Madison, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s Republican Party chairman on Friday wrapped up a 14-month, taxpayer-funded investigation. By firing his hand-picked investigator in the 2020 election. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos fired Michael Gableman three days after the lawmaker narrowly survived a primary challenge from an opponent endorsed by former President Donald Trump and Gableman.
Although Gableman found no evidence of widespread fraud during his investigation, he joined Trump in calling for lawmakers to consider confirming the 2020 election. – Voss and the legal experts say it is unconstitutional and impossible.
Vos announced the investigation last year under pressure from Trump and chose Gableman, a conservative former Supreme Court justice, to lead it. But as the investigation progressed, Vos’ relationship with both Cableman and Trump weakened.
When he hired Cableman, Voss said he was “very confident” in his abilities. By Tuesday night, Voss called him an “embarrassment.”
“After many of our team members have contacted me over the past several days, it is not clear to me that we have only one option in this matter, and that is to close the Office of Special Counsel,” Voss said Friday. A report originally published by The Associated Press.
Cableman repeated Trump’s lies Vos has said the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” and “never wanted a real investigation.” He and his attorney, James Pope, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
His trial drew bipartisan scorn, and his firing drew bipartisan praise.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers was highly critical of Gableman and the investigation. Spokesman Brit Kudback responded with one word: “Finally.”
“It’s a good result. Six months ago it would have been a better result,” said Republican state Sen. Cathy Bernier, the chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee, who said she had “zero respect for Michael Gableman.”
Vos has repeatedly said the goal of the investigation is not to subvert the 2020 election, a move Gableman acknowledged in a private memo to Vos was impossible. Gableman’s attorney, Bob, also told lawmakers That certification is “meaningless.”
Vos said those concerned about election integrity should continue to focus on defeating Evers, who vetoed changes that Republicans wanted. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michaels supports disbanding the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission and has said he would have signed bills vetoed by Evers.
Michaels’ counsel, Chris Walker, declined to comment on Gableman’s firing.
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, which has survived lawsuits, recounts, reviews, and audits in addition to Gableman’s own investigation.
Unhappy with how he was treated by Vos, Gableman’s public comments, criticizing the speaker as much as Trump, have escalated. In April, Cableman called for pressure on Voss to extend the former judge’s contract. Voss did so — taking a cut from his starting salary of $11,000 a month. Voss suspended the investigation In May, settlement of pending cases.
Their relationship reached a tipping point when both Trump and Cableman endorsed Vos’ primary opponent, leading to a tighter-than-expected race. Vos won by 260 votes. Vos said his victory shows that “lawmakers don’t have to be a lapdog to whatever Donald Trump says.”
Cableman also faces legal trouble.
On Tuesday, a judge must decide whether Gableman is in contempt of court For noncompliance with the state’s open records law. Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington issued his contempt order to the Lawyers Disciplinary Board for possible further action, including suspension or revocation of Gableman’s law license.
This is one of the six pending cases related to the investigation.
Attorneys’ fees awarded The total tab for Gableman’s investigation so far, all paid for by taxpayers, is more than $1.1 million.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said he was glad Vos decided to stop what he called “a colossal waste of tax dollars to promote a big lie.”
“What we knew before this started remains true today: that our elections are free, fair and secure, and that the results of our elections reflect the will of the voters,” said Kaul, who has pending cases against Gableman.
Gableman used the study to raise his national profile. He offered a prayer at Trump’s Wisconsin rally this month and has been a regular on conservative talk radio, where he has disparaged Wisconsin’s chief electoral officer. Clothes.
Cableman faced criticism for poor expense records and confusing emails. A meeting with conspiracy theorists, including MyPillow administrator Mike Lindell, and basic errors, including several typos. For example, in records released during the trials, Gableman and his team routinely misspell Voss as “Vos.”
Democratic state senate. Melissa Agard said it was “past time” that Cableman was fired.
“I’m glad that Speaker Vos stopped the bleeding of these tax dollars going into a bogus investigation,” he added.
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