The bogus “investigation” of Joe Biden’s 2020 win in Wisconsin could extend forever into the horizon, melting into our collective consciousness until the human project comes to a sputtering end, and all memory of our presence lies deep in the neurons of our vertebrae’d brethren.
That was the news from Madison Wednesday, as the leader of that partisan probe, former state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman, signed yet another contract with the state’s Republican-led legislature – this one without any mention of an end date.
The investigator will be paid $5,500 per month, including rent for an office, in exchange, it seems, for doing nothing.
That’s right: As lawsuits over Gableman’s probe drag on in Wisconsin courts, the actual investigating, to the extent it was happening in the first place, has been placed on hold.
The contract states that it is being extended so Gableman’s office “may remain open in order prosecute [sic] a series of lawsuits the Office is engaged in.”
The contract “will terminate upon the conclusion of all outside lawsuits involving the Office or special investigator, as either plaintiff or defendant,” it says later.
The lawsuits are numerous: There’s the fight over his subpoenas of local officials, who Gableman has threatened with jail time if they don’t speak with him behind closed doors, and also numerous suits over public records violations.
State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R), who’s bankrolled Gableman’s probe with public money and is the other signatory on the new contract, has been held in contempt of court for records violations relating to the investigation. Earlier this month, the same judge commented in frustration, “I’m frankly amazed that I have to say, ‘Don’t destroy records that are subject to an open records request.’”
The latest contract extension comes after a menacing April 25 statement from Donald Trump, seemingly threatening to support the primary challengers of Republicans who get in the way of the probe, as well as Gableman’s own pressure campaign, which involved appearing on Steve Bannon’s show and urging viewers to call Vos’ office and pressure him to continue the investigation.
The new contract says it took effect on May 1. The lack of any deadline listed on the extension is notable: Gableman’s probe was originally slated to end on Oct. 31 last year – then December, then February, then April.
Not that the investigator has much to show for his ever-extending timeline.
After an early admission that he did not have “any understanding of how elections work,” Gableman eventually suggested that the legislature consider decertifying the 2020 election in Wisconsin — a legal impossibility — based on data points such as his alarming assertion that fully 100% of nursing home residents in several counties had voted in the last election — a claim that turned out to be completely false.