We now have a better understanding of why Speaker Robin Vos won’t release the names of people working with Michael Gableman on his “investigation” into last November’s election. He’s embarrassed — and he has every right to be.
Vos hired the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, who was never considered the sharpest member of the court, to lead this partisan “investigation” and gave him a budget of $680,000 in taxpayer money and leeway to hire whoever he wanted to assist him. But both Vos and Gableman have refused to name those who Gableman has hired.
Let’s pause here to drink in the irony. This is an “investigation” allegedly aimed at transparency (though nothing is opaque about how Wisconsin elections are run) and yet Vos and Gableman refuse to so much as release the names of people who are being paid with taxpayer dollars.
Yesterday a Dane County judge ruled, in response to an open records request, that Vos has to turn over whatever documents he has in regard to all this. And one of the “investigators” has outed himself by contacting election officials and the Madison City Attorney.
He is Andrew Kloster (aka John Delta). Kloster used “John Delta” in an email that got tied to one Gableman sent out early in his “investigation.” Why Kloster did that is anybody’s guess, but it just reenforces the bizarre and slightly comical nature of the whole escapade.
Anyway, Kloster/Delta is a Washington DC attorney, who worked in the Trump administration.
According to this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal, “Kloster in April posted online that “the 2020 presidential election was stolen, fair and square” and Wisconsin’s election training was “woefully inadequate.””
But wait a minute. Later in the same story the Journal reports that last month Kloster took up the Fond du Lac clerk’s offer to visit and learn how an election is run. So, if the guy didn’t have the faintest idea of how all this worked until recently how could he make a claim back in April that training was inadequate much less that the election was stolen?
This is the quality of “investigator” that Gableman is hiring. No wonder Vos wants to keep this quiet.
But apparent incompetence is the least of the problems with Kloster.
“The issue is that we need our own army of local bureaucrats,” Kloster wrote. “And we need to fight for our locales. We need our own irate hooligans (incidentally, this is why the left and our national security apparatus hates the Proud Boys) and our own captured DA offices to let our boys off the hook.” That was a reference to members of the far-right who were involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Let’s pull that whole ugly paragraph apart.
“The issue is we need our own army of local bureaucrats.” The clerks who run elections at the local level are nonpartisan civil servants. In my personal interactions with them over the years I’ve found them to be highly competent and hard-working people who take their jobs very seriously. They are in no way partisan hacks, as Kloster incorrectly and without evidence suggests here. Moreover, the vast majority of Wisconsin counties and municipalities went for Donald Trump. If Kloster was right and candidates only won elections because local elections officials somehow manipulated the process, well then, the Republicans are doing a much better job of it.
“We need our own irate hooligans.” Well, Mr. Kloster/Delta, I’d say you’ve already got them. See the Insurrection. See the Oklahoma City bombing. See Charlottesville. See the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. See the overall rise in domestic terrorism, almost exclusively coming from the right.
“Incidentally, this is why the left and our national security apparatus hates the Proud Boys).” No, Mr. Kloster/Delta, conscientious Americans of all stripes detest the Proud Boys because they are violent, neo-Nazi thugs.
“And (we need) our own captured DA offices to let our boys off the hook.” District attorney offices are not “captured”, Mr. Kloster/Delta, They are won in free and fair elections — something Kloster doesn’t think exist.
This last thought fragment from Kloster may be the most disturbing of all. It shows that he doesn’t believe in justice or the rule of law. To Kloster it’s all about power. If his side could only “capture” the right DA’s offices, then people who stormed the Capitol, attacked police officers and forced legislators to barricade themselves in their offices could be “let off the hook.”
And he brings that same Trumpian logic to elections, which he is now “investigating.” If only his side had their “own army of local bureaucrats” they could make sure they won every election, no matter how people actually voted.
Andrew Kloster is a vile character and yet here he is, coming to Wisconsin from DC, knowing nothing of our state or how cleanly our elections are run and yet making outrageous and unsubstantiated claims.
But ultimately don’t blame Kloster. Don’t even blame Gableman. Blame the man who made it all possible, and who now is so embarrassed by the incompetence and mania of those he hired that he wants to sweep it under the rug.
That man is Robin Vos.
Welcome to the 234th consecutive day of posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!