Gov. Tony Evers calls for legal consequence for false electors

Attorney General Josh Kaul will not say whether there's an ongoing investigation

Gov. Tony Evers looks ahead as he speaks.
Gov. Tony Evers speaks before signing the 2023-2025 biennial budget Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Gov. Tony Evers is calling for Wisconsin’s false electors to be “held accountable” for their plan to cast the state’s electoral votes for Donald Trump in the last presidential election.

Ten Wisconsinites gathered at the state Capitol Dec. 14, 2020, and cast false electoral votes for Trump after Joe Biden’s victory in the state. Republicans in six other swing states took similar actions. That plan is a key component in the Aug.1 federal indictment of Trump.

The former president is charged with four felony counts in the case — Conspiracy to Defraud the United States; Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding; Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding; and Conspiracy Against Rights.

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The plan for false electors in the swing states to cast votes for Trump despite Biden’s victory at the polls is a major part of the indictment. Trump and his team of supporters is alleged to have used those alternative slates as part of a campaign to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence into certifying the election in Trump’s favor.

On Friday, Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the 10 Wisconsinites who cast the false ballots should face consequences for their actions.

The same day, Evers tweeted, “What those ten fake electors did was wrong. People have to be held accountable for that, and I hope to hell somebody does.”

Last month, Michigan’s attorney general announced felony charges against 16 Michiganders who signed certificates falsely attesting to Trump’s victory and sent them to the National Archives.

Wisconsin’s Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has consistently refused to comment on whether there is an ongoing investigation into the group’s actions.

Kaul reiterated that stance this week when questioned by reporters who had gathered for a press conference the attorney general called to discuss the state’s efforts to combat opioid addiction.

“We generally don’t confirm or deny the existence of investigations and we’re sticking with that,” Kaul said.

But Kaul said he supported the ongoing federal investigation — and resulting charges — from what he called “an unprecedented attack on the seat of American government.”

He said he expected, based on the inclusion of unnamed co-conspirators in the indictment, there will be additional charges.

“I certainly expect we will see further developments involving the people identified in that document,” Kaul said. “And for other states, including Wisconsin, it’s my view that those who committed crimes with the goal of overturning the results of the election should be held accountable.”

The false electors in Wisconsin include then-state Republican Party Chair Andrew Hitt and Robert Spindell, who continues to serve on Wisconsin’s Elections Commission. Hitt has said previously that the Republican electors were maintaining legal options.

“The Wisconsin Electors were simply following the guidance of Wisconsin legal counsel to preserve the ongoing Wisconsin legal strategy,” Hitt said in a written statement, after being subpoenaed by a U.S. House Committee in January 2022. “There was no intent beyond that.”

Trump and his allies filed and lost dozens of legal challenges attempting to overturn the election results.