Republican Running Unopposed Complains Jan. 6 Subpoena Hurts Reelection

A key figure in an alleged plot to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin said efforts to force him to testify before the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol interfere with his chances at reelection, even though he is technically the only candidate on the ballot this fall.

In a complaint filed in the Eastern District Court of Wisconsin on Sunday, attorneys representing Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Robin Vos argued he should not have to comply with subpoenas investigating his role regarding January 6, 2021.

While he reportedly rejected calls to decertify President Joe Biden's win in the state, Vos told local news station WISN that he received a call from former President Donald Trump over the summer urging him to revisit the result after the state Supreme Court ruled the use of most absentee ballot drop boxes in future elections in the state are illegal. Vos' refusal to revisit the question prompted Trump to endorse his opponent, Adam Steen, whom Vos defeated in the August primary.

On Friday afternoon, Vos was served with a subpoena from the Select Committee seeking details about that call. It's a subpoena Vos' attorneys said he intends to fight, not only because he believes the committee's inquiry is illegitimate, but because he believes the committee's work is a politically motivated "public relations scheme."

Robin Vos
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos speaks during a contentious legislative session on December 4, 2018, in Madison. Vos said efforts to force him to testify before the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol interfere with his chances at reelection, even though he is technically the only candidate on the ballot this fall. Andy Manis/Getty images

"The Committee is not seeking to depose Speak Vos to question him about the breach of the Capitol, the events leading up to January 6, 2021, or the events of the 2020 election," Vos' attorneys wrote in their motion. "Rather, the Committee is seeking to depose Speaker Vos, with no notice, to ask him about a conversation he had with former President Donald Trump two months ago.

"In short, the Committee is demanding Speaker Vos appear for a deposition to answer questions irrelevant to the Committee's investigation, with virtually no notice, in the closing days of his reelection campaign, merely because of the Committee's public relations scheme."

Newsweek reached out to Vos' campaign and his attorneys for comment.

His attorneys said the 48-hour notice that came with the subpoena gave them little time to consider the constitutional ramifications of the committee's request. But they also argued the subpoena, which permits him to testify by videoconference, "suddenly pulls Speaker Vos off the campaign trail," they said, in turn causing "significant interruption to his campaign schedule" as he seeks to solidify support ahead of November's election, even though he is technically the only name on the ballot.

Though Vos is technically running unopposed, he has a pair of write-in candidates seeking to oust him, including Steen, who announced his bid shortly after the primary in late August, and Democrat Joel Jacobson, whom Vos defeated by double-digit margins in 2018 and 2020.

Vos carries some baggage entering the election, including his controversial decision to appropriate $680,000 in taxpayer money to fund an investigation by far-right attorney Michael Gableman into possible fraud committed during the course of the 2020 election. However, history might be on his side.

Historically, write-in candidates are rarely successful at the state level. While Wisconsin allows only registered candidates to run as write-ins, the most recent winner of a significant seat in the state came in 1996, when former sheriff's deputy Ron Cramer defeated incumbent Richard M. Hewitt in a hastily organized write-in campaign to become Eau Claire County sheriff.