Wisconsin Public Radio

State’s Top Elections Official Interviewed By Jan. 6 Investigators

US Department of Justice has subpoenaed Meagan Wolfe and Milwaukee's election official.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Jul 19th, 2023 12:46 pm
Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, left, is seen during a September 2018 meeting of the Elections Commission with Commissioner Dean Knudson. Photo by Emily Hamer/Wisconsin Watch.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, left, is seen during a September 2018 meeting of the Elections Commission with Commissioner Dean Knudson. Photo by Emily Hamer/Wisconsin Watch.

Federal investigators looking into attempts to overturn the election of 2020 and the ensuing riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, interviewed Wisconsin’s top elections official, Meagan Wolfe, in April.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, of which Wolfe is the administrator, confirmed that Wolfe met with investigators after she was subpoenaed by U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith.

“Administrator Wolfe cooperated with the subpoena and appeared in person before DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in April,” WEC spokesperson Riley Vetterkind said in a written statement. “Due to this being an ongoing federal investigation, we are unable to provide further information.”

Vetterkind declined to say what was discussed or who was present during the interview.

The interview was first reported Tuesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The news came hours after former President Donald Trump said he was informed by Smith’s office that he is a subject of the investigation for his alleged role in working to undermine the outcome of the 2020 election.

Trump lost that election to President Joe Biden after falling short in a handful of battleground states, including Wisconsin. Challenges to the outcome in those states yielded no evidence of wrongdoing. In Wisconsin, Biden’s victory was affirmed by a statewide canvas and recounts in Milwaukee and Dane Counties and upheld by multiple state and federal court decisions. A nonpartisan audit found no evidence of widespread fraud.

Nevertheless, elections officials in battleground states have come under attack from Trump and his allies. And conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud culminated in a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in which multiple people died.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed Smith in November as special counsel to investigate those events and the broader context of attempted interference with the 2020 election.

Wolfe is one of several Wisconsin elections officials interviewed as part of Smith’s investigation, according to the Journal Sentinel, which reported that Madison’s municipal clerk, Maribeth Witzel-Behl, and Milwaukee Election Commission executive director Claire Woodall-Vogg have also been interviewed.

Smith’s office also subpoenaed Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell and Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson in December for “any and all communications” involving Trump or his campaign between June 1, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021.

Officials in other battleground areas, including Wayne County, Michigan; Maricopa County, Arizona; and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, have also been subpoenaed, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined a request for comment.

Wolfe’s future with the Wisconsin Elections Commission recently became murky after the bipartisan body deadlocked on whether to nominate her for a new term. While Wolfe’s first term ended July 1, the three Democratic members of the Commission say she is legally entitled to remain administrator because she never vacated the office.

Republican state Senators have challenged that assertion, voting last month to begin a confirmation process that could lead to Wolfe’s firing by the Senate. That maneuver could be challenged in court on the grounds that it runs contrary to a recent ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Listen to the WPR report here.

Wisconsin’s top elections official interviewed as part of federal Jan. 6 investigation was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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