investigation into the 2020 presidential election to be shut down.

Attorney General Josh Kaul said Monday that the investigation is a partisan political effort that lacks credibility, wastes taxpayer money and is not serious. His comments came after Michael Gableman, the retired Wisconsin Supreme Court justice leading the investigation, issued a video taking aim at Gov. Tony Evers Saturday.

The Democratic Evers called the taxpayer-funded Gableman investigation “a $700,000 boondoggle.”

Speaker of the State Assembly Robin Vos hired Gableman to head the investigation, which has a budget of $676,000 funded by tax dollars.

“My request to Speaker Vos is simple: shut this fake investigation down,” Kaul said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

Kaul said that the subpoenas issued by Gableman were overly broad and burdensome to clerks. In the Youtube video posted Saturday, Gableman said he’s asking for basic information clerks are required to keep.

“We’re doing this so that people can know the government administered the election fairly, honestly, transparently and with accountability,” Gableman said in the video. “There is no reason these public officials should be unable to answer any of our questions.”

Gableman’s effort was criticized Monday by Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen, who said she’s been kept in the dark and that the probe isn’t broad enough, pointing to the Arizona audit.

“Justice Gableman and Speaker Vos continue to dismiss the need for a similar audit of physical ballots and voting machines in Wisconsin,” Brandtjen said in a statement. “A cyber forensic audit, including the recounting of physical ballots and an audit of the machines, would finally rebuild trust in Wisconsin elections.”

Brandtjen, chairwoman of the Assembly’s Campaigns and Elections Committee, said she does not approve of the current subpoenas to five Wisconsin Mayors “as this provides immunity to them in any trial or criminal proceedings.”

Like Kaul, Brandtjen noted that much of what the committee learns about Gableman’s actions are from the news and Youtube videos.

“Here there seems to be no agreement even within Republican legislative leadership about what they’re trying to seek here,” Kaul said. “That’s one of the reasons this investigation should be shut down. This is not a professional process we’re seeing and it’s a waste of taxpayer money.”