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Wisconsin Democrats seek removal of Elections Commissioner who was ‘alternate elector’ in 2020

But a top Republican stood by the appointment of Commissioner Bob Spindell

Clouds and a blue sky are the backdrop for the Wisconsin State Capitol
The Wisconsin state Capitol on Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

A group of Democratic state lawmakers has called for the removal of a Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission due to his role as one of 10 “alternate” GOP electors.

The call to rescind the appointment of Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Bob Spindell comes days after two other Wisconsin Republicans were subpoenaed by a U.S. House committee investigating the electors. It was quickly rejected by the state Senate’s top Republican, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is run by a bipartisan panel of six commissioners, four of whom are appointed by Republican and Democratic leaders in the state Legislature. Former state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgearld, R-Juneau, first appointed Spindell in 2019. After Fitzgerald was elected to Congress, LeMahieu reappointed Spindell for another term running from May 1, 2021 to May 1, 2026.

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On Dec. 14, 2020, Spindell and nine other Republicans met at the Wisconsin Capitol to cast votes as Republican electors for former President Donald Trump, later sending official-looking documents to the National Archives. The meeting happened on the same day Wisconsin’s actual electors cast their votes for President Joe Biden.

Late last month, the Select U.S. House Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States announced the subpoenas of two of the Republicans who met that day, Andrew Hitt and Kelly Ruh. Hitt is the former chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Sen. Chis Larson, D-Milwaukee, sent a letter Wednesday calling on LeMahieu to rescind Spindell’s appointment.

“Today, I am calling on you to stand up for the integrity of our free and fair elections by rescinding your appointment of Mr. Spindell as WEC Commissioner,” Larson wrote in the letter, which was co-signed by another 13 Democratic lawmakers. “Failing to do so would be an admission that you support Mr. Spindell’s actions, and would serve as a strong signal to those who would attempt to defraud future Wisconsin elections that so long as your preferred candidate is the beneficiary, you will do nothing to prevent or intervene to stop future crimes against America.”

LeMahieu quickly rejected the call from Larson, issuing a written statement standing by Spindell.

“Bob Spindell will continue to serve as this legal theater plays out,” LeMahieu said. “Nothing will come of it, and Chris Larson will chase the next opportunity to get on The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Larson was recently a guest on Maddow’s MSNBC program, where he discussed the GOP electors meeting.

Spindell did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.

A statement from the Republican Party of Wisconsin issued the day the false electors met said Republicans wanted to “preserve our role in the electoral process with the final outcome still pending in the courts.” The U.S. House Committee investigating the electors have said their actions and the letters they sent to Washington were used as a justification to delay or block certification of Biden’s electors Jan. 6, 2021.

There have been other attempts to punish the false electors that have yet to materialize. The liberal firm Law Forward filed a complaint last year with the Wisconsin Elections Commission, arguing Spindell and others violated state law by with an intent to deceive Congress.

Law Forward has also sought an investigation of the electors with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.