Fresh turmoil hits Wisconsin GOP 'audit' as lawyer says he has 'no idea' if auditor is complying with records requests
On Monday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that an attorney representing Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has admitted to not monitoring whether Michael Gableman, a pro-Trump former state Supreme Court justice conducting a partisan "audit" of the state's 2020 election, is properly complying with an open records request.
"The testimony from Vos' staff attorney, Steve Fawcett, caught the attention of Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn, who started the day's proceedings by saying she didn't understand why Republicans have provided so few records in response to requests from American Oversight," reported Patrick Marley. "Gableman's initial contract with the Assembly requires him to keep a weekly report of the findings of his review. Gableman publicly released a report in November but has never made available any weekly reports. Asked if Gableman has been writing weekly reports, Fawcett said, 'I have no idea.'"
Vos tried earlier this month to block a deposition over the records dispute, but was denied by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
"Assembly Republicans last summer hired former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to look into the election. His work is expected to cost taxpayers $676,000," noted the report. "Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin. Recounts and court rulings have upheld his victory and independent reviews have uncovered no signs of significant voter fraud."
Gableman has raised eyebrows for controversial moves in his investigation, including attempting to order the Waukesha County Sheriff to arrest the mayors of Green Bay and Madison for allegedly not replying to an email that went into their spam folders.
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Ethics Committee finds 'substantial reason' to believe Republican used his office to score gifts from staff
A Congressional ethics probe revealed in a report Monday that Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) misused his office by soliciting or accepting gifts from those under him and requiring his staff do his wife's errands.
According to the report, cited by Axios, Lamborn's own staffers said that they were required to handle personal errands for Jeanie Lamborn and told to help get their son a federal job.
Transcripts of the probe also show that "Lamborn may have also permitted his chief of staff to compel other staff members to provide gifts to him and his family," Axios characterized.
"And then we would have a Christmas party with like White Elephant and I was advised to get something for the congressman, normally like craft beer," said a staffer in the investigation. "And then for birthday parties, I -- for the Lamborns, we had to have a party thrown. I asked one time what -- if we would be compensated for it, and Dale Anderson just laughed, so we paid out of pocket."
"So the gifts would be for Mrs. Lamborn and the congressman, and we had to make sure that -- I would tell Dale Anderson what we were getting to make sure that it was his approval and also the dollar amount was high enough, and that the congressman and Mrs. Lamborn would be okay with it," said another staffer.
The congressman also revealed that the staff was going to have a "recognition" of his daughter-in-law who became a citizen during COVID and didn't get to have a public ceremony with friends of family there.
When asked about it, one staff explained that the party was ordered by the Congressman himself.
"And then we had one party, naturalization party, that the congressman, and Mrs. Lamborn, and Dale told us that we had to have in 2020 for their daughter-in-law," the staffer said. "And so we threw a party and I -- for that one, because of the ethics classes and everything, the day of, I was like, how am I going to get compensated for this? And, again, Dale Anderson just laughed. So, we decoratd the office. We shut down the office, closed it, and we had food and Dale wanted me to get beer -- we always had beer for the congressman -- and then we had the naturalization party."
When testifying to the ethics committee, Rep. Lamborn said that he never allowed alcohol in his office.
Lamborn's wife has also collected a salary for his campaign as a "strategist and manager." She also provides advice in his official office. The congressman specifically cited the questions about his wife saying that she has a "commitment to her husband's success."
He also said any allegations about his son trying to score a job were "highly exaggerated and false."
"I may have first met back [Lamborn's son] when I first started for Congressman Lamborn, perhaps at a Christmas party or something, but to be honest, I'm not sure I could pick him out from a group," said a staffer identified as Witness 2. "That's how not very often I've met him. Very nice I can recall, so."
" Did you ever help [Lamborn's son] with the Federal job hiring process?" the committee asked.
"I did, yes," the staffer replied. When asked how, the witness continued: "Well, I had, luckily, already prepared materials through my normal constituent services work because we are often contacted by constituents asking for help with how to navigate the Federal job process. So, you know, it begins with USAjobs.com or gov. Well, from there it gets even more complicated. And I had prepared a packet of things that help folks with that whole process, so luckily I had everything ready, and I simply said, hey, I've got just the thing. And so I was very happy to share that information, public information, that anyone can find. And so I just simply compiled it and had it ready for folks when they contacted our office."
The staffer said it was Mrs. Lamborn who asked for help for their son. Rep. Lamborn said that the whole process didn't take the staffer more than 20 minutes and some emails with links to federal job openings.
Rep. Marie Newman (D-NJ) is also being investigated by the ethics committee for possibly promising a federal job to her opponent if they supported her.
John Eastman's former university wants to hand over 19,000 of his emails on its server to Congress: report
On Monday, Yahoo News' Michael Isikoff reported that Chapman University supports a subpoena from the House January 6 Committee requesting 19,000 emails from pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman relating to his work for the former president to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which are apparently on the school servers.
At a hearing on the matter, a lawyer for the university said that Eastman's use of their server to conduct that business was "improper, unauthorized and I liken to contraband."
At hearing on Eastman emails, lawyer for Chapman U backs 1/6 panel subpoena to turn over 19,000 emails on its server relating to prof's representation of Trump. Says any use of university server for that purpose was "improper, unauthorized and I liken to contraband."— Michael Isikoff (@Michael Isikoff) 1643065849
Eastman, who previously taught constitutional law at Chapman University, was forced into retirement after he spoke at the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" rally calling to overturn the election that immediately preceded the attack on the Capitol on January 6.
It was subsequently revealed that he drafted a memo for the Trump team outlining a strategy to execute a coup using Vice President Mike Pence to toss out the electors of several states that narrowly voted for Joe Biden, a strategy Pence rejected as unconstitutional.