Gableman sends subpoenas to Milwaukee, Green Bay officials

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The former state Supreme Court justice leading Assembly Republicans’ probe of the 2020 election has sent subpoenas to Milwaukee and Green Bay officials demanding information about private donations they used to run their voting operations.

Michael Gableman sent subpoenas to Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall Vogg and Green Bay City Clerk Celestine Jeffreys on Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The subpoenas seek documents related to grants from the Center for Tech and Civic Life.

That group gave more than $10 million to more than 200 Wisconsin communities last year to help cover election costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the money went to the state’s five largest cities, drawing criticism from Republicans that the money was meant to boost turnout in areas that lean Democratic.

The subpoenas command Woodall Vogg and Jeffreys to appear before Gableman in Brookfield on Oct. 15 with their documents.

Jeffreys told the Journal Sentinel that her lawyer is reviewing her subpoena but that most of what Gableman wants has already been released publicly. No one immediately responded to an email The Associated Press sent to the Milwaukee Election Commission’s general inbox seeking comment.

A recount and court decisions have affirmed that President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in Wisconsin by almost 21,000 votes. Only four voters out of roughly 3 million who cast ballots have been charged with fraud.

Regardless, Trump still refuses to concede defeat and has pressured GOP legislators to investigate election fraud. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired Gableman in June at a cost of nearly $680,000 in taxpayer money to conduct the investigation.

Gableman released a video last month saying he’s not trying to overturn the election results. But he told a group of Trump supporters in November that he thought the election was stolen and a former Trump official appears to be working with him on the investigation.

The probe has drawn bipartisan criticism, with Republican state Sen. Kathy Bernier, chair of the Senate elections committee, saying there’s no reason to spread misinformation about the election.

Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen, chair of the Assembly elections committee, filed her own subpoenas seeking ballots, voting machines and other data from Milwaukee and Brown counties. But Vos declined to sign them, rendering them invalid.

Vos did sign Gableman’s subpoenas. He issued a statement saying Gableman is “dedicated to finding the truth.”

Republican lawmakers also have ordered the Legislative Audit Bureau to review the election.