Ex-cop hired to probe Wisconsin election has partisan ties

May 27, 2021, 11:58 PM | Updated: May 28, 2021, 1:56 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — One of the retired police officers hired by a top Wisconsin Republican to investigate the presidential election in the battleground state has ties to the GOP and previously led a probe into voter fraud in Milwaukee, work that prosecutors disavowed and that a federal judge said was not trustworthy.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos this week said he was hiring three retired police investigators to look into the election results. On Thursday, during an interview with conservative talk radio host Dan O’Donnell, Vos confirmed that one of those he hired is Mike Sandvick, a retired Milwaukee police detective .

“In all honesty, he has Republican leanings,” Vos told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday, without naming Sandvick. “He’s been active in the Republican Party.”

A 2008 report Sandvick wrote about the 2004 presidential election recommended that Wisconsin election laws be changed in light of what he said was voter fraud. That report has been referenced by conservatives since then as evidence there is unchecked fraud in the state. However, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI all disavowed the report.

In 2013, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman did not allow the report to be admitted as evidence in a lawsuit over Wisconsin’s voter ID law, saying it was not trustworthy.

Sandvick later did work on an “election integrity” committee established by the Wisconsin Republican Party and was briefly state director for True the Vote, a Texas group focused on voter fraud that is aligned with the tea party movement.

Sandvick did not immediately return a message left on his cellphone requesting comment.

Vos only revealed Sandvick’s name when asked directly if that was the person he had hired. Vos did not name the others. He did not respond to a message from the AP on Friday asking for the names of the other retired officers. His office has also not provided them after requests were made both Thursday and Friday.

Vos said one of them is a retired investigator from Brown County Sheriff’s Department who investigated former Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt over election law violations. The other retired investigator he hired used to work for the city of Eau Claire, Vos said. Vos said he is also in the process of hiring an attorney to oversee the investigation and put together a report sometime this fall.

Vos insists that the investigation is not about overturning the election, but is instead focused on looking into alleged wrongdoing to come up with legislation that can be enacted before the 2022 election.

“I certainly want to make sure that we have credible evidence to present to the public,” he said in the radio interview.

The Wisconsin investigation comes after Republicans tasked the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau with studying the election. Republicans in other states are also conducting audits and reviews after former President Donald Trump made unproven and discredited allegations of widespread voter fraud and abuse.

In Wisconsin, local election officials identified just 27 cases out of nearly 3.3 million votes cast of potential voter fraud from the November election that they forwarded to prosecutors. No charges have been brought in any of the cases.

Sandvick, a 30-year veteran, retired from the Milwaukee police department shortly after the chief at the time prohibited him from visiting the polls during the 2008 election, saying the police department needed to preserve an image of political objectivity. Sandvick’s report on the 2004 election determined that there were more votes than voters in the city of Milwaukee. It recommended the state enact a voter ID law, which the Republican-controlled Legislature did in 2011, and eliminate the ability to register at the polls. That law remains on the books.

Democrats are objecting to Vos hiring the retired officers, but can’t stop him.

“This is another wild abuse of power by the Republican Party leadership,” Democratic Rep. Dianne Hesselbein said Friday. “Speaker Vos is a Donald Trump mimic, desperately trying to challenge the legitimacy of an election proven over and over again to be fair. Not only is this damaging to our democracy, it is a clear violation of public trust.”


This story has been corrected to reflect that U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman did not allow Sandvick’s report to be admitted as evidence in a lawsuit over Wisconsin’s voter ID law.


Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Why Congress is looking closely at Jan. 6 rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has focused some of its early work on the planning of the rally at which President Donald Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell.” The rally, held that morning and planned by former White House and campaign aides, became a staging ground […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Man accused of rape convicted of trying to hire hit man

MONROE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man has been convicted of trying to hire a hit man to kill his ex-wife while he was in jail awaiting trial on sexual assault charges involving her two young daughters. A federal jury in Monroe found Steven Marcus Kelley, 48, of West Monroe, guilty on Tuesday of using […]
16 hours ago
FILE - In this Friday May 21, 2021, file photo, New York Attorney General Letitia James acknowledge...
Associated Press

AP Sources: Letitia James will run for New York governor

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Attorney General Letitia James plans to run for governor, according to three people directly familiar with her plans who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday. James will enter the race as a formidable candidate for the Democratic nomination just months after issuing a damning report that drove Andrew […]
16 hours ago
FILE - This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infect...
Associated Press

Cheap antidepressant shows promise treating early COVID-19

A cheap antidepressant reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19 in a study hunting for existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat coronavirus. Researchers tested the pill used for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder because it was known to reduce inflammation and looked promising in smaller studies. They’ve shared the results with […]
16 hours ago
This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based o...
Associated Press

UN envoy blames to Syria for failure of constitution talks

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Syria said Wednesday the Syrian government’s refusal to negotiate on revisions to the country’s constitution is a key reason for the failure of talks last week that left the road map to peace in the conflict-torn country in question.. Geir Pedersen expressed his disappointment to the […]
16 hours ago
FILE - New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell talks about evacuation plans at City Hall in New Orleans, ...
Associated Press

New Orleans drops mask mandate as coronavirus numbers fall

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans is largely ending a mandate requiring residents and visitors wear masks indoors as infections of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continue to fall, the city’s mayor announced Wednesday. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a news release the mandate will be lifted Friday, with some exceptions: Masks […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Ex-cop hired to probe Wisconsin election has partisan ties