, ,

More than year after being hired by Robin Vos, Michael Gableman looks to put powerful speaker out of a job

Michael Gableman has endorsed Vos primary opponent Adam Steen, a move Vos called a desperate attempt to remain relevant

Michael Gableman stands at a podium and points around the room as he speaks. Attendees are seated behind him.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman speaks Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

More than a year after he was hired by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to lead a Republican election investigation, former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is trying to put Vos out of a job.

Gableman has endorsed Republican Adam Steen in his primary campaign against Vos for the 63rd state Assembly district west of Racine. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Steen last week.

Vos announced in June of 2021 that he was hiring Gableman to lead an investigation of the 2020 election, initially signing a contract with the former justice that paid him $11,000 per month to lead the Assembly Office of Special Counsel. Vos recently renewed Gableman’s contract at a rate of $5,000 per month while various lawsuits connected to the investigation play out in court.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

In a robocall obtained by WisPolitics, Gableman suggested that Vos had stood in the way of the investigation rather than supporting it.

“You know, Robin Vos never wanted a real investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin, and everything that my office and I have been able to do to expose all the corruption that took place has been in spite of Robin and not because of him,” Gableman said in the recording.

Gableman’s report on his investigation, delivered to the state Legislature in early March, was highly critical of the way the election was administered — though it did not uncover widespread fraud. Gableman told lawmakers they should consider overturning President Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin, a move election law experts say is impossible. The Washington Post reported that Gableman later sent a private memo to Vos telling the speaker that decertification was “a practical impossibility.”

In a statement responding to Gableman’s endorsement of Steen, Vos’ campaign told WisPolitics that Gableman knew overturning the election was both unconstitutional and impossible.

“His attempts to lie to voters and gain favor with Adam Steen are sad and show how desperate he is to remain relevant,” Vos said.

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes — a margin similar to several other razor-thin statewide elections in recent years.

Trump visited Wisconsin Friday in an event that was originally billed as “in support of Tim Michels for Governor of Wisconsin and the entire Wisconsin Trump Ticket.” Trump endorsed Michels in June, giving him the nod over other Republicans including former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

While Trump gave Michels top billing at his rally, he also spent time promoting Steen, shining a spotlight on a candidate who was until recently a political unknown outside of the district. The former president also attacked Vos, calling him a RINO, shorthand for “Republican In Name Only.”

Trump also used his speech to repeatedly praise Gableman, who was in the crowd for the rally and delivered a prayer to begin the event.

Gableman remains under a taxpayer-funded contract with Vos that includes no expiration date. Under the terms of the contract, either Gableman or Vos can terminate the agreement by providing written notice to the other party.