Wisconsin 2020 Election Investigation Likely to Cost More Than $72K Allotted Amid Expansion

Wisconsin's investigation of the 2020 presidential election will likely need more than the $72,000 it was given as a state authority seeks more investigators and time to complete the probe, the Associated Press reported.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired two retired detectives and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to carry out the investigation in June. However, Vos said on Friday he'd designated Gableman as a "special counsel" who could contract more full-time investigators, the Associated Press reported.

The announcement came after former President Donald Trump and fellow Republicans from the state called for a wider investigation into the results of the election.

"It has become clear that a top-to-bottom investigation will take longer than initially anticipated and will require more manpower to complete," Vos said in a statement Friday.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the highest ranking Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly, said he was expanding a probe into the 2020 presidential election, saying it will take more investigators and time than originally planned. Vos, speaks at the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday. Scott Bauer/AP Photo

Vos announced the move just three days after he said a fellow Republican lawmaker who was calling for a "forensic audit" was misinformed about the work already underway.

He did not immediately respond to requests for additional details on how much the investigation, which is being paid for by taxpayers, would cost.

The original contracts called for spending about $72,000 through September on the investigation. Vos had wanted to hire three former police detectives, but only signed contracts with two. It wasn't immediately clear what they had been doing to date. As of Tuesday, they had not contacted either the Wisconsin Elections Commission or the Dane County Clerk's office, both agencies told the Associated Press in response to an open records request.

"After talking with our original investigative team, we realize that the part-time nature of these contracts is less time than is needed to complete the investigation," Vos said. "Justice Gableman will have the resources and ability to determine the need for any future adjustments."

Vos said he hoped to complete the work in the fall, around the same time the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau completes its review that was ordered by the Republican Legislature. Vos has called their review a "multi-faceted forensic audit" even as he's faced pressure from Trump and the Republican chair of the Assembly elections committee to do a review more similar to the widely discredited one done in Arizona.

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by just over 20,000 votes. There is no evidence of widespread fraud and courts rejected numerous lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies attempting to overturn the outcome. Democrats have derided calls for more investigations as feeding into conspiracy theories and lies that Trump actually won the state.

Trump last month called out Vos and two other Republican legislative leaders, saying they were "working hard to cover up election corruption." Vos and the other Wisconsin Republicans said Trump was misinformed.

There are almost no documented cases of election fraud in Wisconsin.

Two people have been charged with election fraud out of more than 3 million votes cast in the state, and prosecutors are still reviewing a handful of other cases that were among 27 forwarded to them by elections officials.

Wisconsin Ballot Counting in November 2020
Wisconsin’s investigation of the 2020 presidential election will likely need more than the $72,000 it was given as an official seeks more investigators and time to complete the probe. Election officials count absentee ballots on November 4, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Scott Olson/Getty Images