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Friday, December 2nd, 2022
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MADISON — The Wisconsin Elections Commission continues to stonewall open records requests from the Assembly committee investigating the 2020 elections.

While the left and its defenders in the media push the “Big Lie” narrative, they’re silent on the games WEC and some local elections officials are playing in hiding key documents from public review.

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), who chairs the Campaign and Elections Committee, has advised WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe the foot-dragging must end now.

A memo from the Wisconsin Legislative Council confirms WEC needs to turn over the voter records the committee seeks and, contrary to Wolfe’s mischaracterization of the state’s open record laws, the documents must be released free of charge.

The committee has been waiting more than seven months for the Elections Commission to deliver voter registration data as lawmakers conduct their authorized oversight and investigative activities.

Wolfe has either lied to Brandtjen and the committee or, as WEC has frequently done, illegally interpreted state laws to delay the release. She told Brandtjen that the committee would have to fork over costly fees to obtain the records and that the full six-member Wisconsin Elections Commission would first have to consider the records requests.

Wolfe also told Brandtjen that the voter data is “hosted, stored, or otherwise resides on servers and systems” through the Department of Administration’s Division of Enterprise Technology. In other words, it is up to DOA to fill the Assembly committee’s request.

But DOA Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld made it clear to Brandtjen that WEC has “both the ability and responsibility” to comply with her information request.

“The Department of Administration (DOA) is not responsible for, nor manages, the Voter Identification Database or the Wisconsin Voter System. Although DOA’s Division of Enterprise Technology supports a variety of servers for enterprise technology throughout Wisconsin, including servers for state agencies such as the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC), DOA is not the custodian of WEC’s records or data,” Blumenfeld wrote in a response to Brandtjen.

“I only requested that you provide non-confidential information, which you are required by statute to collect, and that you produce it in the same format you already use to provide other statutorily required information to the general public,” Brandtjen wrote in a July 6 email to Wolfe.

The Wisconsin Legislative Council memo last month confirms that WEC is required to turn over requested information to Assembly committees, which have “clear authority to conduct investigations and oversee state agencies.”

“The Elections Committee has determined that WEC’s voter registration data will assist the Elections Committee in completing this task. Therefore, WEC is statutorily required to provide the Elections Committee with access to the requested voter registration data without charging a fee for public inspection, as provided under s. 13.45 (7), Stats.,” the June 16 memo states.

Brandtjen said Wolfe’s insistence on consulting with WEC’s chairman and bringing the lawmaker’s request before the full commission “is nothing more than a calculated slow-walk to evade transparency and deny the public and its elected representatives critical information in this year’s primary and general elections.”

Interestingly, Wolfe did not seek authorization from the chairman and commission before filing a lawsuit against Special Counsel Michael Gableman to block his efforts to obtain records, Brandtjen said.

“You certainly do not need the Chairman or the Commission’s approval to produce my request, especially now that the Legislative Council has instructed your compliance,” Brandtjen wrote.

While WEC and local elections officials in Democrat-heavy cities have brushed aside any concerns about the administration of the 2020 presidential election (lumping legitimate questions with their “Big Lie” narrative), they have refused to turn over records. Taking advice from Democrat Gov. Tony Evers to “lawyer up,” elections officials in Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay have openly defied subpoenas to turn over documents.

There has been no accountability, and Brandtjen and the committee are beyond frustrated.

“This is our last ditch effort to give WEC the opportunity to fulfill their legal obligations to make sure we have free, transparent elections,” the lawmaker said.

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