News You Can Use Digest - December 24, 2021 - State and Federal Communications

December 24, 2021  •  

News You Can Use Digest – December 24, 2021


A Retired Colonel’s Unlikely Role in Pushing Baseless Election Claims
MSN – Alan Feuer (New York Times) | Published: 12/21/2021

After President Biden’s inauguration, a former Army colonel with a background in information warfare appeared on a Christian conservative podcast and offered a detailed account of his monthslong effort to challenge the validity of the 2020 vote count. Phil Waldron told a story that was almost inconceivable: how a cabal of bad actors, including Chinese Communist officials, international shell companies, and the financier George Soros, had conspired to hack into U.S. voting machines in a “globalist/socialist” plot to steal the election. The postelection period gave fringe players an opportunity to find an audience in the White House.

Black Lawmakers Threaten to Cut Off K St Unless It Diversifies
Yahoo News – Hailey Fuchs and Laura Barrón-López (Politico) | Published: 12/19/2021

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are calling on the lobbying industry to diversify its offices in Washington, D.C. or risk losing their support. K Street has found itself scrambling in recent years to up its representation of employees of color. But the threats from Black lawmakers to stop meetings with certain firms represents one of the most aggressive attempts to force K Street to change from within. The increasing power and sheer size of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Democratic Party makes it a formidable political force on and off Capitol Hill.

Democratic Push on Voting Rights Becomes More Urgent as Midterms Approach
MSN – Theodoric Meyer (Washington Post) | Published: 12/22/2021

Senate Democrats not only failed to push their social spending bill over the finish line before the Christmas holidays. They also fell short on another of the party’s top priorities this year: approving a landmark package of voting rights measures. While Democrats argue the changes are critical to safeguarding democracy, strategists in both parties say the package could also reshape the battle for control of the House next year, potentially bolstering Democrats’ chances of hanging onto their majority in a year when Republicans have the edge.

GOP Agrees to Pay Up to $1.6 Million of Trump’s Legal Bills in N.Y. Probes
MSN – David Fahrenthold and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 12/16/2021

The Republican Party agreed to pay up to $1.6 million in legal bills for former President Trump to help him fight investigations into his business practices in New York. Paying Trump’s legal bills is a highly unusual move, longtime party observers and members say, because the spending has nothing to do with promoting the GOP’s policy agenda or political priorities, dealing with ongoing party business or campaigning – and relates to investigations that are not about Trump’s time as president or his work in the White House.

House Jan. 6 Committee Requests Information from and Meeting with GOP Rep. Jim Jordan About His Contact with Trump
MSN – Felicia Sonmez and Eugene Scott (Washington Post) | Published: 12/22/2021

The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob is seeking information from U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, one of former President Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill. Jordan has previously said he cannot recall how many times he spoke with Trump on January 6 but that they spoke at least once. In addition, a federal judge denied a motion by Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, for a temporary restraining order against the select committee over subpoenas it has issued against him.

Judge Rejects Fox News Request to Dismiss Dominion Voting’s Defamation Lawsuit Over Election Claims
MSN – Timothy Bella (Washington Post) | Published: 12/17/2021

A judge rejected a request from Fox News to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over baseless claims made against the company during the 2020 presidential election, allowing the suit to move forward. Superior Court Judge Eric Davis said it was “reasonably conceivable” for the voting-machine company to have a defamation claim. Dominion claims some of its highest-profile on-air talent helped elevate false charges that the company had changed votes to favor Joe Biden over then-President Trump.

Lead Capitol Riot Charge Is Constitutional, Judges Find
MSN – Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 12/20/2021

Three federal judges agreed that the most serious charge faced by those accused of participation in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, obstruction, is constitutional, a victory for the Justice Department and a blow to the defendants fighting those accusations. Without that felony charge, prosecutors would be left with only minor charges against many they view as playing a major role in the riot. The Justice Department has avoided charges of sedition, a rarely used law, and not all those accused of acting as key instigators were seen assaulting police officers.

