Election Commissioner Bob Spindell can vote whether or not to investigate himself for election fraud

    Wisconsin election rally Spindell
    Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Robert Spindell speaks at a Dec. 8 Stop the Steal rally. (Henry Redman | Wisconsin Examiner)

    Republican elections commissioner Robert Spindell, who has been accused by Law Forward of fraudulently casting an Electoral College vote for former President Donald Trump, will have a say in the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) decision over whether or not he should be investigated, unless he recuses himself due to a conflict of interest. 

    Spindell and nine others, including Wisconsin Republican Party chair Andrew Hitt, met on Dec. 14 to cast Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes for Trump, even though Joe Biden won Wisconsin and was awarded the state’s votes.  

    Progressive legal outfit Law Forward wrote a letter to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and sent a complaint to the Elections Commission alleging that the actions of Spindell, Hitt and others was a violation of state law. 

    The Milwaukee County DA has the authority to decide whether or not to file criminal charges against the group and the WEC has the authority to decide whether or not to investigate the allegations made in the complaint. 

    The Elections Commission, created by Wisconsin’s Republican-held Legislature, must reach a majority vote on a motion to investigate the claims. Spindell will have a vote on the commission’s decision to investigate him. Any motion that receives a tied vote fails — which happens often on a six person body divided evenly between Republican and Democratic commissioners. 

    The commission’s deliberations about complaints are confidential and the vote is taken in closed session. State law includes provisions for how WEC should respond if an election official is accused of violating election laws, but not when accusations are made against a commissioner. 

    WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe, in a virtual press conference Feb. 16, did not say what she thought about the allegations against Spindell. When asked, Wolfe only outlined the process by which the commission will consider the complaint. 

    “Complaints that are filed that allege any sort of fraud are considered by the commission, under section 5.05 those are confidential and the only information that can be released about those complaints are once the commission has met to consider voted or moved on an action,” she said. “The commission will consider any complaints that have been brought before them and in accordance with the law, we’d release those findings after they’ve made a motion.”

    Spindell was one of Wisconsin’s Republican officials who was most vocal in the attempt to overturn the results of the election. He appeared at a rally in December with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell — a conspiracy theorist who has since been sued for defamation over his claims of election fraud.

    Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.