MADISON — Wisconsin Elections Commission staff will not be involved in reviewing a complaint alleging Green Bay city officials allowed private activist groups funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take over significant aspects of the 2020 election.
Earlier this month, The Amistad Project filed the complaint on behalf of five Green Bay residents charging that “evidence in Green Bay proves this shadow government ran the election and now it is time those involved come clean.”
Emails obtained in a Wisconsin Spotlight investigation show WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe appears to have a conflict of interest. Not only was she aware of the left-leaning groups involved in the elections in Green Bay and Milwaukee, she promoted them to other elections officials.
Erick Kaardal, special counsel for The Amistad Project, at the time the complaint was filed said Wolfe should recuse herself from the investigation and all aspects of this case.
“The WEC Administrator’s involvement raises serious doubts regarding the objectivity of the Commission in conducting an investigation,” he said.
Ann Jacobs, chairwoman of the elections commission, confirmed Wolfe will not be involved.
“As with other complaints which name a member of the WEC staff, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has been asked to appoint outside counsel to handle the processing of the complaint and to advise the members of the Commission,” Jacobs, one of the three Democrats on the six-member commission.
So who’s the outside counsel? WEC spokesman Reid Magney echoed Jacobs’ statement, that the DOJ has been asked to appoint outside counsel. “That’s as far along in the process as we are,” Magney said.
A source with knowledge of the situation said Madison-based law firm DeWitt has been retained to look into the matter. DeWitt is the firm tapped to investigate a complaint filed by Dean Knudson, Republican member of the commission, alleging Wolfe and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers violated state laws on finalizing elections. Evers and Jacobs signed the paperwork in late November confirming Joe Biden’s victory over then-President Donald Trump in the presidential election.
Knudson argues the full commission should have been able to deliberate on the handling of the election results before Jacobs unilaterally signed off. Attorneys are to make recommendations to the commission on how to proceed with the complaint.
Wolfe recused herself from that complaint, as well.
The Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life handed out more than $8 million in “election safety and security” grants to Wisconsin’s five largest and most heavily Democratic cities — Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine. CTCL received $350 million from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to “help” local elections offices administer “safe and secure elections.”
As a Wisconsin Spotlight investigation uncovered, CTCL required the “Wisconsin 5” cities to sign contracts that included funding clawback provisions if they failed to meet CTCL’s demands. Local elections officials had to work with the center’s partner organizations, like the National Vote at Home Institute. Emails show longtime Democratic operative Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, Wisconsin lead for the institute, was intricately involved in the administration of Green Bay’s and Milwaukee’s elections, even offering to “cure” or correct absentee ballots.