**Note: this is an ongoing blog which is updated as new information becomes available.
In America, voters are supposed to decide our elections.
But in 2020, Republicans in Wisconsin, including Dan Kelly who is now one of two candidates running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, tried to overturn the votes of the majority of Wisconsinites in order to keep Donald Trump in power.
In Wisconsin, 10 Republican leaders signed fraudulent documents on December 14th, claiming to be the state's representatives to the electoral college. They were not. Information shows their actions were part of a Republican plan enacted in several states to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election during the counting of electoral votes on January 6th.
As part of the Electoral College process, governors from each state are required to sign a formal "certificate of ascertainment," verifying that the statewide winner's slate of electors are the state's legitimate electors. These electors then sign a second certificate, formally affirming their votes for president.
These documents are sent to the National Archives in Washington, DC, which processes them before they are sent onto Congress, where they would be formally counted on January 6.
Dan Kelly, who is now one of two candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, was instrumental in this fraudulent elector's scheme. You can read more about his role below.
It is important to understand that at the time the state's electors met, all litigation that could have possibly overturned the election results had been settled at this point. Court cases to determine the outcome of the election had all ruled that Joe Biden won Wisconsin. There was no question about the outcome of the election in Wisconsin and who the rightful electoral voters were. Joe Biden was the winner and the Democratic slate were our state's duly appointed electors to the Electoral College. The only question about the election was in the mind of MAGA Republicans. Legally the outcome had been decided and the results certified.
So the Democratic slate of electors met in the state Capitol on December 14th and properly signed their paperwork, attesting that Joe Biden had won the election and casting their electoral votes for him.
But, despite the fact that Donald Trump was NOT the choice of the majority of Wisconsin voters and they were NOT the state's duly appointed electors, 10 MAGA Republicans in Wisconsin signed and sent fraudulent documents to the National Archives claiming to be the state's electors to the electoral college and stating Donald Trump won the state of Wisconsin. Their paperwork carried the seal of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin, like every other state, statutorily pledges to cast its electoral votes for the candidate who wins the popular vote statewide. These fraudulent Republican electors disregarded that fundamental principle of our democracy and of Wisconsin law.
The documents signed by Wisconsin Republicans and Republicans in several other key swing states were nearly identical in wording and appearance to each other, further evidence of a coordinated effort.
Boris Epshteyn, an adviser to former President Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign, acknowledged Friday that he was part of the effort to send fraudulent electoral votes to Congress in hopes of overturning the election results. Then-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, is suspected of overseeing the scheme.
That the Trump campaign coordinated this slate of fraudulent electors was confirmed the week of 17th by Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock. She was recorded on hidden audio saying that the Trump presidential campaign directed Republicans in Michigan to seat fraudulent Republican delegates to the Electoral College.
"We fought to seat the electors. The Trump campaign asked us to do that. I'm under a lot of scrutiny for that today," Maddock is heard saying in the audio reportedly recorded at a conservative gathering.
Rudy Giuliani, the former president’s campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, Trump lawyer Sidney (the Kraken) Powell along with Epshteyn and two other people have now been subpoenaed for attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the 2020 election results.
While many MAGA Republicans in these key swings states participated in what now appears to be a wide-ranging plot, others refused to sign documents as delegates.
“We have a process for certifying the election. We have a process for challenging the election. The challenges all failed, so I wouldn’t participate in something that was going against all of that,” said John Isakson, an original Trump elector from Georgia who refused to be involved in the Trump campaign's plan.
On Wednesday March 2nd, in a federal court filing in California, lawyers for the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol said that former president Donald Trump and key allies engaged in two potential crimes during their effort to overturn the election: conspiring to defraud the United States and obstructing an official congressional proceeding — the counting of electoral votes. “The Select Committee also has a good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States,” according to the filing.
On Monday, March 28th, Federal Judge David O. Carter ruled that former President Donald J. Trump and lawyer John Eastman, who advised Trump on how to overturn the 2020 election, most likely committed felonies, including obstructing the work of Congress and conspiring to defraud the United States. “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Judge Carter ruled about the plot to use fraudulent electors in swing states like Wisconsin.
