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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

What Is Being Found in Wisconsin about the 2020 Election?

             Truth is a strange thing. It may be hidden for a time, but it eventually comes out. Information about the 2020 presidential election continues to leak out. Virginia Allen at The Daily Signal interviewed Matt Kittle concerning some “disturbing facts about presidential election in Wisconsin.” 

Kittle is the executive director of Empower Wisconsin, a “conservative information hub.” He recently “obtained emails that reveal questionable activity” during the 220 election in Wisconsin. In particular, it seems that a Democratic operative had unusual access to the conference center in Green Bay, Wisconsin, while ballots were being counted on election night. Allen and Kittle discussed the situation after Kittle shared information about Empower Wisconsin and its mission.

Empower Wisconsin is a conservative news organization based in Madison, Wisconsin – the heart of liberalism. Kittle is also the executive direction of Wisconsin Spotlight, the investigative arm of Empower Wisconsin. He claimed to have “a lot of records” from “good sources” that involve “what clearly has become an election scandal in Green Bay, and it looks like across the state of Wisconsin.”

Allen noted that Wisconsin went for Donald Trump in 2016 and then went to Joe Biden in 2020 in a close election – “Biden won 49.6% of the vote and Trump won 48.9% of the vote.” Allen wanted to know why Kittle chose to take a closer look at the election results. Kittle explained that it actually started before the election with “vote harvesting, community drives sorts of things in Madison.” Then Wisconsin experienced “a huge, massive uptick in voting at home and absentee ballots” like other parts of the nation. That all raised a bunch of questions.

“Many more questions surfaced” on Election Day when Wisconsin, particularly Madison and Milwaukee, were targeted in recounts. There were “a lot of questions” from observers on election night and during the recounts “about how things were handled in places like Milwaukee and Madison.”

But it wasn’t until, I would say early March, that we started to get an indication from sources that things were worse than thought at first, particularly in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where there had been some real concerns about these third-party groups that were funded by Facebook’s CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and what those third-party groups indeed were doing in places like Green Bay.

            Allen wanted to know what happened in Green Bay since Kittle had “recently published a piece in the Wisconsin Spotlight” about “a Democratic operative was ‘given access to “hidden” identifiers for the internet network at the hotel convention center where ballots were counted.’” She wanted to know who the Democratic operative was and what access he was given.

            Kittle gave the name of Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein for “the long-time Democratic operative” and voting activist – “particularly on the tech ends of these things.” Spitzer-Rubenstein was “the Wisconsin lead for the National Vote at Home Institute” – “one of many left-leaning groups” in the Center [for]Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) network. This same group received $350 million from Mark Zuckerberg, beginning in June 2020. The money was intended for the largest cities in battleground states. In Wisconsin, $8 million plus went to the “Wisconsin 5” – Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine.

Well, Spitzer-Rubenstein was basically a partner in CTCL’s network. And the funding, I think it’s important to note the grant funding came with clawback provisions. Basically, a lot of strings attacked that said, “If you don’t follow the terms of this contract, we can take this money back from you.”

For cash-strapped election agencies and city clerks in Wisconsin, it was very enticing. This money, in some cases, like in Green Bay, it more than quadrupled their amount of election funding that they received in taxpayer funds. So this was a lot of money and it made a huge impact.

            Kittle explained that Spitzer-Rubenstein was “integrally involved.” He suggested there is evidence that indicates that “he infiltrated a lot of the election administration that went on. He was doing everything in other groups that he was working with, doing everything from communications and get out the vote to PSAs and promos, to actually curing the ballots. We have emails showing him offering to do this in Green Bay.”

            Kris Teske, the clerk but now the former Green Bay clerk, kept saying, “There is a problem here. This doesn’t seem to be within the confines of the law.” She was so frustrated and concerned about what was happening that she resigned. However, the emails show that the frustrations and concerns came from how the liberal mayor and his office handled the election. In addition, there were “the liberal organizations, outside groups funded by Mark Zuckerberg” that were doing things that “they should not have been doing.”

