Vos again ordered to turn over 2020 election probe records

November 5, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge said Friday that Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has 10 days to turn over records about a secretive review of the 2020 election that Republicans have been conducting for months.

Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn accused Vos of trying to hide records by changing who was technically responsible for the information. She ordered Vos to provide records that were created between May and late August.

It was the same order Bailey-Rihn issued in October when she told Vos he could either release the records or come back in another month and state his case. After those arguments were rejected Friday, Vos attorney Ronald Stadler said it would be up to Vos and Assembly Republicans to decide whether to appeal the decision, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

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The group reviewing the election has a taxpayer-funded budget of $676,000 and is headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who claimed without evidence last year that the presidential election was stolen. Joe Biden’s roughly 21,000 vote win over Donald Trump has withstood recounts and multiple court rulings. There was no widespread fraud.

The liberal group American Oversight filed a series of requests for records this summer, but Vos and others did not produce all of them. The group has sued twice for their release. Similar records requests filed by The Associated Press and other news outlets have also not been fulfilled.

Vos argued the group had sued the wrong person because the records in question are held by the newly created Office of Special Counsel that Gableman oversees.

Bailey-Rihn said Friday that Vos had given up his opportunity to argue that he could withhold a subset of the documents because of attorney-client privilege or other reasons. Essentially, she said, he waited too long.

“These need to be produced unless there is a darn good reason why not and I don’t see one at this point,” Bailey-Rihn said.