Meadows Contempt Vote Poses Thorny Questions for DOJ
MSN – Rebecca Beitsch and Harper Neidig (The Hill) | Published: 12/20/2021

The House vote to hold Mark Meadows in contempt has presented the Department of Justice with the question of whether to prosecute the former White House chief of staff, forcing it to weigh the major legal and political consequences that could come with breaking from longstanding executive branch policy. The department’s stance has been to support testimonial immunity for the president’s close advisers when faced with congressional subpoenas. Charging Meadows with contempt would represent a departure from that historical trend and poses more complicated considerations for the department than its decision to prosecute Steve Bannon.

Proud Boy Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge in Capitol Riot
MSN – Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 12/22/2021

A New York man who was a member of the Proud Boys pleaded guilty to obstructing Congress and conspiring to obstruct law enforcement during the January 6 riot. The plea to the felony charge is significant because Matthew Greene admitted coordinating with other New York-based members of the extremist group at the front of the Capitol mob, although there is no evidence that he entered the building. Greene is the first self-admitted member of the Proud Boys to plead guilty in a felony conspiracy case stemming from the riot.

Rep. Scott Perry Calls Jan. 6 Panel ‘Illegitimate,’ Refuses to Cooperate
MSN – Chris Marquette (Roll Call) | Published: 12/21/2021

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry Rep. said he would not cooperate with the January 6 select committee’s investigation, a move that forces the panel to grapple with how it will extract information it seeks from a sitting member of Congress. The panel said it was interested in the role Perry played in an unsuccessful attempt to install Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general. Clark, a former assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources, met with Trump and other White House officials to consider ways the election results could be overturned.

Senate GOP Feels Another Trump Effect: The rise of celeb candidates
Yahoo News – Marianne Levine and Sarah Ferris (Politico) | Published: 12/23/2021

The most reliable springboard to the U.S. Senate used to be House experience – before Donald Trump vaulted from reality television to the White House. Some Republicans see his path as a blueprint for winning back the Senate. This campaign cycle, the GOP is coalescing around former football star Herschel Walker in Georgia and signaling an openness to surgeon and TV host Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. Many in the GOP are welcoming the development.

You Can Draw Your Own Congressional District
Politico – Ally Mutnick | Published: 12/22/2021

In a quirk of the decennial redistricting season, state legislators, who are in charge of drawing new maps, can draw a district for themselves or for their friends. The process is already inherently self-interested as lawmakers routinely draw maps for the benefit of their party, but in some cases, these politicians are working in their literal self-interest. Such moves can spur accusations of foul play from political rivals, and do not always work out as expected. And with more scrutiny than ever on the process, these acts are possibly becoming harder to pull off.

From the States and Municipalities

California Ex-S.F. Public Works Director Nuru Pleads Guilty to Federal Fraud Charge
MSN – Michael Cabanatuan (Sam Francisco Chronicle) | Published: 12/17/2021

Mohammed Nuru, San Francisco’s former public works director whose tenure was ended by a federal corruption probe that snowballed into numerous prosecutions against city officials and contractors, pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud. In the plea agreement, Nuru admitted to an extensive list of instances in which he accepted money, international trips, expensive jewelry and wine, and other goods and services from city contractors and developers in exchange for preferential treatment and confidential information about city business.

California LA Commissioner Lobbied CAO to Support His Company’s $3 Million COVID-19 Testing Contract
Los Angeles Daily News – Scott Schwebke | Published: 12/16/2021

An embattled Los Angeles fire and police pensions commissioner who rejected allegations he improperly lobbied city officials to approve a $3 million COVID-19 testing contract for his company pitched his proposal directly to City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo, who signed off on the no-bid contract in September. Dr. Pedram Salimpour maintained he was not engaged in the review or vetting process for the testing contract awarded to PPS Health, which does business as Bluestone Safe. But more than a dozen emails obtained by the Southern California News Group paint a different picture of Salimpour’s efforts to win the contract for Bluestone.

Colorado Hawaiian Fundraiser Prompts Campaign Finance Complaint against Attorney General
Colorado Public Radio – Bente Birkeland | Published: 12/22/2021

A complaint alleging Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser broke the state’s campaign finance laws will move forward, after the secretary of state’s office deemed it to be non-frivolous and said the allegations show one or more potential violations. The complaint argues Weiser failed to properly document a fundraiser he attended in Hawaii at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea Maui Resort.

