Former Justice Michael Gableman | Screenshot from YouTube
A series of documents released by a liberal government watchdog group show the high salaries for the staff of Michael Gableman’s taxpayer-funded, partisan review of the 2020 presidential election.
The documents, obtained by American Oversight after an open-records lawsuit against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), begin to shed light on the expenses for former Supreme Court Justice Gableman’s review — which was initially given a $676,000 budget and supposed to end by November.
Gableman’s staff, which includes members of former President Donald Trump’s administration, conspiracy theorists and people who have falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen, are receiving high pay to dig through election records in search of wrongdoing. Gableman himself is earning $11,000 a month while some staff members, including former White House attorney Andrew Kloster, are making up to $5,000 a month or $450 an hour.
Ron Heuer, president of a group that sued to overturn the results of the election, is making $3,250 a month. Arkansas-based attorney Clint Lancaster is making $10,000 a month while other staff members, including a former Milwaukee Police detective, are earning $40 an hour.
The documents released by American Oversight also show that the review staff have been in contact with conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell. Gableman and his staff also visited the site of an “audit” in Arizona and a “symposium” run by Lindell in South Dakota. Taxpayers have covered thousands for travel expenses.
The documents show that Gableman has spent $175,500 of his budget with most of that going to staff salaries. The review has also racked up thousands of dollars in bills for travel expenses and office supplies.
Gableman and multiple members of his staff have made the false claim that Trump won the 2020 election. Joe Biden won Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes.
The review has been criticized for making amateur mistakes, being a waste of taxpayer money and harming trust in the state’s elections.
It took a turn into what opponents describe as absurd last week when Gableman requested a Waukesha County judge to have the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office arrest the mayors of Green Bay and Madison for failing to appear to testify.
The testimony of local and state election officials has been a source of contention with multiple court battles occurring at once. Officials have said they’d be glad to testify in a public forum while Gableman insists he must question them in private. The state statute that allows legislative committees to appoint special counsels to conduct investigations requires any testimony to be taken in public.
Attorney General Josh Kaul has filed a lawsuit against Gableman and his attempt to subpoena Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe while an attorney for the mayor of Green Bay has threatened to file for sanctions against Gableman over his attempt to arrest the mayors.
Those cases have hearings scheduled for Dec. 22 and 23.
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