            Allen asked Kittle what he was doing to “follow the money,” what he had learned as he investigated the Zuckerberg funds, and how the money potentially influenced the election in Wisconsin. Kittle explained that the “Wisconsin 5” received “a massive amount of money to do everything from buy election equipment to hire poll workers.

What we found as well is that these groups, these outside groups, were responsible for helping locate poll workers for places like Milwaukee and Green Bay. We know in Milwaukee that they were using this funding to pay for hazard pay, if you will, significantly higher for poll workers.

But they were using poll workers recruited form the [Service Employees International Union] and other local unions, and the League of Women Voters, and these left-leaning groups that create some serious questions about the handling of absentee ballots and the administration of the election in the state’s largest city in general.

Allen read an email from Trent Jameson, director of event technology at Green Bay’s Hyatt Regency and KI Convention Center (where the ballots were to be counted) to Spitzer-Rubenstein shortly before the election. The email “refers to an SSID. Essentially, a Wi-Fi network, more or less.” The email said: “One SSID will be hidden and it’s 2020vote. There will be no password or splash page for this one and it should only be used for the sensitive machines that need to be connected to the internet.”

Allen wanted to know why a Wi-Fi network or SSID would need to be hidden and only available to Spitzer-Rubenstein. She also wanted to know what was meant by “sensitive machines.”

Kittle acknowledged that Allen had some good questions. He then said that those questions had been “put to the Green Bay Mayor’s Office and to officials who should have knowledge of that. They have not returned any of our requests for comments.”

Now, in talking with tech people and experts on this subject, really what you have here is, it’s the SSIDs are basically when you hit your laptop and all of those area networks pop up that you can click into and be a part of. Well, in this case, you would obviously want some security on that ….

The question is, why does an outside individual from a left-leaning group have access to these things? And the sensitive machines, a lot of folks are concerned about, were the sensitive machines that involve voting.

We know that Spitzer-Rubenstein had access to live-time vote numbers. And again, the question keeps coming up, why? This is also a gentleman who was given the keys to the KI center room where the absentee ballots were kept. The question again is, why?

And state lawmakers are asking those questions related to his access to technology on election night, as well as his access to absentee ballots in the days leading up to and on election night.

            According to Kittle, he has emails showing that Spitzer-Rubenstein was in the rooms at the convention center where the ballots were being counted on election night. “We have contracts that say he received four of the five keys to these areas that had the ballots and the equipment and all of this stuff. And he’s in there by himself, talking to a Green Bay official in this email, trying to get information on where ballot boxes should be placed and all of these sorts of things.”

            Election observers saw Spitzer-Rubenstein and began asking questions about him and about why he was “at Central Count, where all of the ballots were counted on election night.” He was eventually asked to leave “by the city.” This was “curious” because he was put there by the mayor’s chief of staff and city officials, and he was the guy developing “the program about how things would run on election night.”

            Allen then asked Kittle how he had obtained all the emails – the “critical information that’s now coming out to the public.” Kittle said that he could not talk about the sources, but he thanked two members of the Wisconsin Assembly election committee. State Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Green Bay) “had filed an open records request along with state Rep. Ron Tusler.” Kittle also had emails from several concerned citizens “about what took place on election night.” These people made it possible “to obtain some very key information surrounding what happened in Green Bay.”

We also filed a number of open records requests, and we have many out as well. We filed an open records request to get the information from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, for instance, which shows the administrator of that regulator not only enthusiastic about the work of Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, but promoting it to cities in Wisconsin, which raised some serious questions, as was noted this week in a complaint that was filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

            Allen questioned if there was “any sort of precedent for a non-election official having the kind of involvement that Spitzer-Rubenstein did?” Kittle admitted that it was unprecedented and “problematic … for a couple of reasons.”