Colorado Unite for Colorado Bankrolled Almost Every Major GOP Effort Last Year
ReInvestment News – Sandra Fish and Jesse Paul (Colorado Sun) | Published: 12/22/2021

A conservative political nonprofit that does not disclose its donors funded almost every major Republican political group and effort in Colorado last year, according to a tax document that for the first time reveals the breadth of the organization’s influence. The document also now ties Unite for Colorado to some of the state’s most well-known and active conservative political consultants and operatives. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office recently fined Unite for Colorado $40,000 and ordered it to disclose its 2020 donors after it spent $4 million to support or oppose three statewide ballot initiatives.

Florida Documents Show FPL Wrote Bill to Slow Rooftop Solar’s Growth by Hampering Net Metering
MSN – Mary Ellen Klas and Mario Ariza (Miami Herald) | Published: 12/20/2021

Rooftop solar power generation in Florida is still a nascent industry, but Florida Power & Light (FPL), the nation’s largest power company, is pushing to hamstring it by writing and hand-delivering legislation the company asked state lawmakers to introduce. FPL, whose work with “dark-money” political committees helped to secure Republican control of the state Senate in the 2020 elections, asked Sen. Jennifer Bradley to sponsor its top-priority bill: legislation that would hobble rooftop solar by preventing homeowners and businesses from offsetting their costs by selling excess power back to the company, an arrangement known as net metering.

Florida Two Education Department Leaders Resign After Investigation, Conflict of Interest
Florida Politics – Jason Delgado | Published: 12/22/2021

Two Florida Department of Education employees resigned in November after an investigation unearthed a plan to pursue a state contract for a company they managed. Vice Chancellor of Strategic Improvement Melissa Ramsey and State Board Member Richard Tuck sent a proposal to the Education Department after it asked 25 vendors for quotes on a bid to take over operations at Jefferson County Schools. Ramsey and Tuck applied to the request under the banner of Strategic Initiative Partners, though not among the 25 vendors solicited by the department.

Illinois ComEd Offers $21 Million Refund to Customers to Confront ICC Probes into Bribery Scheme. Watchdog Calls It ‘Chump Change.’
MSN – Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 12/17/2021

Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) is proposing a one-time $21 million refund to ratepayers for lobbying misconduct associated with its efforts to influence former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and advance its Springfield agenda. The amount of the refunds is mostly tied to pay and benefits received by former ComEd executives whose misconduct was outlined in the deal struck with federal prosecutors last year in which the utility agreed to pay a $200 million fine. Watchdog Abe Scarr called the proposed refund “chump change” for a company that is soon expected to collect $1 billion a year in profits and may not offer the credit until 2023.

Illinois Cook County Ethics Ordinance Slated for Biggest Overhaul in 15 Years, but Some Experts Want More
MSN – Alice Yin (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 12/15/2021

Cook County supervisors approved changes to its ethics ordinance that some experts on best practices say falls short on eradicating “pay-to-play” politics. The bill would make strides in tightening up rules on sexual harassment and nepotism as well as bolstering powers of the body that enforces the code. But it would double the cap on political contributions from those who do business with the county. Ethics experts also raised concerns over how a two-year delay in passing a new ordinance allowed Springfield to preempt the county from enacting stricter rules, particularly around lobbying.

Kentucky A Handful of Companies Dominate Road Work in Kentucky. The State Looks the Other Way.
Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting – Jacob Ryan and Jared Bennett | Published: 12/21/2021

Kentucky officials awarded nearly 2,300 road work contracts between 2018 and 2021. The transportation cabinet is exempt from following the state’s procurement code, instead following a bidding system experts say allows a few large companies to avoid competition for jobs. As a result, more than $2 billion in current work is controlled by a dozen companies, who often are the sole bidder on the contracts they are awarded. More than half of the 782 single-bid contracts were awarded for a price above the state estimate, whereas 85 percent of multiple-bid contracts were below state estimates.

