Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Robert Spindell speaks at a Dec. 8 Stop the Steal rally. (Henry Redman | Wisconsin Examiner)
The Wisconsin Elections Commission unanimously decided not to sanction 10 Republicans who falsely posed as electoral college voters after the 2020 presidential election, according to a letter released Tuesday.
In the weeks after Donald Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden was confirmed, groups of Republicans met in Biden-won states across the country to cast electoral votes and send the results to the National Archives. These actions, which served as a catalyst for the Jan. 6 insurrection and the attempt to stop the certification of the election results, have been scrutinized by Democrats who say the falsely cast electoral votes constitute fraud.
A complaint was filed against the 10 Wisconsin Republicans, alleging they committed election fraud. The lawyers who filed the complaint have also urged the U.S. Department of Justice and multiple county district attorneys’ offices to pursue criminal charges.
In a closed session on March 9, the WEC’s six members voted that the complaint “does not raise a reasonable suspicion that the respondents violated Wisconsin election law.” Participating in the 6-0 vote was Republican-appointed Robert Spindell, who was one of the 10 Republicans who cast a false electoral vote.
Jeff Mandell, an attorney for progressive legal organization Law Forward, which filed the complaint, says it’s unbelievable that Spindell would have a vote in a case in which he is involved.
“It’s inexplicable and egregious,” Mandell says. “It is contrary to the most fundamental principles of justice for someone to get to be both the accused and the judge.
Another false elector was Andrew Hitt, who at the time was the chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Hitt has since been subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the capitol.
Mandell, who added that an appeal of the WEC decision is still being considered, says the fight over the false electors isn’t over.
“The elections commission did not say that what the fraudulent electors did was totally fine,” Mandell says. “They said it didn’t violate Wisconsin’s election laws. The memo goes out of its way to list a whole bunch of laws it is not deciding whether they violated or not. The elections commission was only one of several avenues that we were using to seek accountability. This is far from over and we’re assessing all of our options in the big picture.”
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