Wisconsin Republicans have sued Green Bay's mayor over microphones at city hall in an ongoing fight over the 2020 election lost by Donald Trump.
Election deniers have been pestering city officials, postal workers and others they believe were involved in a conspiracy to defraud the former president, and a local attorney who faced criminal charges for accosting a voter has sued the city over additional security measures put into place in response to those activities, reported Wisconsin Examiner.
“I think deliberately that escalation is meant to dissuade people from the polls,” said city clerk Celestine Jeffreys. “That is what this is all about. Everyone should be upset about that. When those people who are dissuading, policing, scrutinizing, they think they’re only scrutinizing people they don’t want at the polls. When in fact you scrutinize all people from the polls.”
Officials upgraded the security system at city hall to include audio recordings in response to ongoing confrontations with election deniers, including attorney Janet Angus, who was charged with disorderly conduct over an Election Day 2020 incident and joined a lawsuit filed by Republicans against Green Bay's Democratic mayor.
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“Ironic would be the word for that,” said Mayor Eric Genrich, who said other local governments and public transit systems use audio recordings to enhance security. “What prompted this installation were the bad behaviors of a small number of individuals that were threatening and harassing city staff and members of the media.”
The lawsuit alleges the recordings violate Wisconsin statutes requiring consent by at least one party to record conversations because not everyone is aware of the security devices, but even the judge overseeing the case suspects the complaint is politically motivated.
“I’m concerned that there was some type of underhandedness or strategy in waiting until after the city primary and before the city election to dirty up the mayor — and that’s unfortunate,” said Brown County Judge Marc Hammer, after issuing a temporary injunction against the use of audio recording at city hall. “That’s extremely disappointing, quite frankly, to use a fundamental right that our people have as a political tool.”
The Wisconsin Senate, state Sen. Andre Jacque (R-WI) and some local Republicans filed the suit, and everyone involved has financial or political ties to Chad Weininger, a Brown County official running against Genrich.
“Just about everybody involved in this legal action is either politically or financially connected to my opponent,” Genrich said. “So it’s pretty obvious what the motivation is here, that’s something Judge Hammer also pointed out. The people bringing this suit were aware of this system going back to fall of 2022, and waited to do anything about it until we were very close to the spring general election, so it’s pretty clear that this is a politically motivated action brought about by far right political interests who have been attacking the city of Green Bay for now over two years.”
“It’s mind-blowing to me that this is going on,” he added. “The Wisconsin state Senate is a legislative body, obviously. They’re not there to bring lawsuits against local governments and waste taxpayer dollars."