Judge allows Voces de la Frontera Action to join lawsuit against Gableman subpoenas

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Dane County Circuit Court judge ruled an immigrant rights advocacy group could join in on a lawsuit challenging the legality of subpoenas brought on by lawyers investigating the 2020 election in the state.

The Special Counsel investigating the election has primarily focused on government officials and offices. But in December it subpoenaed Voces de la Frontera Action -- the political action sister organization to Voces de la Frontera -- for documents and communications related to the 2020 election and other political activity.

"I think this is a totally undemocratic, hostile gesture," Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz told CBS 58.

The organization asked to join the lawsuit, which includes other government officials fighting the subpoenas. A judge allowed the group to join this week.

"We felt it was extremely important to join this lawsuit to really push back on this effort to try to intimidate organizations to secure information to try to discredit," Neumann-Ortiz said.

Recounts and multiple court cases have affirmed there were no widespread cases of fraud in Wisconsin during the 2020 election, which Joe Biden won by nearly 21,000 votes over Donald Trump.

The lawsuit, originally brought on by Attorney General Josh Kaul, argues the subpoenas are broad, overreaching and beyond the scope of the counsel's investigation which is led by former state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman.

"Justice Gableman's investigation is starting to look more like Keystone Cops than it is some kind of official legislative function," UWM Professor Emeritus Mordecai Lee said in an interview.

Republicans backing the investigation argue it is meant to help find flaws in the administration of the state's elections. But Lee says the subpoenas for groups like Voces appear to show there is no finite direction or limit to where Gableman wants the investigation to go, further bringing into question its legitimacy.

"When you want to investigate the administration of an election, then you're investigating governmental bodies," Lee said. "But otherwise, I can't quite see the legal reason to investigate a nonprofit if he's focusing on the administration of the election."

CBS 58 reached out to the Special Counsel for comment but did not year back.

Officials said the aim is for the investigation to wrap up by March, when the state Legislature wraps up its two-year session cycle.

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