Who were Wisconsin's 10 Fraudulent Electors?
Federal criminal charges filed on August 1, 2023 against Donald Trump in a Justice Department probe into the former president's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election rely heavily on actions taken by the 10 GOP electors in Wisconsin, who signed paperwork falsely asserting Trump won the state.
The charges filed against Trump include conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and witness tampering. The indictment is the third criminal case against the former president — who is running to reclaim the White House next year — and relates directly to efforts by him and his allies to subvert the results of the presidential election in a handful of states, including Wisconsin.
So who are Wisconsin's fraudulent electors?
Chairman of the state Republican Party at the time the documents were signed, Hitt is now an attorney with Michael Best & Friedrich. Hitt previously served as Governor Scott Walker’s deputy legal counsel and before that as an assistant district attorney in the Violent Crimes Unit of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. Hitt is now serving as the campaign manager for Republican Adam Jarchow, who is running to be Wisconsin's Attorney General. Jarchow, who would be Wisconsin's highest law enforcement officer if elected, has already stated he won't investigate his fellow Republicans who served as fraudulent electors. Hitt has also been a donor to Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch's campaign. Michael Best & Friedrich represented Michael Gableman, who is now heading the partisan Republican election "investigation", during ethic complaints filed by the state against him while he was running for Wisconsin Supreme Court. Gableman escaped discipline when his fellow Supreme Court members deadlocked in determining his guilt. Gableman failed to disclose he received free legal work from the law firm, then went on to settle five court cases in favor of Michael Best & Friedrich, where Hitt is now employed, without recusing himself for conflict of interest.
ROBERT SPINDELL, Jr:
Spindell serves as a Republican appointee to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which means he can vote on whether to investigate himself. He has served as senior vice president with the Milwaukee office of Gottesman Co., one of the nation’s largest mergers and acquisitions firms. Spindell was a Trump supporter in 2016 and political donor to Scott Walker.
Chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party, which was barred from posting information on Facebook in October for repeatedly sharing false information. He was an unsuccessful GOP candidate in 2012 for the state Senate. Feehan informed the press he had traveled to Madison to cast his electoral vote for the presidency, as though he was a legal elector. Feehan and Sidney Powell (who promised to "release the Kraken" following the 2020 election) sued to overturn the presidential election results, claiming actions by deceased former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened the integrity of the election. Feehan is now serving on the Campaign Leadership Board for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch.
A Republican National Committeewoman who served as a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention as a supporter of Ted Cruz, but told the media she “loved” the acceptance speech by Trump.
A vice chairwoman for the Midwest region of the Republican National Committee, she lives in Mequon. She “has been active in Republican campaigns since 1960,” according to Ballotpedia, including serving in 2000 as the state grassroots chairman for the State Steering Committee of Wisconsin for the George W. Bush. “In the following year, she worked on former Wisconsin Governor Scott McCallum’s (R) transition team… Buestrin has attended nine Republican National Conventions and served as a delegate at eight.” Before choosing to be a fake elector, Buestrin served as a legal elector in 2016, casting a vote for Trump. Buestrin is a member of the advisory board of the 1848 Project political organization established by gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch.
EDWARD SCOTT GRABINS:
Chairman of the Dane County Republican Party, who wrote an op ed predicting that if Biden was elected there would be violence and looting in every city in America.
Elected as a City of Sheboygan Alderman (2011-2016) and served as the Council Vice President. An unsuccessful 2014 Republican candidate for the state Assembly.
The 8th Congressional District GOP chairwoman was a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention as a Cruz supporter. She has written op eds, including a column for WisPolitics lauding the Trump economy and his speech in Green Bay in April 2019 “as the start of another wild ride to victory.” Ruh is an original member of the advisory board of gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch’s 1848 Project. Ruh is running for re-election for the Common Council in DePere. Ruh was listed as the secretary for the Republican's fraudulent electors.
Treasurer for the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women, who resides in Clark County and served as an alternate delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention. Travis is currently working on the campaign for Republican Adam Jarchow, who is running to be Wisconsin's Attorney General. Jarchow, who would be Wisconsin's highest law enforcement officer if elected, has already stated he won't investigate his fellow Republicans who served as fraudulent electors.
