Another Judge Awards Taxpayer-Funded Attorney Fees in Wisconsin Election Review Open Files Case | local government

The Wisconsin taxpayer bill for the GOP-ordered review of the 2020 presidential election continues to climb after a Dane County judge ordered the former state Supreme Court justice leading the to pay $163,000 in legal fees in an open-file case related to the investigation.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington on Monday ordered the Office of Special Counsel led by Michael Gableman to pay the liberal watchdog group American Oversight more than $160,000 in attorney fees and other costs. The judge’s decision comes after finding that Gableman violated state public records law by failing to adequately respond to the organization’s records requests related to the review.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, hired Gableman last summer at a cost of $676,000 following pressure from former President Donald Trump, who continues to make unsubstantiated allegations of widespread fraud during elections that are now 20 months old. Legal fees, including the $450 an hour billed by attorney James Bopp to represent Gableman in the case before Remington, and other court costs drove the price up to more than $1.1 million. dollars – all of which will ultimately fall on taxpayers.

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Remington’s decision comes days after a similar order in a separate case by Dane County Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn that the Assembly must pay nearly $100,000 to cover attorney fees after finding Your in contempt for violating the state public records law.

Bailey-Rihn said last week that the case found “absolutely no evidence of voter fraud”.

A recount, court rulings and multiple reviews have claimed President Joe Biden beat the former Trump by an estimated 21,000 votes in the state’s 2020 presidential election. Only 24 of the nearly 3.3 million people who voted have been charged with voter fraud in Wisconsin.

Gableman testified in June that he spent most of July and August of last year learning about the Wisconsin elections at a public library in New Berlin because he did not own a personal computer. He also attended two meetings, including one hosted by MyPillow CEO and Holocaust denier Mike Lindell.

Gableman also used his personal Yahoo email account for the first two months of his review, before receiving an official email address. Gableman said he asked a staff member to delete the personal account last August, after a request for registration was filed, and said those documents could not be retrieved. Gableman and his attorneys said the Office of Special Counsel routinely deletes emails and documents deemed irrelevant to the taxpayer-funded review.

American Oversight filed four separate open cases related to the review against Vos, the State Assembly and Gableman.

Earlier this year, Remington scorned Gableman’s office after the former judge refused to testify and accused Remington of being a partisan “lawyer.”

Remington ordered Gableman to be fined $2,000 a day until he complied. Gableman has appealed the decision and is seeking a review by a three-judge panel at the Wisconsin District 2 Court of Appeals in Waukesha.

Remington also directed Gableman’s “sneering” conduct in the judge’s courtroom to the office that regulates Wisconsin lawyers and judges for possible action against his license to practice law.

Former Milwaukee attorney Kevin Kelsay, whose own attorney’s license was suspended, filed a similar complaint against Gableman with the Office of Attorney Retention last month, alleging that Gableman “engaged in a conduct which renders him unfit to retain his license to practice law”. in Wisconsin.” Kelsay claimed Gableman broke the rules for attorneys by making false statements related to his investigation, including accusations that members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission helped steal Biden’s election. .

Julie Spoke, OLR’s director of central admissions, wrote in a letter to Kelsay last Thursday that the office is “already receiving information about this” and will not pursue Kelsay’s complaint, according to a copy of the letter provided by Kelsay.

“We will review the information you provided to determine if it warrants further action by our office,” Spoke added.

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