Nearly $9 million in Zuckerberg grant funds directed solely to five Democratic strongholds in Wisconsin violated the state’s election code’s prohibition on bribery. That conclusion represents but one of the many troubling findings detailed in the report submitted today by a state-appointed special counsel to the Wisconsin Assembly.
Last August, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos authorized the Office of Special Counsel, headed by retired state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman, to investigate concerns about election integrity and the 2020 election. Gableman delivered an interim report to the state assembly on November 10, 2021. Earlier today, the special counsel provided a second interim report to the state legislative body, noting the report “is final in the sense that it provides a list of recommendations with time for the Legislature to act before the close of its session in March.”
While the special counsel’s nearly 150-page report closed with recommendations for the state’s legislative body, Gableman stressed from the get-go that the report did not seek to re-analyze the re-count that occurred in late 2020. Nor was the report’s purpose to challenge certification of the presidential election. Rather, the report represented a small step toward fulfilling “the duty of all citizens of our State and our nation to work hard to secure our democracy for this generation and the next,” the special counsel explained.
From the details exposed in Monday’s special counsel report, the state legislature has much work to do to address “the numerous questionable and unlawful actions of various actors in the 2020 election.” The first unlawful action, according to the report, concerned the payment of grant funds to five Wisconsin counties that were used to facilitate voting. That arrangement, Gableman wrote, violated Wis. Stat. § 12.11, which prohibits election bribery by providing it is illegal to offer anything of value to or for any person in order to induce any elector to go to the polls or vote.