Vice Chairman of the Wisconsin 1st Congressional District Republican Party and Vice President of the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women.
The document these 10 Republicans signed and sent to be counted at the Electoral College on 1/6 stated:
“We the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Wisconsin do hereby certify the following…”
Wisconsin's fraudulent electors met on the day of the Electoral vote in a secret location prior to traveling to the Capitol together with armed security, according to Bob Feehan, one of the fraudulent electors. The Capitol was closed due to the pandemic and was only open for official government business. The rightful Democratic electors met properly in the Capitol that day to sign their documents. The fraudulent electors, who were not on official government business, also got into the Capitol to meet that day, despite the fact they were not carrying out government business, with the assistance of Republican Scott Fitzgerald's staff.
Both Republicans Andrew Hitt and Kelly Ruh are among fraudulent electors from seven states who have now been subpoenaed by the Bipartisan January 6th House Select Committee. You can see the subpoena for Andrew Hitt here. You can see the subpoena for Kelly Ruh here..
In issuing those subpoenas, Committee chair Bennie Thompson, said in a statement that the panel is seeking information about attempts in multiple states to overturn the election, “including the planning and coordination of efforts to send false slates of electors to the National Archives.”
“We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme,” read Thompson’s statement. “We encourage them to cooperate with the Select Committee’s investigation to get answers about January 6th for the American people and help ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.”
A memo has revealed that former Republican circuit judge and Wisconsin attorney Jim Troupis, who represented Trump in a failed effort to overturn the state's 2020 election results, was notified just over two weeks after the November election of the eventual attempt by Republicans to overthrow the state's election results by sending an alternate slate of fraudulent votes to Congress.
What was the Republican scheme to overturn the elections and how did fraudulent electors play a role?
Setting up dueling slates of delegates to the Electoral College (Democratic vs Republican) in key states that Joe Biden won was a crucial step to overturning the election, as outlined in the Eastman memo.
The Eastman memo was a step-by-step guide that came to light in September 2021, detailing how to overthrow the election results. It was written by John C. Eastman, an American law professor working with the legal team of then-President Donald Trump. It was sent to Mark Meadows, Trump's White House Chief of Staff, just weeks after Trump lost the 2020 election.
You can read the Eastman memo here: EASTMAN MEMO
As outlined in the Eastman memo, setting up just the idea that there was a dispute at the state level over who the proper delegates to case votes for the Elector College was the key to allowing Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Chuck Grassley or Republicans in the House to overturn the election results and seat Donald Trump as president.
Setting up the idea that there was a dispute would allow Mike Pence to do one of two things during the counting of electoral votes on January 6th, according to the Eastman memo:
- Pence, or Senator Grassley if Pence refused to participate, could set aside and not count the votes from disputed states - like Wisconsin. Without those votes, Trump would have the majority of electoral votes and would be declared the winner; Or
- Pence could send the decision to the Republican-controlled House as to which slate of votes to count - again likely making Trump the winner.
Trump has now admitted he attempted to overturn the election results. In a statement released February 2nd, Donald Trump said the committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol should instead probe “why Mike Pence did not send back the votes for recertification or approval.” Also on Sunday, February 2, Trump attacked Pence, falsely declaring that “he could have overturned the Election!”
Mike Pence publicly addressed Trump and Republican's attempt to overturn the election on February 4th in a speech to the conservative Federalist Society:
“President Trump is wrong.
I had no right to overturn the election.
The presidency belongs to the American people,
and the American people alone.
Frankly, there is almost no idea more un-American
than the notion that any one person
could choose the American president."
Did Trump's lawyers know they were committing fraud?
Emails which were discovered as part of the Bipartisan January 6th public hearings, and authenticated by people who worked on the Trump campaign at the time, reveal the lawyers involved in the fraudulent elector scheme were aware the documents were fraudulent. One lawyer involved in the detailed discussions repeatedly used the word “fake” to refer to the so-called electors, who were intended to provide Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Trump’s allies in Congress a rationale for derailing the congressional process of certifying the outcome. And lawyers working on the proposal made clear they knew that the pro-Trump electors they were putting forward would not hold up to legal scrutiny.
