Republicans introduce resolution to impeach state's top election official

MADISON Wis. (CBS 58) -- A group of GOP lawmakers have proposed a resolution to impeach the state's nonpartisan top election official just days after Senate Republicans held a vote to fire her.

The Assembly resolution targets Meagan Wolfe, the administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, for "maladministration in office and potential violations of election laws."

Republican Representatives Janel Brandtjen, Rep. Scott Allen, Rep. Elijah Behnke, Rep. Ty Bodden, and Rep. Chuck Wichgers proposed the resolution detailing 15 articles of impeachment.

A resolution must be referred to a committee before it's brought to the floor for consideration, a decision Assembly Speaker Robin Vos would make. A spokeswoman for Vos was not immediately available for comment.

A majority vote in the Assembly would be required to impeach Wolfe and two-thirds vote in the Senate.

Wolfe is currently in the center of a legal battle brought forth by Attorney General Josh Kaul who argues Senate Republicans had no authority to try and appoint a new administrator by voting to remove her last week.

Republicans have called on Wolfe to resign since the fallout of the 2020 presidential election which was narrowly won by President Joe Bide. Many have attacked Wolfe for guidelines the bipartisan elections commission made to carry out the election in the midst of the pandemic.

Some articles of impeachment accuse Wolfe of "unlawfully promoting" the use of absentee ballot drop boxes and for "facilitating illegal absentee voting in long-term care facilities without the presence of Special Voting Deputies."

The commission unanimously approved a policy to ban voting deputies from entering nursing homes during the pandemic, a vote that later changed to 5-1. Wolfe did not have a say in the decision as she doesn't have a vote on policies enacted by commissioners.

Wolfe defended the accusations in a statement. 

"It's irresponsible for this group of politicians to willfully distort the truth when they've been provided the facts for years,' Wolfe said. "These attempts, while unlikely to succeed, only serve as a distraction from the hard work election officials need to be doing to prepare for the next presidential election.” 

Numerous reviews, audits and recounts confirmed there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.  

The resolution comes as some Republicans, including Vos, have floated impeaching the newest member on the state Supreme Court, Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Vos recently put together a panel of former state Supreme Court justices to review the impeachment process.

Democratic Assembly Leader Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) criticized her Republican colleagues for acting "completely out of control."

"From threatening to impeach a duly elected Supreme Court Justice to now targeting our nonpartisan election administrator, they are clearly willing to sink to incredible lows to cement their power and undermine the will of the people," Neubauer said in a statement.

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