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Josh Kaul
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, called for a Republican-ordered investigation into the 2020 presidential election to be shut down, Monday, Oct. 11, during a news conference at the Department of Justice headquarters in Madison. (AP photo: Scott Bauer)

Wisconsin AG seeks to block election-probe subpoenas

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul asked a court to block subpoenas issued by an attorney hired by Republicans to lead an investigation into the 2020 presidential election that was won by President Joe Biden.

Kaul, a Democrat, asked a Dane County judge on Thursday to block the subpoenas sent to state elections officials by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. He was hired to look into the election by Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Kaul represents the Wisconsin Elections Commission and its administrator, Meagan Wolfe. She was among those subpoenaed by Gableman, who originally said he was going to interview Wolfe, mayors of the state’s five largest cities and other local elections officials in private. He later agreed to cancel those interviews for now and accept a limited amount of documents from Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Kenosha and Green Bay.

Kaul, in his court filing, argues that the subpoenas are unenforceable under both the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions as well as under state law. Kaul said the subpoenas are not valid because he wants to interview Wolfe in private, rather than in front of the committee.

Kaul also argued that the subpoenas were too broad and vague and they were issued in the name of the Assembly elections committee. The chair of that committee, Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen, has said that Gableman is not consulting with her about his investigation.

Gableman did not immediately respond to a message Friday seeking comment.

Kaul last week called the Gableman probe a “fake” investigation that should be halted.

The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau is doing a second, independent review of the election and is expected to release its findings soon. Vos, meanwhile, said he doesn’t expect Gableman to complete his work until the end of the year. Unlike the review conducted by Gableman, who is reporting to Vos, the audit bureau’s review was ordered by Republicans but is being conducted independently of any involvement by either political party.

Wisconsin is one of several states pursuing investigations  into the 2020 presidential election amid unfounded claims by former President Donald Trump and many Republicans that the election was “stolen.”

Vos ordered the investigation after Trump criticized him for doing too little to scrutinize how Wisconsin’s election was run. Democrats have sharply criticized that inquiry as a taxpayer-funded farce, noting remarks by Gableman before he was appointed to lead the probe that the election had been stolen.

Biden’s roughly 21,000-vote win over Trump in Wisconsin has withstood recounts and multiple court rulings. There was no widespread fraud. To date, only four Wisconsin voters out of about 3.3 million who cast ballots in the election have been charged with election fraud.

 

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