Vos held in contempt over election records he says were deleted

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is being held in contempt. A Dane County judge says he violated an order to turn over emails and other communications related to the investigation he ordered into the 2020 presidential election.

This all has to do with the investigation headed by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, chosen by Vos. It’s projected to cost nearly $700,000 in taxpayer money.

"That’s extraordinary. That’s shocking," said Bill Lueders, president, Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.

Robin Vos

It's not shocking to the nonpartisan Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council's president that a Dane County judge ended up ordering that Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos be held in contempt, but rather, that it got to this point. 

"There’s great clarity in the law," said Lueders. "I cannot think of any other occasion in which an elected public official has been held in contempt of court for refusing to provide records under the records law."

"It seems they don’t really want the Wisconsin taxpayers to know the truth," said Melanie Sloan, senior advisor, American Oversight. "The idea that the Speaker could hire an outside contractor to conduct an election audit and then have really no documents whatsoever about that, no email correspondence, no communications at all, that just really doesn’t ring true."

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The progressive group  American Oversight has asked for any emails or records related to Speaker Vos' decision to enter into a contract with Gableman to investigate the 2020 election.

Michael Gableman

"They’re saying they need to have more transparency in the audit, but these are people who are doing everything they can in their own actions to avoid transparency and hide documents," said Sloan.

Vos’ argument in court has been he doesn’t have communications to give over – that emails and texts were deleted.

FOX6 News reached out to Vos' office and haven’t heard back, but his attorney Rodald Stadler said in a statement they don’t believe Vos is the authority who must maintain or produce the records.

"We disagree with the validity of the Judge’s underlying order. At least one other judge in Dane County has recognized that because Speaker Vos is not a party to the contract with the Office of Special Counsel or its subcontractors he is not the authority that must maintain or produce those records," the statement said. "Speaker Vos cannot be ordered to produce records that he is not responsible for and cannot be held in contempt for not producing records that are not within his custody."

Stadler said they’re considering all options, including an appeal.

Vos and the assembly have 14 days to turn over the records, and if they fail to do so, they will have to pay $1,000 per day after that, along with some of American Oversight’s legal bills.

Biden defeated Trump by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin, an outcome that has withstood recounts, a nonpartisan audit, other reviews and multiple lawsuits.

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