Vos withdraws subpoenas, ending Wisconsin election inquiry

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s Republican Assembly leader on Friday withdrew subpoenas submitted as part of a GOP-led investigation into the 2020 election, marking the end of a 14-month endeavor that yielded no evidence of election fraud.

Speaker Robin Vos withdrew subpoenas that Michael Gableman, the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice he hired to look into the results of the 2020 election, submitted to mayors and other officials across the state. Vos, the state’s most powerful Republican, fired Gableman two weeks ago after narrowly winning a primary election against a Donald Trump-backed political newcomer.

Vos also withdrew subpoenas issued to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, its administrator, IT director and a commission member.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway was among the city officials who were subpoenaed. Upon the withdrawal, City Attorney Michael Haas said in a statement that the investigation did nothing but harm public confidence in elections “despite wasting over one million dollars of taxpayer funds.”

Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, sounded a similar note.

“Last fall, I called for this fake investigation to be shut down and we challenged several subpoenas,” Kaul tweeted. “While it shouldn’t have taken nearly this long, I’m glad the ‘investigation’ has ended, and the subpoenas have finally been withdrawn.”

Gableman’s attorney, James Bopp, told The Associated Press that Vos withdrew all of the subpoenas that Gableman had submitted.

“The last part of the investigation was seeking compliance with the subpoenas and now they’ve been withdrawn, so the investigation is over,” Bopp said.

President Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes has withstood recounts, multiple state and federal lawsuits and several reviews, including Gableman’s investigation, which drew bipartisan criticism for the way it was conducted.

Among the subpoenas withdrawn was one submitted to Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, whom Gableman sought to jail alongside Rhodes-Conway with a lawsuit filed last December that alleged they had failed to comply with his subpoenas. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday to determine the status of that lawsuit.

Genrich’s office did not immediately respond to Friday afternoon phone messages seeking comment.

“Speaker Vos has finally recognized that this cynical and divisive exercise should be ended,” Haas said.

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This story was first published on August 26, 2022. It was updated on August 29, 2022, to correct that only one member of the Wisconsin Election Commission had been subpoenaed, not two as initially stated.

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Harm Venhuizen is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Harm on Twitter.

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