“We would just be sending in ‘fake’ electoral votes to Pence so that ‘someone’ in Congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the ‘fake’ votes should be counted,” Jack Wilenchik, a Phoenix-based lawyer who helped organize the pro-Trump electors in Arizona, wrote in a Dec. 8, 2020, email to Boris Epshteyn, a strategic adviser for the Trump campaign.
In a follow-up email, Mr. Wilenchik wrote that “‘alternative’ votes is probably a better term than ‘fake’ votes,” adding a smiley face emoji.
The emails provide new details of how a wing of the Trump campaign worked with outside lawyers and advisers to organize the elector plan and pursue a range of other options, often with little thought or concern about their legality.
In Wisconsin, Trump lawyer James Troupis wrote on Dec. 7, wrote to Epshteyn that there was “no need for the legislators to act.” He cited a memo that said the key to Trump’s overturning the election was not blocking state certification of the electors on Dec. 14, but creating a reason for Pence to block or delay congressional certification of the Electoral College results on Jan. 6.
Republican legislative leaders in Wisconsin and Arizona had previously sought advice from their own lawyers about whether they had the power to alter the slates of electors after the election took place to put their own electors in place and they were advised they did not have the power to effectively overturn the state's election.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidate Dan Kelly's role in the fraudulent elector scheme
Dan Kelly is a Donald Trump ally who advised Republicans on their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential race in Wisconsin. He failed in his bid to be elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April 2023, losing by a landslide to Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Kelly is a former state Supreme Court justice who lost his seat in a 2020 election to Judge Jill Karofsky. Kelly was appointed to his seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2016 by former Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican.
In a deposition to the Bipartisan January 6th Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, former Wisconsin GOP chairman Andrew Hitt, one of Wisconsin's 10 fraudulent electors, said he and Kelly had “pretty extensive conversations” about the plan, and documents obtained by the Milwaukee Journal in February 2023 show the Republican Party at the state and national levels paid Kelly $120,000 to advise it on “election integrity” issues during the time of the scheme. A spokesperson for Kelly's campaign has not responded to questions about his involvement in those efforts.
Did State Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature play a role in attempting to overthrow the election?
15 Wisconsin Republicans in the legislature also attempted to add doubt as to who Wisconsin's proper delegates to the Electoral College were. They did this by sending a letter to Vice President Pence on January 5th, just hours before the insurrection at the Capitol and the counting of electoral votes. They claimed there was a dispute about who the proper delegates were and asked for more time to investigate and determine. They asked Pence to delay the count.
It should be noted again that there was NO dispute any longer about Wisconsin's election results or who the proper delegates were. It had been litigated and the election had been properly certified. Doubt only existed in the mind's of MAGA Republicans in Wisconsin and in other key swing states. Yet despite the fact the election was settled, MAGA Wisconsin legislators and legislators in other key swing states signed a letter to Mike Pence on 1/5. As mentioned earlier, the Eastman memo laid out how even the appearance of doubt about the delegates to the Electoral College would be reason for Vice President Pence to overturn the election results.
So who were the MAGA Republicans in Wisconsin who signed the letter to Vice President Pence, sowing doubt about Wisconsin's delegates?
* Sen. André Jacque (R-DePere)
* Reps. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls)
* Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger)
* Robert Brooks (R-Saukville)
* Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago)
* Dan Knodl (R-Germantown)
* Gae Magnafici (R-Dresser)
* Dave Murphy (R-Greenville)
* Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz)
* Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin)
* Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh)
* Tim Ramthun (R-Campbellsport)
* Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers)
* Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac)
* Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego)
You can read the letter they sent to Vice President Pence on January 5th here: Letter signed by MAGA legislators in Wisconsin and other key states
In addition, a letter found through an open records request indicates Republican Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, who is now a U.S. Congressman, booked rooms in the state capitol for the fraudulent Trump electors to meet and sign the forged paperwork at the same time as Wisconsin's real electors were formalizing the state's election results.
