Dane County judge says Gableman has ‘run amok’

By: - May 20, 2022 2:04 pm
Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman leads the partisan review of the 2020 election. (YouTube | Office of the Special Counsel)

Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in a video promoting the partisan review of the 2020 election. (YouTube | Office of the Special Counsel)

A Dane County judge said on Thursday that the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice conducting a partisan review of the 2020 presidential election has “run amok” and “gone rogue” as he continues to disregard the state’s open records laws. 

In a hearing on Thursday, Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn was exasperated as an attorney for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said the speaker was unable to force Gableman to turn documents over to the court. 

“What you’re telling me is Mr. Vos hired a contractor who should be under his control and direction and he’s just run amok and is flatly refusing to follow any of the court’s guidance or orders that subject Mr. Vos to liability,” Bailey-Rihn said. 

The comments came in a hearing over one of several lawsuits about requests for records made to Gableman’s Office of Special Counsel by the government watchdog group American Oversight. Gableman has repeatedly disregarded open records requests and his lawyer previously told a different judge that he regularly deletes records he deems “irrelevant” to his review — which has turned up nothing more than baseless accusations of election fraud. 

Countless reviews, audits, recounts and lawsuits have confirmed that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. Despite this, Vos gave Gableman a $676,000 budget last summer to search for evidence of fraud. Gableman’s review has been repeatedly extended past its initial deadline, though it’s now on “pause” as several lawsuits work their way through the court system. 

Bailey-Rihn also said that Gableman had “gone rogue” after Vos’ attorney told her he didn’t have the authority to search Gableman’s phone or computer. 

“That leads me to think they’re hiding something or they don’t want to tell this court that they’ve turned over all the records because they haven’t,” she said.

Bailey-Rihn, who in March found Vos in contempt of court for the Assembly’s handling of records related to the Gableman probe and previously issued an order that Gableman stop deleting records, ordered Gableman to sign an affidavit that he has fully complied with the American Oversight records requests. She issued a warning to Vos that she’d start instituting monetary fines if answers from Gableman didn’t come. 

“I still don’t have anything from Mr. Gableman as to what the heck he did,” Bailey-Rihn said. “And no one has given me any evidence that, yes, we have complied with the open records request.”


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.