Transparency or Dereliction of Duty?

It has been over six months since the Wisconsin Republican leadership of our State Senate and Assembly has convened the legislature to act on pandemic relief. 

In that time, over 3,000 people in the state have died from the virus, our hospitals are strained to the brink of capacity, 400,000 people have been infected, and millions of Wisconsinites have been rocked by unemployment, debt, and jarring economic hardship.  

Now, Republicans in Madison are convening a hearing on December 11th ordered by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and aimed at promoting conspiracy theories about our election — not about COVID-19, our economy, our schools, or any aspect of the challenges facing people across Wisconsin — in order to sow doubt about the outcome and distract from their failure to lead us through this crisis

Wisconsin State Representative Ron Tusler’s announcement regarding the Conspiracy Theory Circus happening in Madison today. Tusler chairs the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections. 

While some Wisconsin State Legislators allege that the purpose of the hearing is transparency and accountability, it is clear that this is simply a stunt to make it appear as though they are fulfilling their obligations as elected officials while the state continues to struggle … and they continue to avoid any and all action that would bring real, meaningful solutions and relief to Wisconsinites from Kenosha to Superior.

Here’s an example: the witness list today is incredibly short on expert testimony, and instead hands the microphone to a litany of conservative partisans including a Milwaukee radio talk show host and a US Postal Service whistleblower whose claims were debunked. On the other hand, neither Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe, nor Milwaukee Election Commission director Claire Woodall-Vogg were welcomed to participate. On its own, this witness list makes it clear that the committee is likely not equipped to fulfill is purported mission of determining the election’s validity – but rather positions it well to continue to the conspiracy-laden and fact-free crusade to do Trump’s bidding and cast doubt on the results, which have been scrutinized, recounted, verified, and certified.

Make no mistake about it: this is an urgent moment for our health, safety, and democracy. Throughout our history, we have fought to expand the right to vote to more Americans, including people without property, Black people, and women. Despite the pandemic, the economic crisis, and deliberate barriers set to keep Black, young, and new Wisconsinites from voting, we turned our in record numbers and chose new leaders to deliver relief for working families and small businesses, ensure we can get and stay well, and govern for us all. All of this while people across Wisconsin are now struggling to make ends meet and watching our loved ones suffer while people caring for us do without protective equipment and adequate hospital beds.

Meanwhile, a handful of GOP politicians in Wisconsin are hoping to distract us from their failures to take any precautionary measures or protect our frontline workers. Instead, they want to shift our attention to false accusations and sow doubt in a legitimate and secure election process they know they’ve lost. Any attempts to cast doubts about this election or throw out the votes of people based on what we look like or where we live set Wisconsin and our country back. 

But – and this is where our power lies – we aren’t falling for their deceptive plan. We pull through by pulling together, like we have done in the past. It’s time we move forward together, and for our lawmakers to do their duty and put in place real solutions to make Wisconsin a place where all of us can thrive. Tell Wisconsin legislators to back off our ballots and do their jobs!

David Mettille is the Communications Manager for Progress North.

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