At the time, the Capitol was closed to the public because of COVID, only official state business was allowed inside the Capitol, and meeting space inside the state Capitol could only be requested by Wisconsin state lawmakers. The request for the rooms said they were for "the Republican Party."
A memo was obtained by a watchdog group, American Oversight, showed Republican Assembly Leader Robin Vos contacted the Legislative Reference Bureau in Wisconsin as to whether the Republican-led legislature could overturn the rightful Democratic delegates to the Electoral College and replace them with Republican delegates, despite the fact that Trump lost the election. The Bureau told him he could not legally do that.
Brian Schimming, who was elected to head the Republican Party of Wisconsin, in December 2022, was mentioned as a part of the fraudulent elector's scheme in a text message thread released by the bipartisan January 6th Commission in December 2022. You can read the thread involving Schimming here..
Ginni Thomas, wife of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, attempted to overturn Wisconsin's 2020 election results
Ginni Thomas contacted a number of prominent Republicans in an attempt to overturn Wisconsin's election results. They included State Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls), Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel) and Wisconsin Sen. Andre Jacque (R-Beaver Dam) all received emails from Ginni Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, urging him to ignore the results of the state’s elections and have the Legislature choose Wisconsin’s electors.
The email, obtained by the Wisconsin Examiner from the watchdog group Documented, is identical to those previously reported to have been sent to Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel). The email to Jacque was also received on the same day as the Bernier and Tauchen messages.
“Article II of the United States Constitution gives you an awesome responsibility: to choose our state’s Electors,” the identical emails stated. “This means you have the power to fight back against fraud and ensure our elections are free, fair, and honest. This responsibility is yours and yours alone — it doesn’t rest with any Board of Elections, Secretary of State, Governor, or even court. And it certainly doesn’t rest with the media. That’s why I am writing today to urge you to do your Constitutional duty. Please stand strong in the face of political and media pressure. Please reflect on the awesome authority granted to you by our Constitution. And then please take action to ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen for our state.”Senator Ron Johnson's Role in the Fraudulent Elector Scheme
What role did Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson play in the attempt to overturn Wisconsin's election results?
Testimony and text messages presented during the bipartisan January 6 Committee's public hearings showed U.S. Senator Ron Johnson played a role in the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election by using fraudulent electoral certificates. A top aide to Johnson contacted a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence at Johnson's direction, shortly before the certification of the Electoral College votes that would confirm the election of Democrat Joe Biden.
The Johnson aide indicated that the senator was interested in hand delivering to the vice president—who would preside over the proceedings—alternative lists of electors from the battleground states of Wisconsin and Michigan. Around noon on January 6, Johnson aide Sean Riley sent a text message to Craig Hodgson, a top staffer for Pence, in which Riley said, “Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise.”
“What is it?” asked Hodgson.
Riley replied, “Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn’t receive them.”
“Do not give that to him,” the Pence aide responded.
The revelation of that text exchange puts Johnson and his office in the thick of the conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election. And in the days that followed, the senator was clearly shaken.
Confronted by reporters on Capitol Hill about the news, Johnson claimed he was ignorant of most of the details. The senator told CNN’s Manu Raju he didn’t know who had delivered the lists of fake electors to his office. But he did admit, “I was aware that we got this package and that somebody wanted us to deliver it, so we reached out to Pence’s office.” He also acknowledged that, at an incredibly volatile moment, he and his aides failed to vet the package that was to be delivered to the vice president.
“We got handed an envelope that was supposed to go to the Vice President,” Johnson said. He claimed, “I wasn’t involved,” and said, “[There’s] no conspiracy here. This is a complete non-story, guys. Complete non-story.”
But, of course, it was a story. And Johnson was lying about it. Several days after the committee released the text messages, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted, “After initially claiming to be ‘basically unaware’ of an effort by his staff to get fake presidential elector documents to Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Thursday he coordinated with a Wisconsin attorney to pass along such information.” Specifically, the paper reported, Johnson “acknowledged he coordinated with Dane County attorney Jim Troupis and his chief of staff by text message that morning to get to Pence a document Troupis described as regarding ‘Wisconsin electors.’”
