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GOP committee approves spending $680K on election investigation; Evers calls vote “outrageous”

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MADISON (WKOW) -- On a party-line vote Monday, Republican lawmakers on the Assembly's organization committee approved spending as much as $680,000 in taxpayer money to initiate another investigation into the November 2020 election.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has ordered the review of the election and has put conservative former state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman in charge of the investigation.

More than three million people cast ballots in Wisconsin during the election. Dozens of court challenges and recounts in the state's two biggest counties have maintained President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by more than 20,000 votes.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers slammed Republicans for committing more public dollars to the investigation, something Evers said was a "continued attack on our democracy."

"I think it's outrageous," Evers said. "Things changed a bit when Robin Vos went down and visited Donald Trump. I think they got a nice picture on [Trump's private airplane.] Apparently, they're all drinking the Kool Aid."

Vos' office did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday. Vos defended the investigation in a newsletter his office sent out on Saturday.

"We believe a cyber forensic audit is necessary to ensure issues did not happen in 2020," the newsletter read. "We have allocated additional resources to Justice Gableman to ensure this investigation gets to the truth."

The newsletter also touted Vos' meeting with Trump on August 21 in Alabama.

"I explained to President Trump about the current forensic audit we are performing and told him we will do whatever it takes to help Justice Gableman also uncover reports of systematic fraud," the newsletter read.

So far, prosecutors across Wisconsin have brought a total of two charges of election fraud stemming from the 2020 November election.

The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau is in the midst of its own review of the election with its findings expected to be released this fall.

Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), who chairs the Assembly's elections committee, is seeking her own version of a forensic audit. Brandtjen has issued subpoenas seeking the Brown and Milwaukee county clerks to turn over ballots and voting machines.

Vos has said he won't sign off on Brandtjen's subpoenas but told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he would sign off on subpoenas should Gableman seek them.