MADISON — Several Wisconsin lawmakers, including the chairwoman of the Senate’s committee on elections, are calling for an investigation into Green Bay’s handling of the November presidential election after a special report by Wisconsin Spotlight revealed that a Democratic operative from New York served as a de facto elections administrator and had access to Green Bay’s absentee ballots days before the election.
They’re also demanding Democrat Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich resign after emails showed his office closely coordinating with liberal special interest groups and turning over the keys to the election — literally — to them.
Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) was the first to call for Genrich’s resignation. He said Wisconsin Spotlight’s investigation “shows a coordinated effort between Mayor Genrich, his Chief-of-Staff Celestine Jeffreys, and democratic operatives to influence the 2020 elections in Green Bay.”
“We cannot allow partisan actors to unduly influence elections in Wisconsin and this is evidence that Mayor Genrich not only allowed that to happen in Green Bay, but that he ceded his responsibility to safeguard the integrity of our elections to an outside, partisan organization and I am calling on him to resign from office immediately,” Roth said in a statement.
Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie), chair of the Senate Committee on Elections, Election Process Reform and Ethics, sent a letter to Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul calling for a full investigation into the “potential violations” that occurred.
Bernier said Genrich’s “lack of leadership and unforgivable meddling” made Green Bay’s spring elections last April a “fiasco on the national scene.” She was referencing the mayor’s decision to not use trained National Guard workers to help at the polls amid the initial outbreak of the pandemic. The city reduced Green Bay’s polling sites to just two, causing long voter lines and wait times.
“Unable to learn from his mistakes, Mayor Genrich and his staff deliberately, forcefully, and repeatedly interfered in November’s election administration. Is that why Green Bay’s Clerk and Deputy Clerk resigned?,” Bernier said. “He has shown himself unfit as an executive and should himself resign immediately from the position of Mayor of Green Bay.”
State Sen. Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay), is urging Brown County District Attorney David Lasee to investigate whether “these allegations were part of any sort of pay-for-play scheme.”
“Every American should have confidence in how their elections are run. This massive abuse of power significantly damages that trust, and we must ensure that situations like this cannot occur in the future,” Wimberger said in a statement.
As Wisconsin Spotlight first reported, Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, a former Democrat operative, was given control of Central Count headquarters where absentee ballots were stored and counted.
Spitzer-Rubenstein, Wisconsin State Lead for the National Vote at Home Institute, was one of the strings attached to the $1.6 million in grants Green Bay received from the Center for Tech and Civic Life. CTCL received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the left-learning elections group dumped the money all over Democrat strongholds in the name of “safe elections.” Green Bay joined Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and Kenosha in receiving some $6.3 million in CTCL funding. The “Wisconsin 5,” as they and their pals at CTCL liked to call themselves, had to sign contracts letting “nonprofit” partner organizations “assist” with their elections.
They certainly helped themselves. Emails shows Spitzer-Rubenstein even offered to correct or “cure” absentee ballots, as he had done so for Milwaukee.
“While this does not necessarily delegitimize the results from November 3rd, it does stink to high heaven,” Bernier said. “I am calling on Governor Evers and Attorney General Kaul to open an investigation into this matter. If they value the public’s trust in elections so little that they refuse this request, I ask that they give their reasoning for refusal.”
It was unclear what Evers and Kaul, both highly partisan Democrats, would do as of Tuesday.
We do know that Evers’ former policy adviser, Sam Munger, is involved in the Green Bay-Milwaukee connection. In an Oct. 28 email, Munger wrote to Spitzer-Rubenstein and the mayor’s chief of staff connecting them with Claire Woodall-Vogg, Milwaukee’s top elections official.
“…(M)ore importantly for this conversation, she used to run Central Count operations in Milwaukee. She has generously offered to make herself available to answer questions and consult on Green Bay’s Central Count set-up for next Tuesday,” wrote Munger who left the governor’s office in late 2019 and became partner at UpRising Strategies, a liberal political strategy firm.
Before his 10-month stint with Evers, Munger served as assistant director for Outreach and Development with the American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE), the left’s version of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The name changed to the State Innovation Exchange (SIX), where Munger worked for four years before joining Evers’ team.
Munger also sent an email telling Spitzer-Rubenstein and another Green Bay official that he had been “doing some digging around on the dropbox closing time issue.” He offered to share what he had found if it helped in “formulating” their plans.
Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), also called for an investigation into the city of Green Bay’s relationship with the liberal elections groups. She said as millions of outside dollars flowed into the state to influence the election, Green Bay “pushed aside the local clerk and actually gave keys and access to ballots to an outside, partisan activist before November 3rd.”
“This story raises significant questions about how Green Bay, and possibly other communities in our state, handled the November election,” Darling said, “While we work to pass legislative reforms, I urge Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul to conduct an investigation into these findings further to help restore confidence and integrity in our elections.”