Vos, Assembly ordered to release election investigation documents

By: - November 7, 2021 7:57 pm
Gavel courtroom sitting vacant

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On Friday the Dane County Circuit Court ordered the Wisconsin State Assembly and Robin Vos to release records related to the Assembly’s investigation of the 2020 election. The watchdog group American Oversight had filed the lawsuit in circuit court after Vos refused to release the records in response to an open records request. Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn gave Vos and the Assembly 10 days to release the records held by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who was appointed by Vos to conduct the election investigation.

Attorneys for Vos and the Assembly argued that they should not have to turn over the records because Gableman, as head of the “office of special counsel” is the custodian of the records and the only one who can respond to the request. 

Attorneys from the Pines Bach, arguing for American Oversight, pointed to Wisconsin open records law which holds that authorities are responsible for records produced by contractors that they hire. In ordering Vos and the Assembly to release the records, the judge accused them of playing a “shell game” and coming up with shifting reasons for not releasing them.

Vos announced the election investigation on May 26 and created the office of special counsel on August 27. The court ordered all records created prior to August 27 to be released. 


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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Her book "Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers" won the 2022 Studs and Ida Terkel Award from The New Press.