June 27, 2023 | By William Osmulski
Policy Issues

WEC Attempts To Retain Wolfe Without Senate Approval

Wolfe was a focal point for questions, controversies, and investigations about the integrity of Wisconsin elections starting with the 2020 election. Critics say those controversies should disqualify her from remaining at WEC.
(Above: video from 2021 catching Wolfe lying to lawmakers about her role in the “Zuckerbucks” scandal)

The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) hopes to sidestep the state senate’s confirmation and keep its administrator Meagan Wolfe in place for a second four-year term by refusing to vote for her or for a replacement.

Wolfe’s term expires on Saturday, and WEC was scheduled to vote on her reappointment or replacement on Tuesday. All three Republican commissioners voted to keep her, but the three Democrat commissioners refused to vote. Wolfe cannot be reappointed or replaced without at least four votes, and so the item is deadlocked.

The Democrat commissioners claim there’s no vacancy, so they don’t need to take action. The real concern is that the Republican-controlled state Senate would reject Wolfe’s reappointment. If this goes to the courts, the commissioners are confident a now liberal majority on the state Supreme Court will deliver their desired result. In the meantime, it appears that Wolfe will continue to remain in her position as WEC’s administrator.

Wolfe was a focal point for questions, controversies, and investigations about the integrity of Wisconsin elections starting with the 2020 election. Critics say those controversies should disqualify her from remaining at WEC.

“Wolfe has abused her powers, misleading clerks and the WEC into her fantasy that she can create election law,” Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) stated in a press release Monday.

As administrator, Wolfe was responsible for WEC’s staff issuing illegal instructors to election clerks throughout the state. This included guidance regarding: ballot drop boxes and absentee ballot curing. Although those memos were sent directly and solely from Wolfe, she claims she’s not responsible for them.

“The WEC administrator had no role in authorizing the expanded use of drop boxes due to the historic surge in absentee voting. Her role was in implementing the Commission’s directive to relay U.S. Department of Homeland Security best practices regarding how to establish drop boxes in a secure manner,” she wrote in a fact sheet over the weekend.

That fact sheet attempted to cover up and deflect the mountain of criticism Wolfe has faced as WEC administration over the past four years.

For example, Wolfe also helped a Facebook-funded, Democrat political operative named Michal Spitzer-Rubenstein get access to local election officials and ultimately to Green Bay’s election systems. She later tried to lie about it to an Assembly Committee that was investigating her involvement. She doubled down on those statements in her fact sheet, claiming “WEC did not inform clerks about the private grants, did not promote them, and did not authorize or opine on if municipalities could engage with the grants.”

The non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau concluded in its 2021 report that WEC had violated several state laws during the 2020 election. Many of those crimes implicated Wolfe. Wolfe claims “the report was largely supportive and favorable in its findings.”

Problems at WEC are not limited to the 2020 election. The agency, including Wolfe, has continually been invested and sued for taking illegal actions regarding Wisconsin’s elections. In 2022, WEC was sued over issuing telling clerks they could illegally cure absentee ballot witness information and again for allowing voter registration forms that do not comply with state law. As of April 2022, various government investigations had found evidence that WEC and other public officials broke at least 17 state election laws since 2020.

Ultimately Wolfe claims that she’s not responsible for anything illegal that happened at WEC.

“Major decisions of the Commission are made by its six bipartisan Commissioners, who are appointed by legislative leaders and the governor. The WEC Administrator serves at the pleasure of the bipartisan Commission, on which she does not have a vote. The administrator’s role as chief election official is to implement the decisions of the Commission and to provide Commissioners with expert advice on questions of election administration,” she wrote.

WEC’s six commissioners will decide whether to reappoint Wolfe to her position at their 3:30 pm meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Click here to watch MacIver News’ entire video playlist of election problems in Wisconsin.

Here is a summary of all the laws that election officials (including Wolfe) have been accused of violating by state and local officials.

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