The haphazard, year-old investigation was marked by meetings with conspiracy theorists, violations of state public records laws, and a call from Gableman to investigate the legally impossible task of decertifying the election results. It revealed no evidence of widespread fraud, although Trump and Gableman tried to suggest otherwise.
“After many members of our caucus have contacted me in the past few days, it is more than clear to me that we have only one choice in this matter, and that is to close the special counsel’s office,” Vos said in a written statement. declaration. pronunciation.
Vos has a difficult relationship with Trump, who supported the Wisconsin review but repeatedly urged Vos to move on. Last week, Trump and Gableman backed the longtime speaker’s Republican primary opponent, with the former president holding a rally urging voters to throw Vos out.
Vos won the primary against Adam Steen on Tuesday, but narrowly, with 51 percent of the vote. Steen had called for the election to be decertified, calling Vos, one of the most powerful Republicans in Wisconsin, a traitor.
The firing marked the end of a saga that began in June 2021 when Fox, acting under pressure from Trump, announced at the state Republican Party annual convention that he had hired Gableman. The retired judge had previously claimed without proof that the election had been stolen.
Gableman took months to set up his office and spent the early phase of his review doing research online from a public library in suburban Milwaukee. He visited the site of an often-criticized GOP-led Arizona voting review and attended a seminar in South Dakota hosted by Mike Lindell, the director of MyPillow who has made false claims about the 2020 election.
Continuing his review, Gableman claimed he acted impartially while attending Republican Party events and called for the resignation of a Republican state senator who denounced his review as a charade. Gableman criticized the way the impartial director of the state election commission dresses and monitored the social media posts of others. He or one of his associates drafted a memo speculating that a Milwaukee city employee was a Democrat because she had a nose ring, loved snakes, and lived with her boyfriend.
Gableman released a report in March calling on lawmakers to consider withdrawing the state’s 10 electoral votes for Joe Biden, who defeated Trump in Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes. Vos has long opposed that idea because election experts — including Gableman’s own attorney, James Bopp Jr. – have discovered that there is no way to legally perform that task.
Gableman acknowledged that his suggestion was a “practical impossibility” two weeks later in a private memo to Fox that came to light this month.
Vos forced Gableman to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of his trip to a partisan event, but publicly tolerated much of Gableman’s approach to the review. That changed after Gableman endorsed Steen and ended a robocall in which he said Vos “never wanted a real investigation.”
Gableman continued in an appearance Monday on former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon’s podcast, in which he alleged that Fox had played a role in stealing the 2020 election (Recounts and court rulings in Wisconsin have confirmed the victory of Biden confirmed and independent reviews found no signs of significant voter fraud.)
“[Vos] oversaw the implementation of all the odious device the Wisconsin Elections Commission used to steal the election — and I’m not even going to say about any particular candidate. I’m going to say they stole it from the voters and good citizens of the state of Wisconsin,” Gableman said.
Gableman said Vos feared he would accept public criticism if he more vigorously challenged the state’s electoral system and claimed Vos told him he wanted to downplay election issues.
“What he told me was that he didn’t think the issue of election integrity would be a successful political platform for him or other Republicans to run on and so he wanted to keep all discussion and behavior to a minimum before the election.  election,” Gableman said.
With his probe, Gableman found little new information. The reports he wrote mainly echoed the findings of conservative groups who criticized the conduct of the elections during the coronavirus pandemic.
Vos initially gave Gableman a taxpayer-funded budget of $676,000, but Vos and Gableman quickly blew it when their legal bills mounted. The two lost a string of verdicts and were found with contempt of court after liberal watchdog group American Oversight charged them under the state’s open records law.
Vos telegraphed Gableman’s resignation after he scored his primary win, telling reporters Tuesday night, “He’s an embarrassment to the state.”