Rep. Timothy Ramthun | official legislative photo
State Rep. Tim Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) on Tuesday began looking for co-sponsors for a bill that would impeach Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) Administrator Meagan Wolfe for “corrupt conduct in office.” Ramthun is one of the most right-wing members of the Legislature and a former Republican candidate for governor who ran largely on a platform of 2020 election denialism. The bill is largely a rehashing of the many Republican complaints about the administration of the 2020 election and the WEC itself.
Numerous lawsuits, recounts, audits and reviews have affirmed that the 2020 election was won by Joe Biden. Government officials, news media and others have repeatedly proven that the Republican complaints about the 2020 election did not change the result.
The 22-page bill includes references to many of the characters and actions that election conspiracists have focused on as evidence that Wolfe acted wrongfully. In some of the cases, the decision she’s accused of making corruptly was actually the responsibility of the six appointed members of the WEC.
The bill points to the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, the acceptance of outside grant money by mostly Democratic cities to aid election administration, the decision by the six commissioners to forgo sending voting assistants into nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of an online portal to allow requests of absentee ballots as evidence of Wolfe’s corruption.
Wolfe was appointed as administrator of the commission in February of 2018. She was unanimously confirmed to the position by the state Senate in May 2019 after previously serving as the agency’s deputy administrator and IT director.
In the wake of Republican conspiracy claims about the 2020 election, Wolfe, the state’s chief election official, has become a regular target. Republican attacks against her have occasionally turned personal, with Michael Gableman, the former Supreme Court Justice charged with investigating the election, often making fun of her personal appearance.
Despite the attacks, Wolfe has repeatedly insisted that the only way to counter them is to provide election deniers with accurate information about how elections are conducted.
Since the 2020 election, Ramthun has been unable to garner widespread support in the Legislature for his election related legislation. He’s spent much of the last year attempting to attract co-sponsors for a bill that would decertify the results of the election — an action legal experts say is impossible and unconstitutional. So far, he’s only been able to get two other legislators to sign on, Reps. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) and Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego).
Ramthun’s co-sponsorship memo gives legislators until Oct. 21 to sign on.
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