But now Wisconsin GOP lawmakers are apparently stuck on a hamster wheel of audits attempting to prove widespread fraud that doesn’t exist. By jove, even the audits aren’t to be trusted!
“Senate leaders announced their plans just hours after Assembly Republicans disclosed they had hired more attorneys at taxpayer expense to try to make sure their review survives a legal challenge,” writes the Journal Sentinel.
Senate Republicans are quibbling about the fact that local election officials in several counties wouldn’t let the auditors physically handle their election records based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice. Instead, auditors were simply able to view the records but not touch them.
GOP Sen. Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie, who chairs the Senate Elections Committee, held a press conference last month in which she batted down some GOP conspiracy theories about administration of the 2020 election.
“I’m sorry, but there is not a reason to spread misinformation about this past election when we have all the evidence that shows otherwise,” Bernier said.
But now Bernier says the 2020 election was “sloppy” even though the audit failed to “reveal any sizable or organized attempt at voter fraud.”
Fortunately for the Senate GOP, the state’s Assembly Republicans are making their colleagues in the upper chamber look like a bunch of geniuses. Assembly Republicans are now embroiled in a costly effort to revive their audit after Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a legal challenge to it.
The Assembly audit is being run by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who once suggested without evidence that the election might have been stolen. Gableman has also admitted that he has no “comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work.”
Making matters worse, Gableman’s subpoenas in the matter have been riddled with errors. According to The Washington Post, Gableman “backed off some of his subpoena demands before reversing course again, telling a local radio host that officials would still be required to testify.” He has also tried to force one person, state Election Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, to testify in secret.
Assembly Republicans decided to step in and hire outside attorneys to defend Gableman’s subpoenas even though his budget included $50,000 for outside counsel. The audit is costing taxpayers some $676,000.
Apparently, Assembly Republican didn’t think $50,000 was up to the task of defending Gableman’s work.