MADISON, Wis. (AP) — 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. Reviews and court decisions have confirmed Biden won the state by about 21,000 votes and have found no evidence of the sort of widespread fraud that might 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.
The liberal group American Oversight has filed three lawsuit 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 own lawsuit seeking to jail Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, three mayor and others whom Gableman maintains have refused to cooperate with him.
Vos paused the investigation in May to let the lawsuits proceed. He cut Gableman’s salary in half, from $11,000 a month to $5,500.