MADISON —Senate Republicans have issued a subpoena demanding the city of Madison release election records officials refused to turn over to the Legislative Audit Bureau.
“At a bare minimum, all local, county and state government officials should respect the legal authority and integrity of the LAB,” said Senate Elections Committee Chair Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls). The committee is investigating the 2020 presdidential election. “All did, with the exception of Madison. That decision cannot and will not stand.”
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee in February authorized a comprehensive audit of the November 2020 election.
One shocking revelation from the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau’s report was the failure of Madison Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl to comply with a lawful request for physical access to records. Out of the 30 municipalities surveyed by LAB auditors, only the City of Madison refused to allow nonpartisan auditors full access to their ballot certificates.
During Tuesday’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing, State Auditor Joe Chrisman verified he was not given access to the requested materials as part of the LAB audit released on October 22, and made it clear that he and his team would review the records when provided.
“Having to sign the third subpoena in the history of the Senate is not something I take lightly. It’s unfortunate and concerning that a few people running elections think they are more important than the electorate,” said Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield). “I sign this with the full effect of the law behind it. We are not playing games, and there will be consequences if they don’t comply.”
“The materials we demand in the subpoena belong to the people of Wisconsin,” said Majority Leader LeMahieu (R-Oostburg). “We need access to those records to continue the investigation on their behalf.”