Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
A Wisconsin judge found that there was “absolutely no evidence of election fraud” in Wisconsin at the end of a lawsuit involving Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. The lawsuit was filed by the watchdog group American Oversight. Vos launched a taxpayer funded investigation into the 2020 election after being pressured by former President Donald Trump, which has now cost taxpayers over $1 million. President Biden won Wisconsin by almost 21,000 votes, a result that has stayed consistent through recounts, lawsuits, an audit by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau and a review by conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.
Instead of election fraud, the lawsuit revealed that Vos had violated state law during his investigation. Wisconsin state law says that lawmakers like Vos have to save records once an open records request for them has been filed. Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice hired by Vos, admitted in another lawsuit that after American Oversight filed an open records request, he deleted records that he thought were not part of the investigation. Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn awarded $98,000 in legal fees to American Oversight, but decided not to award more money as punishment for breaking the law. “I think the people of the state of Wisconsin have been punished enough for this case,” Bailey-Rihn said of her decision. “I don’t think it does anyone any good to have punitive damages placed on the innocent people of this state.” In another lawsuit, a judge awarded $163,000 in legal fees to American Oversight. There are two more lawsuits against Vos and Gableman, meaning that taxpayers will continue to pay for an investigation that Republicans launched to try to support the conspiracy theories Donald Trump has clung to since his loss in November 2020.