Benjamin Yount / The Center Square contributor Mar 31, 2021
(The Center Square) – Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, said Wisconsin will likely need several new laws to prevent outside nonprofits from exploiting loopholes in the state’s laws.
“What we heard from the Wisconsin Elections Commission was that we don’t really have any laws to deal with oversight, or even question who they are bringing-in because they’re non-profits,” Brandtjen said after her latest election hearing.
Wednesday’s hearing was the latest in a series conducted after the November 2020 election to determine whether local election managers followed the state’s laws.
Brandtjen said it is clear that election nonprofits, specifically the Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life, exploited Wisconsin’s lack of election regulation in certain communities.
“These outside groups came in with $6.5 million to only five communities, Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine. With strings attached,” Brandtjen explained.
The group’s contracts, Brandtjen said, included claw-back provisions that left local election managers confused as to just how far nonprofit managers could go in counting votes, handling ballots, and working with the election office.
“This is something that I would hope the governor and both Republicans and Democrats want to deal with. That we have non-profits come in … and try and do something to get out the vote,” Brandtjen said. “I think there will be multiple pieces of legislation. I think there are opportunities to bring more transparency.”
Brandtjen said she will continue with her hearings at the Capitol until she has answers to all of her questions.