Open Cases Expert Says Vos Contempt Charge Unprecedented
MADISON, Wis. – Bill Lueders, the president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said he had never seen a lawsuit open to the point where a judge found a lawmaker in contempt.
Dane County Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn’s action Wednesday to hold Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in contempt for failing to release documents was Lueders’ first.
“An official in contempt of court for refusing to provide records – that’s a pretty extraordinary thing,” he said. “Most Democrats and most Republicans are pretty good at providing access to records.”
The issue stems from a lawsuit filed by the liberal group American Oversight seeking records preserved in connection with the Gableman investigation into the 2020 election. A lawyer for Vos forwarded the request for records to Gableman, but Bailey- Rihn said that wasn’t enough.
“Robin Vos had delegated the search for contractors” [Gableman’s] records to an employee who did nothing more than send a vague email to a contractor,” she wrote in her ruling.
“Whether the Defendants intended this deplorable inaction to be dismissive does not matter…the Court finds that the Defendants fail in their duty to show that their conduct was not dismissive,” he said. she adds.
Under the ruling, Vos has 14 days to either produce the documents requested in the lawsuit or provide the judge with proof that he himself adequately searched for the documents. If he fails to do so, he will incur a daily fine of $1,000.
“He’s a liberal judge from Dane County, basically using the power of his office to try to make us look bad,” Vos told the Racine Journal Times. The Speaker’s Desk did not return a request from News 3 Now.
“They’re really the ones trying to stop our investigation — it’s all focused on them not wanting to find out the truth about what happened in 2020,” Vos added. “But at the end of the day, a Dane County judge does what a Dane County judge does, which usually hurts conservatives.”
Lueders said it was just Vos waiving responsibility.
“If you listen to what Robin Vos’ defense was – blaming the judge who is supposedly trying to make Republicans look bad – it’s clear that he actually despises the idea that he should be held accountable to whoever. whatever,” he said.
“People need to see all the tapes, not just the tapes that Judge Gableman and President Vos want you to see,” said Melanie Sloan of American Oversight. “You must really be wondering how Judge Gableman uncovered voter fraud when no documents in his possession appear to reveal such fraud.”
Vos did not say in his interview with the Racine Journal Times whether he planned to appeal Dane County’s decision, saying he needed to talk to his attorneys. His office did not return a request Thursday when asked about those specific plans.
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