Clearly, Ron Johnson involved himself in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
What happened during the Electoral College Count?
A Stop the Steal rally, arranged by Trump Campaign loyalists, on January 6th, the day of the Electoral College turned into a deadly insurrection as the rally attendees were sent to the Capitol to "fight" for their votes. Throughout the rally, Vice President Pence was vilified, we know now, for having let it be known he would not go along with the Republican scheme to overturn the electoral votes and also refusing to step aside to allow Grassley to do the count. The violent insurrection interrupted the electoral count as members of Congress and Vice President Pence were forced to flee-with violent Trump supporters chanting "hang Mike Pence." Later that evening, members of Congress returned and Vice President Pence completed the count of the electoral votes, properly counting the votes from the Democratic delegates in each of the states Joe Biden won, including Wisconsin.
The Republican scheme to use fraudulent electors to overthrow the results of the election and nullify the majority of voters in key swing states like Wisconsin failed.
But it appears fraud was committed and a serious attempt to overthrow the election was acted on.What are the consequences at the state level for being a Wisconsin fraudulent elector?
According to attorney's at Wisconsin law firm Law Forward, potential charges for being a fraudulent elector could include:
Forgery, a Class H felony under Wis. Stat. § 943.38(1). Any documents purporting to be Certificates of the Votes of the 2020 Electors from Wisconsin that were created by these shadow electors are fraudulent. Any accompanying documentation mailed to government officials attesting to the authenticity of such Certificates are also fraudulent under this section. The fraudulent electors forged an unauthorized Certificate of Votes of the 2020 Electors from Wisconsin (Exh. A at 3) and then sent it to the precise federal and state officials prescribed by the law for such proper certificates.
Falsely assuming to act as a public officer, a Class I felony under Wis. Stat. § 946.69(2). The federal Electoral Count Act specifies the credentials of electors and charges the Governor with executing a certificate of ascertainment that communicates the names of the electors, by registered mail under the seal of the State, to the Archivist of the United States. See 3 U.S.C. § 6; see also Wis. Stat. § 7.70(5)(b). The fraudulent electors were not Wisconsin’s proper presidential electors and therefore did not receive such a certificate of ascertainment. Though they knew this, they nevertheless proceeded to undertake duties as if they had.
Misconduct in public office, a Class I felony under Wis. Stat. § 946.12(4). While the fraudulent electors were not lawful public officers, Wis. Stat. § 946.18 clearly states that intentionally falsifying information on a certificate or record is prohibited, whether a public officer is “legally constituted or exercising powers as if legally constituted.” (Emphasis added.) Here, the fraudulent electors signed the Certificate of Votes of the 2020 Electors from Wisconsin, in which they claimed they were “the duly elected and qualified Electors” who “convened and organized … to perform the duties enjoined upon us” and purported to “certify” votes they knew were contrary to law.
In acting together to undertake this apparently unlawful activity, the fraudulent electors—and possibly a fraudulent elector who ended up not participating for unknown reasons —also likely engaged in conspiracy to commit criminal acts under Wis. Stat. § 939.31. x While each individual fraudulent elector may have committed distinct acts, all—and possibly also the fraudulent elector who did not attend the December 14 sham meeting— are also liable for any crime, according to the law firm Law Forward.
Donald Trump incites violence
During public testimony under oath on June 29th, Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Donald Trump was aware that the Stop the Steal crowd was armed with guns and other weapons. She testified Donald Trump instructed his followers to march to the Capitol where the electoral votes were being counted, knowing they were armed with dangerous weapons and after he and other Republicans held a rally where they continued to push the lie the election was stolen. Those supporters then did march to the Capitol, breach security, enter the Capitol and terrorize members of Congress, their aids, their staff and other people who work in the building. Several people died and many were injured, including over 140 Capitol police members.
Where do legal actions stand against these fraudulent electors?
The bipartisan January 6th Committee is now looking into the actions of Republican's fraudulent electors in key swing states and how they tie in to the coup attempt that took place on 1/6.
