Rep. Janel Brandtjen | Facebook
Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R – Menomonee Falls) addressed Assembly Republicans’ vote to bar her from closed caucus meetings in a statement Wednesday.
A letter — first obtained by WisPolitics — dated Nov. 11 and written by majority caucus chair Rob Summerfield (R – Bloomer), offered few specifics but said the caucus took the vote because they lost trust in the lawmaker due to continual issues.
“Yesterday, at our caucus, the members voted to no longer allow you to participate in closed caucus. The continual issues from the past have led our caucus to lose trust in you. For this reason, this vote was taken,” the letter reads.
“There was no specification as to what these ‘continual issues’ were, and neither Rep Summerfield, nor any other caucus leaders, had the integrity to discuss this with me either in person, privately, or in caucus last week,” Brandtjen wrote in the statement.
Brantjen’s statement follows some back and forth over the lawmaker’s status. A conservative talk radio host reported that GOP leaders were barring Brandtjen last week, however, Brandtjen initially denied it, saying she left the caucus meeting early because of family commitments.
“I’m assuming this is in regards to my role as Chairperson of the Committee on Campaigns and Elections and my continuing work to strengthen voting integrity in Wisconsin. It appears caucus leadership is simply too uncomfortable to address the current voting issues,” Brandtjen wrote Wednesday.
Brandtjen identified the mailing of military ballots to her house by a Milwaukee clerk, who was subsequently fired and charged with a felony after getting caught falsely requesting the ballots, and an earlier incident where a conservative conspiracy theorist requested ballots under elected officials’ names to try to expose flaws in the system, as examples.
Brandtjen had supported Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ write-in challenger in the Nov. 8 election, Adam Steen. Vos won reelection by a wide margin.
“Removing me from caucus will not stop the ongoing voting issues that plague our state, but it does prove that many members of the caucus are willing to ignore their constituents to stay in good standing with caucus leadership and keep their committee chairmanships,” Brandtjen said.
Brandtjen said she will continue to represent her district and continue addressing voting integrity despite the “petty actions of caucus leadership.”
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