Republican National Committee Funding in Voter ID Lawsuit Uncovered in Investigation of One Wisconsin Now Ethics Complaint

MADISON, Wis. — An ethics complaint filed by One Wisconsin Now against State Rep. Robin Vos, alleging he illegally accepted free legal work, has resulted in revelations that the Republican National Committee (RNC) is underwriting efforts to uphold a state voter identification law that could disenfranchise an estimated 200,000-plus legal voters. Rep. Vos had stonewalled efforts to uncover who was using him to intervene in a state lawsuit over voter ID, but the Milwaukee Journal reported this morning on the RNC involvement.

Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director, commented, “RNC chair Reince Priebus has returned to Wisconsin to write the next chapter in his longstanding crusade to prevent people who vote against Republicans from exercising their right to vote.”

In 2010, One Wisconsin Now uncovered a “voter caging” plot intended to suppress the vote in minority voting precincts in Milwaukee involving Priebus, the state Republican Party, Americans for Prosperity and local Tea Party affiliates. Two years earlier, the state Republican Party chaired by Priebus, secretly consulted with the state McCain for President campaign chair to file a lawsuit seeking to purge hundreds of thousands of legal voters from election rolls. A leaked e-mail revealed that in 2008 the Priebus led state GOP also sought to recruit police, fire and security personnel to carry out partisan voter intimidation activities in heavy minority voting precincts in Milwaukee.

Rep. Robin Vos was a key lieutenant of Gov. Scott Walker in his effort to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights. As co-chair of the committee considering Gov. Walker’s union busting legislation, Vos cut-off public testimony, revealing the GOP strategy to rush action on the bill and limit public input. Vos’ actions helped trigger fourteen Democratic State Senators to leave the state in order to prevent action on the bill and allow for unprecedented citizen involvement against the GOP effort to strip workers’ rights.

Ross concluded, “The RNC involvement in this state lawsuit clearly reveals a strategy to use Wisconsin state legislators as pawns to advance legislation to suppress voting and gain partisan advantage in this battleground state.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.
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