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Watchdog group files complaint against Wisconsin Speaker Vos for impeachment-related meetings

FILE - Wisconsin's Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks to the media after Gov. Tony Evers' State of the State speech at the state Capitol, Feb. 15, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin Republican lawmakers on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, proposed a nonpartisan redistricting plan they want to enact ahead of the 2024 election to preempt the liberal-controlled state Supreme Court from tossing the current GOP-drawn maps. (AP Photo/Andy Manis, File)
Andy Manis
Wisconsin's Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

The possible GOP impeachment effort against Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz has taken a new turn. A liberal watchdog group has filed a complaint against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Racine County), asking that any meetings of a panel Vos has put together to advise him on impeachment be open to the public.

Heather Sawyer of American Oversight says under Wisconsin's Open Meetings law, people have a right to know more about the panel.

"(It's) something that is providing advice to potentially take government action. So, it's certainly our position that the law's pretty clear and the law's pretty strong, that he (Vos) has an obligation to disclose to the people of Wisconsin exactly who is participating in the panel, notice to the public the meetings of the panel, and to allow the public to attend and to see exactly who, and what is being discussed," Sawyer says.

Vos won't say who's on the panel. But retired State Justice David Prosser, a conservative and former Republican lawmaker, has confirmed to the Associated Press that he's one of the panel members.

Sawyer says American Oversight has filed the complaint against Vos with the Dane County District Attorney's office and hopes for a quick reply.

"Time is of the essence here. The Speaker has said he wants this panel to conclude its work within a matter of weeks. If people just sit back and let them operate in secret, they could finish their work. They could start moving toward impeachment. They could even get to impeachment before the people of Wisconsin would even know what had happened behind closed doors," Sawyer says.

Vos is upset with Protasiewicz saying during her election campaign this year that GOP-drawn legislative district maps are "rigged." Vos is also concerned that Protasiewicz — a former Milwaukee County judge — accepted campaign donations from the State Democratic Party.

In a statement to WUWM, Vos said, “This complaint is without merit and shows how desperate the left is to change the subject away from the more important issue of the recusal of Justice Protasiewicz.”

Two lawsuits have been filed, asking Protasiewicz and others on the now-liberal leaning high court to hear challenges to the current maps.

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