Maryland Baltimore County Council Greenlights Fair Election Fund with Spending Caps
Yahoo News – Taylor DeVille (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 12/20/2021

Candidates for local office in Baltimore County will now have a new financing tool at their disposal after the county council passed an amended bill authorizing a public financing program. The council amended the bill to impose caps on how much candidates using the fund may spend and to revise requirements for qualifying candidates. The legislation would require candidates for council and county executive to meet different eligibility qualifications and seeks to encourage candidates to ask more donors to give smaller amounts of money.

Maryland Maryland’s New Congressional Map Draws First Legal Challenge
Yahoo News – Pamela Wood (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 12/22/2021

Maryland’s new map of congressional districts is facing its first legal challenge, a lawsuit brought by a dozen Republicans, including two who are hoping to be elected to Congress. In the lawsuit, they argue the new districts meander around the state in ways that divide communities to give Democrats an advantage at the ballot box. They are asking the state courts to throw out the new map and substitute a map drawn by a commission appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan, at least temporarily until the General Assembly can adopt a better map.

Michigan FBI Arrests Retired Detroit Cop Amid Corruption Crackdown
Detroit News – Robert Snell | Published: 12/16/2021

FBI agents arrested a former Detroit Police detective in connection with a bribery, extortion, and fraud investigation targeting Detroit City Hall, law enforcement, and municipal towing operations. The arrest of Mike Pacteles marks the latest expansion of “Operation Northern Hook,” a broader FBI investigation of public corruption within Detroit city government. The investigation and prosecution  led to criminal charges against four Detroit police personnel and former city Councilperson André Spivey, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges.

Michigan Whitmer Campaign Complaints on Plane Flights, Fundraising Dismissed
Detroit News – Beth LeBlanc | Published: 12/21/2021

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did not violate campaign finance laws when she accepted contributions above the state fundraising limit because she was facing recall efforts, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office said. But the Michigan Bureau of Elections said it would welcome a request to revisit and potentially revise the policy. Benson’s office also ruled Whitmer’s use of campaign funds to charter a private flight to visit her father in Florida this spring was not a campaign finance violation because it was for her physical safety.

Missouri Free Speech Violation? Ex-Missouri Rep Sues Because He’s Banned from Being a Lobbyist
MSN – Jeanne Kuang (Kansas City Star) | Published: 12/17/2021

A former lawmaker is suing the Missouri Ethics Commission over the state’s two-year ban on lawmakers becoming lobbyists, arguing the law prohibits his freedom of speech and requesting it be blocked. Former Rep. Rocky Miller alleges his inability to register as a lobbyist to serve a prospective client was denying him income. He also argues that because the two-year restriction “bans (him) from saying certain things, backed by the threat of criminal prosecution,” it is unconstitutional.

New York Attorney General Cites Problems with Ethics Panel’s Order to Cuomo
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 12/16/2021

The state attorney general’s office sent a letter to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) contending the panel did not issue a valid order when it voted to have former Gov. Andrew Cuomo surrender the $5.1million he was paid to write a book last year about his administration’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic. JCOPE had directed the governor to turn over the proceeds of his publishing deal to the attorney general’s office, which the panel said could then redistribute the funds according to law, including potentially returning the money to the publisher.

New York Hochul Ready to Rev Up Ethics Overhaul to Clean Up After Cuomo, Senate Ally Says
The City – Josepha Velasquez | Published: 12/15/2021

State Sen. Liz Krueger said she has been working with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office to revamp the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), an effort she expects the governor to announce in her annual State of the State address. Krueger is the sponsor of a bill that would replace the largely governor controlled JCOPE with a more independent government integrity commission that would have the power to initiate investigations and even remove non-elected officials from their jobs. Hochul has not yet hinted at her gameplan, which could include measures short of a total teardown.

New York Lobbyists Helped Hochul Raise $10M. What Are They Getting Back?
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 12/23/2021

After becoming governor of New York in late August, Kathy Hochul has raised campaign money at among the fastest clips in state history – $10 million in three months. When major lobbying firms have sought to have fundraisers, the governor’s campaign has requested they commit to raise $250,000 for events where Hochul appears in person. The lobbying firms raise the money from their clients, who then attend the events. They are often exclusive to the lobbying firm and those clients, who gain a few minutes interacting with the governor.