It’s problematic because, do we want third-party groups, whether they’re conservative or liberal, involved in the administration of our elections? But more so, it’s problematic because there really aren’t any laws in this area.

And that’s what we see now, after the investigative reporting, after the emails have been released. We’re seeing the state Legislature now saying, “We need to address this because we cannot have this sort of thing continue to happen.”

It is a huge voter integrity question. It puts the integrity, it puts transparency, just the concept of election fairness in doubt. And that’s the last thing that we need, especially after what happened in November of 2020.

            Allen and Kittle discussed the Green Bay City Clerk Kris Teske, who resigned at the end of 2020. “On August 26, 2020, she sent an email to her boss and she wrote this: ‘There is one more thing I want to say: If I am ever asked to do anything against the law, the answer will be NO,’ in all caps.” She eventually resigns. Allen asks, “What do we know about her and what she was being asked to do that made her uncomfortable?”

            Kittle explained that the municipal clerks run the elections under the broad oversight of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Teske’s emails show that she was “growing increasingly frustrated by the constant meddling and the bullying of the mayor, his chief of staff, Celestine Jeffreys, who is in many of these emails.” Kittle said that “the point of real concern is about, not only her involvement, the mayor’s involvement, the city’s involvement with these third-party groups, Spitzer-Rubenstein.”

            In one email, Teske wrote concerning “the third-party groups, particularly this individual, in the clerk’s office, counting or looking over ballots.” She was particularly concerned about COVID, but she also mentioned that she was hearing from “folks outside” about this “left-leaning group and that’s making us look bad.” She repeatedly raised concerns and finally said, “Enough is enough.” She went on family medical leave on October 22, 2020, and resigned at the end of the year. However, she filed a complaint in October alleging “workplace harassment, a hostile work environment” likely caused by the situation with the third-party groups.

            Going back to the investigation, Allen mentioned that the Wisconsin Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee are “taking action to investigate what happened.” Kittle explained that two hearings have been held. “One of the hearings included the administrator for [the] Wisconsin Elections Commission having to explain some of these very concerning things we saw from the top at the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

… Also, the Republican-controlled Legislature in Wisconsin has now taken the step that they haven’t taken in decades. I think this actually is something they haven’t done since the ‘50s or ‘60s. They’ve given this committee subpoena power to go after documents and to compel witnesses to testify under oath.

Just as we see so often in the halls of Congress, we’re seeing that now for the first time in a long time in Wisconsin. And I think that is a very crucial tool to get to the bottom of this mess in Green Bay. And quite frankly, in Milwaukee, and Madison, Racine, Kenosha, and wherever else CTCL has left its footprints.

            Allen asked Kittle if he and Empower Wisconsin will continue their investigation and keep calling for transparency. Kittle replied “absolutely” and then added the following.

We never allege in any of our reporting that there was voter fraud or election fraud. What we are saying is, “Look at the emails, look at the documents.” And what those emails and documents are showing, really, is a pattern of concern. That if there wasn’t voter fraud, if there was no election fraud, there certainly was the opportunity presented.

And there certainly is a bad smell coming out of all of this. It just does not pass the smell test. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Like I said, we have numerous open records requests into these municipalities in Wisconsin….

You know how it goes with investigations. I know The Daily Signal has the same experience. Once you start exposing some of these areas, then other people step forward and say, “Hey, I have some information.” So we’re vetting through that information. We’re going through that. And then we will indeed continue to follow this story.

            I personally believe that there was enough election fraud to change the results of the 2020 election. However, I am open to change my mind when the investigations are complete. I am grateful that numerous states are investigating questionable happenings during the election. Like Kittle said, if election fraud and/or voter fraud did not happen, there were plenty of opportunities for it to happen. The 2020 election may have been a practice run to see if it could be done. States must be sure that their elections are secure and honest. The integrity of our elections is essential to maintaining our liberties.

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