WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Sept. 21, five Republican members of the Wisconsin Assembly circulated a resolution with 15 articles of impeachment for the state’s top election official, Meagan Wolfe.
One of those five members is Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R) whose vehement election denialism had her barred from private caucus meetings with other Republicans and labeled “inept” by party leadership last year. Also a part of this “gaggle of well-known election deniers,” as described by Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard (D), is Rep. Chuck Wichgers, who, along with Brandtjen, was among the lawmakers who signed a letter asking former Vice President Mike Pence to delay the certification of the 2020 election results on Jan. 6, 2021.
As a nonpartisan elections official, Wolfe was nominated to lead the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) by the agency itself in 2019 and confirmed with unanimous support by the Republican-led Wisconsin Senate. WEC is a bipartisan commission formed in 2016 to serve as the state’s election regulatory agency and carries out a wide range of election administration-related functions for the state.
Since 2020, Wolfe and Republican legislators have sparred over the conservative lawmakers’ dedication to unfounded and debunked election conspiracies related to the results of the 2020 presidential election, despite the fact that “every major decision relating to the 2020 presidential election was made by [WEC’s] six bipartisan Commissioners in public meetings.”
In a statement responding to the resolution, Wolfe slammed the accusations levied against her: “The claims in this resolution have been thoroughly examined through numerous audits, investigations, and lawsuits, and they have shown that Wisconsin’s elections are run with integrity. It’s irresponsible for this group of politicians to willfully distort the truth when they’ve been provided the facts for years.”
Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer (D) connected this most recent effort to remove Wolfe with the Republicans’ ongoing efforts to impeach state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz, asserting that “Legislative Republicans…are clearly willing to sink to incredible lows to cement their power and undermine the will of the people.” In a Democracy Docket podcast released this morning, Neubauer elaborated on Republican lawmakers’ motivations behind their attempted removal: “Meagan Wolfe will do everything she can to provide Wisconsinites access to the ballot box, and Republicans are threatened by that and are taking illegal actions to try to remove her from the post.”
All of this comes after last week’s allegedly unlawful Senate vote on her removal, which is being challenged in court by the state’s attorney general. Wolfe has since promised to remain in her position and cautioned Wisconsinites, “I think it would set a dangerous precedent that says if you bully and harass an elected official enough, they’ll just leave.”