North Carolina Appeals Court: Rev. Barber removed from General Assembly in 2017 for his volume, not words
WRAL – Staff | Published: 12/21/2021

Former state NAACP leader Rev. William Barber’s defense that he used free speech during a 2017 protest at the Legislative Building is not relevant to his conviction for second-degree trespassing, and the verdict will stand, according to the court of appeals for North Carolina. Barber and others were charged with second-degree trespassing for refusing to leave the Legislative Building after they were told to go by General Assembly Police. Barber defended himself, saying the constitution says citizens have a right to assemble and instruct their lawmakers. But the appeals court ruled the case was not about free speech.

North Dakota Environmental Group Calls Out Conflicts of Interest on North Dakota Energy Board as $160M Funding Approved
Fargo Forum – Adam Willis | Published: 12/20/2021

An environmental group is calling out a new arm of the North Dakota government for allegedly mismanaging its conflicts-of-interest when it convened to recommend more than $160 million in state funds for fossil fuel-sector grants and loans. The Dakota Resource Council raised concerns about the handling of conflicts on the Clean Sustainable Energy Authority in a letter sent to the state Ethics Commission and Gov. Doug Burgum, in which the organization asked for more stringent rules regulating such conflicts in the future.

Ohio Cuyahoga County’s Consultant in Search for New Jail Is Also Listing Agent for Preferred Site
MSN – Kaitlin Durban (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 12/20/2021

Cuyahoga County’s real estate consulting firm, tapped to identify locations for the site of its new jail, is also the listing agent for one of the final properties under consideration. The relationship raises concerns about conflicts-of-interest in a multimillion-dollar project that members of a committee meant to oversee the process worry is now devolving into “chaos” and unilateral decisions that could undermine their work.

Ohio Ex-Ohio Legislative Candidate Fined $50,000 for Failing to Report Campaign-Finance Expenses
MSN – Andrew Tobias (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 12/16/2021

The Ohio Elections Commission fined an ex-legislative candidate $50,000 for failing to report more than $290,000 in campaign-related expenses. Allen Freeman, a township trustee from Clermont County, tried to get the case dismissed after he liquidated his account, arguing that because the committee had been dissolved, it could not be found liable. But the commission found Freeman misstated his campaign finances by reporting spending just $14,000 on his failed 2020 campaign for state representative, even though public records show his campaign bought roughly $118,000 in television ads.

Ohio Ohio Job and Family Services Employee Cut Off Relative’s Unemployment Benefits After Fight
MSN – Jessie Balmert (Columbus Dispatch) | Published: 12/16/2021

A Department of Job and Family Services employee cut off her relative’s unemployment benefits following a fight, according to an Ohio Inspector General’s report. Customer service representative Quenise Barnes improperly accessed a relative’s pandemic unemployment assistance 10 times in May and eventually cut off that person’s benefits. The relative reported a fight had occurred with Barnes on May 7 and she subsequently turned off the person’s benefits, citing “fraud.”

Oklahoma The Jump from Political Staffer to Lobbyist Isn’t a Far One, at Least in Oklahoma
Yahoo News – Ben Felder (Oklahoman) | Published: 12/19/2021

It is not uncommon for elected officials in Oklahoma to become paid lobbyists once they leave office and there is no state law that prevents it. But there is also no ban on former state employees from becoming lobbyists, which is another pathway for public officials to take their knowledge to the private sector. The state Ethics Commission voted twice in recent years to establish “cooling off” laws that would ban public officials from moving straight into a lobbying job. But each time those rules were voted down by the state Legislature.

Oregon Competing Measures Could Muddy Oregon’s Campaign Finance Debate
OPB – Dirk VanderHart | Published: 12/20/2021

After they came to an impasse over how Oregon should crack down on money in politics, left-leaning organizations are signaling they might just fight it out at the ballot box. Two groups that are often aligned filed dueling ballot measure proposals for how to place limits on the state’s permissive campaign finance laws. Six separate ideas for cracking down on political giving in the state have now been floated for the November 2022 ballot. Many, if not most, will die before they reach voters, but even two competing measures next year could create confusion that advocates have been hoping to avoid.