On January 21st, Congressman Mark Pocan wrote to ask Attorney General Merrick Garland to launch an investigation into fraudulent electors from Wisconsin.
“I urge Attorney General Garland to investigate these individuals in Wisconsin and any of the individuals in six other states who tried to connive their way into overthrowing an election by impersonating a member of the electoral college,” Pocan wrote.
Pocan specifically asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether the people broke federal law by submitting false statements to the U.S. government, attempting to obstruct official proceedings, defrauding residents of a fair election and refusing to count and report votes.
You can read Congressman Pocan's letter to Attorney General Garland here: Pocan letter to Garland
On the 27th of January, 27 Wisconsin legislators also sent a letter to Merrick Garland, encouraging him to open an investigation, stating "This is significant reporting and documentation demonstrating that these fraudulent electors knowingly misrepresented themselves and the election results and did so at the behest of the Trump campaign." You can read their full letter to Garland here.
The U.S. Justice Department confirmed on January 26 that they were looking into the plot of fraudulent electors in seven states, including Wisconsin. “We are going to follow the facts and the law wherever they lead to address conduct of any kind and at any level that is part of an assault on our democracy,” Deputy Attorney General Liisa Monaco said.
Assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney Matthew Westphal and attorney's from Wisconsin law firm Law Forward have called on Wisconsin's attorney general Josh Kaul to look into the complaints for violations of state laws.
Attorney General Kaul has also released a statement saying “I believe it’s critical that the federal government fully investigates and prosecutes any unlawful actions in furtherance of any seditious conspiracy.”
Attorney Generals in some of the other key swing states with fraudulent electors have called upon federal prosecutors to investigate.
Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel has stated "These are incredibly serious charges. I think that the documents speak for themselves."
State legislators Rep. Jonathan Brostoff and Sen. Chris Larson have also sent a letter to Milwaukee DA Michael Chisholm calling on him to investigate the situation and take action to “prosecute sedition.”
Law Forward filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Election's Commission in February 2021 regarding the fraudulent electors on behalf of their client, the Service Employees International Union. The Election Commission has taken no action in the year it has had the complaint, complicated by the fact one of its members is one of the fraudulent electors. Bob Spindell Jr. has refused to recuse himself from the case. On January 27, Law Forward issued a statement that it will be pursuing legal action if the Election Commission doesn't release a finding on their complaint. You can read their letter here. On March 15th, the Wisconsin Election Commission ruled not to punish Wisconsin's fraudulent electors. In a closed session on March 9, the WEC’s six members voted that the complaint “does not raise a reasonable suspicion that the respondents violated Wisconsin election law.” Participating in the 6-0 vote was Republican-appointed Robert Spindell, who himself was one of the 10 Republicans who cast a false electoral vote. On February 2nd, members of Wisconsin's legislature had called on Republic Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu to remove fraudulent elector Bob Spindell from the Wisconsin Election's Commission. LaMahieu refused. Jeff Mandell, an attorney for progressive legal organization Law Forward, which filed the complaint to the WEC, responded to the WEC decision: " It’s unbelievable that Spindell would have a vote in a case in which he is involved."
“It’s inexplicable and egregious,” Mandell says. “It is contrary to the most fundamental principles of justice for someone to get to be both the accused and the judge. In Wisconsin, voters are supposed to determine the outcome of our election. Through what now appears to be a scheme that originated from the Trump campaign, MAGA Republicans attempted to steal the votes of the majority of voters in Wisconsin.
On May 8, 2023, Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington ruled that it was inappropriate and a conflict of interest for Spindell to have voted on the complaint before the Wisconsin Election Commission because he was one of the people who participated in the plot. Judge Remington ordered the Wisconsin Election Commission reconsider the complaint and Spindell must recuse himself on that vote.
On June 23, 2023 it was revealed that Special counsel Jack Smith has compelled at least two Republican fake electors to testify to a federal grand jury in Washington in recent weeks by giving them limited immunity, part of a current push by federal prosecutors to swiftly nail down evidence in the sprawling criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. That activity could signal that investigators are nearing at least some charging decisions in a part of the 2020 election probe
Michigan became the first state to criminally charge fake electors in July 2023. In Wisconsin, Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has remained tight-lipped on whether charges are forthcoming or whether an investigation exists at all.
