Wisconsin election GOP-ordered investigation to be made public

The findings from a sprawling, taxpayer-funded investigation ordered by Wisconsin Republicans into the 2020 election won by President Joe Biden are expected to be made public early this week.

The report from Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice whose work drew bipartisan criticism, was being turned over to Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Monday before being made public, a spokesman for Gableman told WLUK-TV.

Gableman and his spokesman did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Vos spokeswoman Angela Joyce said Gableman, not Vos, would release the report, but she did not know exactly when.

Gableman is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Wisconsin Assembly elections committee, a panel that has hosted several election conspiracy theorists in recent weeks.

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Gableman has defended his work as trying to get to the truth of what happened in the election and his work has largely focused on grant money awarded to Wisconsin's five largest, and heavily Democratic, cities by a foundation run by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

Vos, who ordered the investigation, has repeatedly said it was not about trying to overturn Biden's win even though he has faced pressure from some Republican colleagues to do that. Instead, Vos said, the goal was to enact changes before the next election.

However, the Republican-controlled Legislature is unlikely to act this year on any of Gableman’s recommendations. The Assembly met for what was anticipated to be its final day of the year last week and the Senate is planning to come in just once more in early March.

The Legislature last week passed a package of bills making a series of election and voting changes, all of which are expected to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Evers and other Democrats have long discounted the probe as a political stunt designed to appease former President Donald Trump and those who believe that the election was stolen from him.

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Biden won Wisconsin by just under 21,000 votes, a result that has withstood recounts, numerous state and federal lawsuits and reviews by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau and the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

Under pressure from Trump, Vos hired Gableman in June to conduct his own review of the election. Gableman's effort was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats after he hired former Trump administration officials and others who have touted election conspiracy theories.

Gableman's fairness has also been called into question given comments he made to Trump supporters shortly after the 2020 election in which he said bureaucrats at the state elections commission had stolen the election. Gableman, after he was hired, also admitted to not understanding how elections are run in Wisconsin, a comment that also generated ridicule from both parties.

Vos said earlier this year that he wanted Gableman to conclude his work by the end of February. His $676,000 taxpayer-funded contract ended at the end of December, but his attempts to subpoena state and local elections officials and the mayors of Madison and Green Bay — Democratic cities won by Biden — have been hung up in courts.

Gableman, meanwhile, asked courts to jail the mayors, the Democratic chair of the elections commission and other election officials for not cooperating.

Others subpoenaed by Gableman, including the Nebraska-based voting machine company Election Systems & Software, said they would not cooperate. Gableman rescinded subpoenas to the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera after it also sued to block them.

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