Judge Rules Against, Fines Overseers of Wisconsin 2020 Election Probe

A Wisconsin judge has turned down the findings of the state's probe into the 2020 presidential election.

Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington said that the report by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman and Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos improperly denied access to public records that they allegedly used. Remington stated that their "denials, delays, and refusals violate the letter and the spirit of Wisconsin's public records law."

The report stated that Wisconsin should consider decertifying the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election due to potential voter fraud, a conclusion that both Democrats and Republicans have criticized.

In addition to the ruling, Remington also ordered that Vos, Gableman and the Assembly each pay $1,000. Vos and Gableman, in particular, are also required to pay the legal costs accrued by American Oversight, a nonprofit that sued against the probe.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported in early February that American Oversight had brought forward the lawsuit on claims that it was not able to receive the documents it requested from the investigation. American Oversight then accused the committee of destroying the requested documents. The new ruling by Remington states agrees that Vos and Gableman unfairly withheld records, but did not conclude on whether or not they were destroyed.

Wisconsin Election Line
A report claiming that the 2020 election in Wisconsin should be decertified has been widely criticized by bipartisan lawmakers. Above, residents wait in line to vote at a shuttered Sears store in the Janesville Mall on November 3, 2020, in Janesville, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Whether or not the records sought after by American Oversight were destroyed, the report still faces intense bipartisan scrutiny. Newsweek previously reported that lawmakers have labeled the report's claims that the 2020 election should be decertified as impossible and even illegal.

"Still not legal under Wisconsin law. Beyond that, it would have no practical impact b/c there is no Constitutional way to remove a sitting president other than through impeachment or incapacity. Fools errand. Focus on the future," Assembly leader Jim Steineke said in a statement on Twitter.

"Mike Gableman has undermined faith in our elections promoting Trump's Big Lie, fleecing taxpayers, and suggesting the 2020 election should be overturned. He can't handle the truth Biden won a free, fair and secure election. Trump simply lost. This circus should leave town now," Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin wrote on Twitter.

"This circus has long surpassed being a mere embarrassment for our state," said Governor Tony Evers in a statement on Twitter. "From the beginning, it has never been a serious or functioning effort, it has lacked public accountability and transparency, and it has been a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars."

The report is still being reviewed by American Oversight. However, they did release a statement outlining what the organization has already uncovered about the investigation and its errors on March 1.

"Wisconsin's lengthy and expensive review of the 2020 election is only one of several efforts by election deniers and Trump allies across the nation to sow doubt in the results of the 2020 election," wrote the nonprofit.

The Remington ruling will be put on hold pending a hearing on the report next week.

Update 03/02/22, 4:57 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with background information and quotes from Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and Governor Tony Evers.