On August 1 2023, Kaul described the latest federal indictment against Trump as "an enormously important event, not only in our criminal justice system, but in American history.”
"Of course Donald Trump, like anybody else charged with a crime, is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, but today’s announcement of the indictment is a monumental step towards getting justice," Kaul told reporters at the state Capitol.
Kaul said the state Department of Justice will continue to follow developments on the matter, but added, "ultimately, the decisions that we make and whether we are involved in a case in any respect depends on the facts, the law and ultimately what makes sense moving forward."
The actions of the 10 Republicans, as well as two other Trump associates, form the basis of a civil lawsuit filed last year arguing that, by signing the documents, the 10 Wisconsin Republicans and two attorneys who advised them broke multiple laws, including counterfeiting public records, illegally interfering with official procedures, defrauding the public and engaging in a conspiracy.
The lawsuit seeks more than $2.4 million in damages, including $2,000 in fines for the Republicans and their attorneys, and up to $200,000 in punitive damages for each plaintiff. Plaintiffs in the case include lawfully elected Democratic Wisconsin electors Khary Penebaker and Mary Arnold.
The case could go to trial in September 2024 — weeks before the 2024 presidential election.
Trump and 18 co-conspirators have been charged in Fulton County GA for election interference. The nearly 100-page indictment details dozens of acts by Trump or his allies to undo his defeat, including the use of fraudulent electors, as was done in Wisconsin.
Several other state Attorney Generals have launched probes against the slate of fraudulent electors in their states.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos testifies before the Bipartisan January 6th Committee after initially fighting a subpoena
Robin Vos, Republican Wisconsin Assembly Leader, initially sued to block a subpoena from the the Bipartisan January 6th Committee. The subpoena was in regards to a phone call Vos participated in with Donald Trump in which the former president asked Republican Vos "to take measures to change the result of the 2020 Presidential election in Wisconsin."
Vos claimed "legislative immunity" from having to comply with the subpoena, and claims the committee is "unlawful."
However Vos met Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022 with the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack to answer questions about a phone call former President Donald Trump made in July asking the Rochester Republican to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
On July 18, 2023 Michigan charged 16 fraudulent electors for Donald Trump with election law and forgery felonies. Each of the fake Michigan electors were charged with eight state felonies: two counts of forgery, one count of conspiracy to commit forgery, two counts of election law forgery, one count of conspiracy to commit election law forgery, one count of publishing a counterfeit record and one count of conspiring to publish a counterfeit record. Each person pleaded not guilty to the felony charges.
Will Wisconsin Republicans also be charged?
Bipartisan January 6th Committee Report
On June 9, 2022, Republican Liz Cheney of the Bipartisan January 6th Committee, in the Committee's initial presentation of evidence to the public, said the fraudulent electors were part of a coordinated conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election when all other attempts to keep Donald Trump in office failed after he lost the election. The scheme to use false documents to overturn the election has been central to testimony and documents presented during public hearings of the bipartisan January 6th Committee, which are ongoing.
Department of Justice Subpoenaed Election Officials With Ties to Trump in Several States, including Wisconsin
On December 6, 2022 the U.S. Department of Justice officials subpoenaed election officials in Dane and Milwaukee counties to hand over records of communication between their offices and Donald Trump and his allies as part of an investigation into Trump's efforts to overthrow the election despite losing reelection in 2020.
The subpoenas to Wisconsin officials seek records of communication with 19 people, including Dane County attorney Jim Troupis, who, while representing Trump, worked to overturn Trump's loss in Wisconsin and in other battleground states following the 2020 presidential election.
Wisconsin officials received the requests for records at the same time officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, and Wayne County, Michigan, received similar subpoenas, according to The Washington Post, which first reported on the subpoenas.
Also on the list of people Smith is seeking records regarding are John Eastman, an attorney who also sought to persuade Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to take the illegal and impossible step of overturning the 2020 election result months later, and Kenneth Chesebro, who sent the initial memo to Troupis regarding the false elector strategy.