GOP election investigation costs rise to nearly $900,000

Posted at 7:50 AM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 08:50:15-04

WISCONSIN — The cost of Wisconsin Republicans' investigation of the 2020 presidential election results has risen to nearly $900,000, about $220,000 more than initially budgeted.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos initially budgeted about $676,000 for the probe. But the investigation has sparked five lawsuits. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday that invoices released under Wisconsin's open records law show the lawsuits have helped push the cost to about $896,500.

Vos hired retired state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in 2021 to investigate whether Joe Biden had somehow stolen Wisconsin from Donald Trump. Multiple reviews and court decisions have confirmed Biden won the state by about 21,000 votes and found no widespread fraud that may have tilted the outcome. Still, Trump pressured Vos to investigate.

Vos spokeswoman Angela Joyce told the Journal Sentinel that the speaker didn't consider the legal costs to be part of Gableman's budget.

Liberal group American Oversight has filed three lawsuits seeking records from the investigation. Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has filed a lawsuit contending that Gableman can't force officials into depositions. Gableman has filed his own lawsuit seeking to jail Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, three mayors and others whom Gableman maintains have refused to cooperate with him.

Vos paused the investigation in May to let the lawsuits payout. He cut Gableman's salary in half, from $11,000 a month to $5,500.

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