By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Does the city of Racine have something to hide?
Liberal Mayor Cory Mason, City Clerk Tara Coolidge and other city officials certainly have been slow — very slow — in turning over records from November’s presidential election sought by election integrity groups and state Rep. Janel Brandtjen.
Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), who is chairwoman of the legislative committee charged with investigating the election, has filed a lawsuit asking the Racine County Circuit Court to enforce the state’s open record laws and demand the city stop stonewalling the committee’s requests.
Brandtjen is joined by the Wisconsin Voters Alliance and H.O.T (Honest, Open and Transparent) Government in the lawsuit that asks the judge to compel the city to produce the requested documents, award the plaintiffs reasonable attorney fees, actual costs and damages and find that the city of Racine is wrong in denying the records requests.
The records are critical to the complaints against the so-called “Wisconsin-5 cities” — Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine — now before the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The complaints allege the cities signed contracts with the Center for Tech & Civic Life (CTCL) that turned over the administration of the election to a network of left-leaning voter activists, including Democratic Party operatives. Emails obtained by Wisconsin Spotlight show Racine was the lead city in setting up the plan that eventually led to millions of dollars in election grants from CTCL, which received hundreds of millions of dollars from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to fund a national “safe and secure voting” initiative.
The records were first requested under the Wisconsin Open Records Act in March.
“Some documents were produced demonstrating that Defendants illegally gave up administrative control over the election to un-elected and unaccountable private corporations and representatives from outside of Wisconsin,” the lawsuit states.
More so, the documents obtained show CTCL “actively recruited “Vicky Selkowe of the City of Racine, and then Vicky Selkowe actively recruited representatives of the other four largest cities in Wisconsin to join in hers and CTCL’s election plans.”
Selkowe’s partisan interest in the 2020 election is well documented on Twitter.
“I’m a public interest attorney and policy advocate in SE WI and I’m all in for (Liz) Warren …” she tweeted on Feb 12, 2020.
“(W)ho would best be able to completely demolish Trump?” Selkowe wrote in another tweet a week later.
Here are some other tweets from the point person on an election administration plan for the five largest and Democrat-heavy Wisconsin cities. She was rooting for Democrats, for Joe Biden, and against Donald Trump as she pushed the “Wisconsin 5” election administration plan.
- “#BidenHarrisToSaveAmerica” 18, 2020.
- “Wow. Just wow. Dane County brought it for Biden big time.” 4, 2020 (election night).
- “I waited 4 years to vote against Trump, and I got a little emotional as I filled out that oval for @JoeBiden&KamalaHarris.” 24, 2020.
- “Don’t mind me, I’m just gonna be over here maxing out my credit cards to donate to win the Presidency and the Senate.” Sept. 18, 2020, #FlipTheSenateBlue#BidenHarrisToSaveAmerica”
- #StopTrump; #JoeBidenForPresident; #VoteBlueToEndTheNightmare; #VoteBlue; #FliptheVote:
“Selkowe’s social messaging reflects a horrific bias against Trump and Trump supporters for a public official with such important election duties,” said Erick Kaardal, attorney for the Wisconsin Voters Alliance. “Is it any surprise that the Wisconsin 5 cities’ ‘safe voting plan’ used the $8,800,000 (Zuckerberg-funded grants) in an improper get-out-the-vote campaign in their respective cities to swing the election to the Democrats?”
As Kaardal notes, federal and Wisconsin law assign get-out-the-vote operations to campaigns, not to cities. Wisconsin’s municipal clerks are to remain neutral in elections.
The city of Racine has failed to deliver many other requested documents that the claimants in the WEC complaint believe would further prove their allegations of illegal election activity.
“The tweets and other documents make other records, including the requested texts messages, emails and other communications of Ms. Selkowe, the CTCL representatives, ‘partners,’ and other Wisconsin-5 representatives are crucially important and relative,” the lawsuit states.
The pejorative tweets just might explain why Racine is “refusing to produce the records — they will likely prove Plaintiffs’ claims even more clearly,” the complaint adds.
Brandtjen says the stonewalling by Racine is making her committee’s pursuit of the truth more difficult than it need be. The city also is breaking the law.
“Racine is refusing to provide information on our elections. It’s a clear violation of open records laws,” Brandtjen said. “I guess we are to assume the worst of how elections were handled in Racine.”
Kaardal added that the Wisconsin-5 cities’ legal improprieties cast doubt on the 2020 presidential election outcome.
“Therefore, the 2020 Presidential election result in Wisconsin needs an asterisk-‘*’–just like the home run records during the Steroids Era in baseball,” the attorney said.