Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is the sole defendant in another lawsuit seeking to obtain documents related to the ongoing election review into the 2020 presidential election.
W-O-R-T reporter Karoliina Bursian has the story.
Earlier this month, a national watchdog group filed a lawsuit against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the Wisconsin Assembly for failing to turn over documents related to the ongoing review of last year’s presidential election.
And today, that same group filed another lawsuit for the same reason — this time, Speaker Vos is the sole defendant.
The suit alleges that Speaker Vos has delayed the release of documents — and that the records that were received under the records request, were irrelevant.
Austin Evers is the executive director of American Oversight, the watchdog group bringing both lawsuits.
Director Evers said, “The Assembly has produced some records in response to American Oversight open records request. But, with respect to the ones that are in our lawsuit, we have not received adequate responses. So, that’s why we have a right to sue under state law. And the Assembly and Speaker Vos have an obligation to turn documents over.”
But Speaker Vos maintains that the records should be withheld until the election review is completed, likening it to a district attorney releasing records in the middle of a murder investigation.
Director Evers said that this indicates Vos’s viewpoint on the entire investigation.
“I think that should tell you everything about how he sees his basic transparency obligation, and really sheds light on what he thinks this investigation by Justice Gableman is looking for. He likened it to a criminal investigation. I think we need to learn a lot more about what is going on,” according to Evers.
The $676,000 election review is funded by taxpayers. A recent memo from legislative attorneys indicates that records related to the investigation – spearheaded by former supreme court justice Michael Gableman – are subject to Wisconsin’s public records laws.
A hearing to determine whether a court can order previously-requested records is slated for November 5th. Director Evers says that this hearing should show how the open records law should work, saying: “Fundamentally, what I hope people realize is that what you are seeing in that court order is the rule of law working. There are statutes on the books that give the public a right to access the Assembly’s files including the files of Justice Gableman. And the Assembly has not met its obligation to turn those over.”
American Oversight says their goal is to release the documents, if delivered, to the public.
The election audit into the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin is still ongoing. It was originally planned to be done by the end of October; This morning, Speaker Vos told Wisconsin Public Radio that now the investigation will be completed before the end of the year.
Image Courtesy: Chali Pittman / WORT News