GOP to spend “$680,000, at least, to start” in hunt for disproven “steal”

By: - August 25, 2021 3:06 pm

Steve Bannon and Reince Preibus on ‘Bannons War Room’ podcast | screenshot

On Wednesday dueling releases from the Republican and Democratic leaders of the state Assembly addressed the election audit that Speaker Robin Vos assured former President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 election, he would perform while riding  on Trump’s plane to a rally on Saturday.

The so-called audit is part of the project for which Vos hired former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman: to investigate the Wisconsin vote in that election. The Wisconsin election has already been proven in courts, two recounts, machine audits and committee investigations to be fair and accurate. Additionally, Republicans have asked the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau to do another audit that is still underway.

Vos’ release Wednesday said nothing he has not already said multiple times, other than to point out that it was being put out by the entire Assembly GOP, not just his office.

“Assembly Republicans have been working with Justice Gableman to conduct a swift, complete and thorough investigation,” the release on behalf of all the Republican members of the Assembly stated. “Part of our discussion has been focused on hiring independent contractors to enhance our efforts. We believe a cyber-forensic audit is necessary to ensure issues did not happen in 2020. We have allocated additional resources to Justice Gableman to ensure this investigation gets to the truth.”

Assembly Democratic leader Gordon Hintz put out a release 45 minutes later, drawing attention to an estimate (first reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) from former Trump chief-of-staff and GOP party leader Reince Priebus that the Wisconsin election investigation would cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Priebus offered the estimate in an episode of a podcast hosted by former chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon. On his ‘Bannons War Room’ podcast, Bannon falsely asserted that “the most clear-cut steal is Wisconsin.” Nodding, Priebus said, “I think the bill is going to fund $680,000, at least, to start.”

Calling Bannon “disgraced” and an “alt-right extremist,” Hintz pointed out that there is no question about the results and integrity of Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election:

“There was never a question about the results and the integrity of the 2020 election. The only question was whether Republican leadership would kiss the ring of Donald Trump and embrace the Big Lie to undermine our democracy. 

“Let’s be clear,” continued Hintz. “This dangerous game being played by Robin Vos and other Wisconsin Republicans is part of a coordinated and well-funded national effort, with the ultimate goal being to undermine and overturn future elections.”

Preibus also stated there would be more “outside money coming into Wisconsin.” He added that the Wisconsin Republican legislators would also be bringing in “Dr. Shiva,” the moniker of V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai, given to him by his conspiracy theory fans. Ayyadurai has promoted discredited and false medical claims and run unsuccessfully twice for the Senate in Massachusetts, where he accused election officials of deleting millions of ballots. He has also had his account suspended by Twitter and claimed Dr. Anthony Fauci is a “deep state plant” who should be fired. 

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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.