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Wisconsin GOP leader fires 2020 election investigator


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican Wisconsin Assembly leader who hired a former state Supreme Court justice to investigate the 2020 election fired him on Friday, three days after lawmakers beat an opponent lead that investigator and former President Donald Trump had endorsed.

The firing of Michael Gableman capped a 14-month ride that began when Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired him to look into the election under pressure from Trump. But as the investigation progressed under bipartisan criticism, Vos’ relationship soured with Trump and Gableman.

Vos initially said he was “extremely confident” in Gableman’s abilities. Following his election victory on Tuesday, Vos called Gableman “embarrassing to himself” and to the state. Gableman, who repeated Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen,” said Vos “never wanted a real investigation.”

“After many members of our caucus have contacted me over the past few days, it is more than clear to me that we have only one choice in this matter, and that is to close the Council Office. special,” Vos said in a statement. first published in the Associated Press on Friday.

Gableman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

A major rift between Vos and Gableman came when Gableman said in a report that lawmakers should consider decertifying the 2020 election, as Trump wants. Vos rejected this suggestion, citing widespread legal opinions that it is both unconstitutional and impossible to do.

Vos had repeatedly stated that the purpose of the investigation was not to cancel the 2020 election, a decision that Gableman later told Vos privately in writing was impossible. Even Gableman’s own attorney told lawmakers the decertification was “unnecessary.”

Vos said those concerned about the integrity of the election should focus on defeating Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who vetoed changes Republicans want. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels supports disbanding Wisconsin’s bipartisan Elections Commission and said he would have signed the bills Evers vetoed.

Vos hired Gableman to ease the pressure he felt from those who believed Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election. President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes, a result that survived prosecutions, recounts, reviews, audits, and even Gableman’s own investigation.

Unhappy with how he was treated by Vos, Gableman’s public comments critical of the speaker increased, as did those of Trump. In April, Gableman called for pressure on Vos to extend the former judge’s contract. Vos did, but with a pay cut from his initial $11,000 a month. Vos suspended the investigation in May, pending resolution of the pending lawsuits.

Their relationship hit a tipping point when Trump and Gableman endorsed Vos’ main opponent, leading to a tighter-than-expected race. Vos walked away with a victory of 260 votes. Vos said his win showed lawmakers “don’t need to be a lapdog for everything Donald Trump says.”

Gableman also faces legal issues.

On Tuesday, a judge was scheduled to determine whether Gableman remains in contempt of court for failing to comply with the state’s open archives law. Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington in a scathing order accused Gableman of unprofessional and misogynistic conduct related to a court appearance where he refused to answer questions and made sarcastic remarks about ‘a lawyer.

Remington forwarded its contempt order to the committee that sanctions attorneys for possible further action, including suspension or revocation of Gableman’s law license. It is one of four open lawsuits filed by liberal watchdog group American Oversight. There are also two lawsuits related to the investigation itself, including one filed by Gableman seeking to jail the mayors of Madison and Green Bay for failing to testify privately as he wished.

Attorney fees awarded so far have resulted in the total tab for Gableman’s investigation, all paid by taxpayers, which exceeds $1.1 million.

Gableman used the probe to raise his national profile. He said the prayer at Trump’s rally in Wisconsin this month. He has been a regular on conservative talk radio, including an appearance where he bashed the way top Wisconsin election officials dress.

Gableman has also faced criticism for his insufficient expense reports, confusing emails, meeting with conspiracy theorists including MyPillow executive Mike Lindell, and rudimentary errors, including multiple spelling errors. . For example, in recordings released during the prosecutions, Gableman and his team routinely misspelled Vos as “Voss.”

Now Vos has cut ties with the man he once expressed his full trust in.

yahoo

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