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Brown County rejects election audit subpoena

Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls)
Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls)(Wisconsin State Legislature)
Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 5:20 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Brown County rejected a subpoena from a state lawmaker who wants to audit the 2020 presidential election results.

Brown County Corporation Counsel responded to State Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) Friday afternoon, saying it concluded her subpoena is “invalid and unenforceable.”

The letter, which was shared with Action 2 News, includes several reasons, including two memos from the Wisconsin Legislative Council; a lack of necessary signatures on the subpoena; no information from Brandtjen’s office how the county clerk is supposed to pay for “significant unbudgeted costs” to provide the ballots, machines, and election-related original documents and materials required by the subpoena; and no information about any procedures in place to hand over the materials without the county clerk violating their duty to “preserve the integrity of the election by retaining custody and control” over those ballots, machines and materials (you can read the full text below). Brandtjen’s 7-page subpoenas also reportedly requested software and routers.

Milwaukee County rejected the subpoena from Brandtjen earlier Friday. Local and state election officials have repeatedly said there were no widespread issues in the 2020 election, and Congress, election officials, and the courts acknowledge that President Joe Biden won the election in Wisconsin.

Brandtjen chairs the Assembly Elections Committee.

Attorneys for the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council -- attorneys for the legislature -- said only the Assembly Speaker and Chief Clerk would have the authority to issue such subpoenas.

The chair of the Senate Elections Committee has said she doesn’t think such an investigation would be “fruitful.”

Full text of Brown County’s response to election audit subpoena

Rep. Brandtjen:

We have received and reviewed the Subpoena you issued to Brown County Clerk Patrick W. Moynihan, Jr. on August 6, 2021, and the Brown County Corporation Counsel is now issuing this response on his behalf.

We have concluded that the Subpoena is invalid and unforceable for, in part, the reasons set forth in two recent memos issued by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council, primarily due to the lack of necessary signatures on the Subpoena.

In addition, Brown County has received no contact whatsoever from your office regarding how you propose that Clerk Moynihan pay for the significant unbudgeted costs that would be incurred if he were to comply with your Subpoena as written, nor has any procedure been put forth by your office that would allow Clerk Moynihan to comply with said Subpoena, while at the same time complying with his duty to preserve the integrity of the election by retaining custody and control over ballots, machines and other election related original documents and materials located in Brown County that you have requested.

Please feel free to reach out to the Corporation Counsel Office should you wish to discuss this matter further, or if you have any related questions, comments or concerns.

Thank you for your inquiry regarding this matter.

David P. Hemery, Brown County Corporation Counsel

Copyright 2021 WBAY. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.