“Robin Vos fires Michael Gableman, ending a 2020 election review that’s cost taxpayers more than $1 million and produced no evidence of fraud”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos fired Michael Gableman on Friday, more than a year after he hired the former Supreme Court justice to probe the 2020 election and three days after Vos barely survived a primary challenge Gableman supported. 

Vos ended Gableman’s contract with the state that has provided a national platform and more than $100,000 in salary to Gableman over the last 14 months but has produced a review of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 loss that has promoted election conspiracy theories and revealed no evidence of widespread voter fraud. 

The review has cost state taxpayers more than $1 million through costs for salaries and legal fees related to lawsuits filed against Gableman and Vos over ignored requests for public records. 

Vos’ decision to fire Gableman comes a week after Trump announced to a Waukesha crowd that Gableman had turned on Vos and that Gableman, like Trump, had endorsed Vos’ primary opponent Adam Steen. Vos won the primary Tuesday but only barely — defeating Steen by just 260 votes. 

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“Robin Vos looking for ‘natural conclusion’ to Michael Gableman’s election review”

Wisconsin State Journal:

The more than $1.1 million taxpayer-funded, GOP-ordered review of the 2020 election appears to be on its last legs, but the wheels began coming off five months ago when lead investigator Michael Gableman recommended the Legislature take the legally impossible step of decertifying the results.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who hired Gableman last year to lead the probe, in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal on Thursday said that recommendation in a March interim report soured his opinion of the former state Supreme Court justice.

“I think there’s a pretty broad consensus that the tack that we were on needs to come to a natural conclusion, so we need to figure that out,” Vos told the State Journal.

Vos, R-Rochester, said he offered Gableman clear parameters to follow before the investigation officially launched in July 2021: The review needed to be nonpartisan and Gableman should avoid both the limelight and political events

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11th Circuit, Over Strong Dissent by Judge Rosenbaum over Application of the Purcell Principle, Stays Order Delaying Georgia Public Utility Commission Elections with Districts Likely to Violate Voting Rights Act

You can find the opinion and dissent here.

In my view (consistent with the views in my article identifying the “Purcell principle”), Judge Rosenbaum’s integration of Purcell into the broader Nken standard for considering emergency relief is the right way to analyze these cases. Judge Rosenbaum’s also got a very strong argument that Sec. Raffensperger waived the Purcell argument.

Might we worth taking this to SCOTUS to see if Justice Kavanaugh was serious in his recent attempt to bring Purcell into the larger framework of considering emergency relief.

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“Conservative push to alter Constitution focuses on primaries”

AP:

The fliers piled up in mailboxes in central South Dakota like snow during a high-plains blizzard: “Transgender Sex Education in Schools?” one asked. “Vote Against Sex Ed Radical Mary Duvall for State Senate.”

The mailers were part of a $58,000 campaign against the five-term Republican lawmaker, an enormous sum of money in a place where the cost of running for a statehouse seat is typically in the low five figures. Despite the subject of the attack ads, Duvall was targeted not for her stance on sex education but for her opposition to a longshot bid by some conservatives to force a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution.

“I knew they were angry at me, but I had no idea this was going to be coming during my primary campaign,” said Duvall, who ended up losing her race by 176 votes.

Duvall opposed legislation that would have added South Dakota to 19 other states calling for a gathering known as a convention of states, following a plan mapped out by a conservative group that wants to change parts of the United States’ foundational document. When that number hits two-thirds of the states — or 34 — under the procedure laid out in the Constitution, a convention would meet with the power to amend the 235-year-old document.

The campaign against Duvall was part of a more than $600,000 push in at least five states earlier this year by the group, Convention of States Action, and its affiliates in Republican primaries to elect sympathetic lawmakers who could add more states to its column. Much of the money comes from groups that do not have to disclose their donors, masking the identity of who is funding the push to change the Constitution.

Mark Meckler, the group’s president and former head of Tea Party Patriots, issued a brief statement saying the group was committed to being active in the midterms “in a big way.”

For years, Convention of States Action has been a staple of the conservative political scene. But its engagement in primary campaigns marks an escalation at a time when parts of the conservative movement are testing the limits of the nation’s political rulebook, pushing aggressive tactics from gerrymandering to voting restrictions.

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“This conservative group helped push a disputed election theory”

Hansi Lo Wang for NPR:

A controversial legal theory that could radically reshape presidential and congressional elections has had a vocal supporter in filings to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since 2020, a conservative group advocating for more restrictive voting laws has filed multiple friend-of-the-court briefs to try to influence the justices, including with the claim that the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures the power to determine how federal elections are run without limits from state constitutions or state courts.

The group calls itself the Honest Elections Project, which since 2020, according to corporate records filed in Virginia, has been a registered business alias for The 85 Fund. That organization has federal tax-exempt status, millions of dollars in donations and spending that are hard to trace, and ties to Leonard Leo — the Federalist Society’s co-chairman and former executive vice president who helped build the Supreme Court’s majority of conservative justices.

Three of those justices have signaled they are likely to side with Republican state lawmakers in an upcoming North Carolina redistricting case that could result in a Supreme Court endorsement of what’s known as the independent state legislature theory. The lawmakers would need the support of at least two other justices on the court, where conservatives enjoy a 6-3 supermajority.

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