Oregon How Much Did Interest Groups Shape Oregon’s New Legislative Districts? Here’s Why It’s Tough to Say
MSN – Hillary Borrud (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 12/16/2021

Lobbyists for unions and at least one industry-affiliated group used sophisticated data analysis to calculate how proposed legislative districts in Oregon would impact Democrats’ and Republicans’ chances in future elections and shared that information with lawmakers. Other outside groups did the same, according to testimony in a redistricting lawsuit, and practically none of that is required to be disclosed to the public. The lack of transparency around the forces at play in shaping how Oregonians’ votes will count during the next decade is a result of both how the state handles redistricting, and the state’s limited lobbying disclosure requirements.

Pennsylvania ‘Glaring Giant Loophole:’ Philly Council members have to report who pays them, but not their spouses
MSN – Sean Collins Walsh (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 12/23/2021

Unlike lawmakers in other cities and states, as well as members of Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, Philadelphia City Council members are not required to disclose their spouses’ sources of income. The issue of paying members’ spouses is expected to be central in the corruption trial of Councilperson Kenyatta Johnson. Prosecutors have accused him of accepting a bribe in the form of charter school consulting work for his wife in exchange for helping a group in his district secure a zoning change. The potential for Johnson to take official action to secure work for his wife also surfaced in the corruption trial this fall of Councilperson Bobby Henon.

South Carolina Former Richland County Recreation Director Facing Ethics Charges Over Raises, Promotions
Charleston Post and Courier – Stephen Fastenau | Published: 12/16/2021

South Carolina’s Ethics Commission will decide whether a former Richland County recreation chief broke the law by signing off on family members’ raises and promotions. A hearing on the ethics charges was held after James Brown III was cleared of criminal charges related to his tenure. Brown, the head of the Richland County Recreation Commission until his resignation in 2016 amid allegations of nepotism and sexual harassment, faces six counts of violating state ethics laws meant to ensure public officials do not use their position for personal gain.

Texas Former Houston Schools Trustee Kept a ‘Bribe Ledger’ Listing $20,000 in Illegal Payoffs, Feds Say
Houston Public Media – Paul DeBenedetto | Published: 12/17/2021

A former Houston Independent School District trustee and board president agreed to cooperate with the federal government for her role in an alleged scheme in which prosecutors say she kept a “bribe ledger” to keep track of $20,000 in payments from a contractor, part of an investigation that also led to the indictment of the district’s former chief operating officer. Rhonda Skillern-Jones used her role at the district to push for the hiring of a landscaping contractor who was later at the center of an alleged illegal kickback scheme.

Washington Tim Eyman in Default, Assets to Be Sold to Satisfy $5.4 Million Debt
Seattle Times – David Gutman | Published: 12/23/2021

Tim Eyman, the serial initiative filer and conservative provocateur who owes the state of Washington more than $5 million after years of “particularly egregious” campaign finance violations, is in default and staring at the court-ordered sale of his assets. Eyman is under a court-ordered plan requiring him to make monthly $10,000 payments to pay down his fine and other fees. He has missed his last four monthly payments. A judge ordered his bankruptcy case shifted to Chapter 7, which means the court appoints a trustee who will be responsible for selling Eyman’s assets and distributing the proceeds to his debtors.

Wisconsin ‘A Real Conflagration’: Wisconsin emerges as front line in war over the 2020 vote
MSN – Rosalind Helderman and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 12/16/2021

A legislative-backed investigation into the 2020 election results in Wisconsin headed by a former state Supreme Court justice has picked up steam in recent weeks. The inquiry makes little pretense of neutrality and is being led by figures who have shown allegiance to Donald Trump or embraced false claims of fraud. In a state that is likely to see some of the nation’s most competitive races in 2022 for governor and U.S. Senate, there are now multiple efforts underway to scrutinize how the last election was run, including a recommendation by a county sheriff to prosecute and jail state election officials.

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