BY PETER CAMERON, THE BADGER PROJECT
U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany was the only Wisconsin member of Congress to publicly support an extraordinary unusual and rejected lawsuit last week in which Texas asked the Supreme Court to flip the electoral votes in four states where President Donald Trump narrowly lost.
Election experts and politicians from both parties slammed the suit — aimed at Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — as a cynical attempt to disregard the will of voters.
“This is not a sincere effort to seek a judicial remedy to a failing of the election system,” said Barry Burden, a professor of political science and the director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in an email. “Waiting more than a month after the results are known and only targeting states with Republican-majority legislatures reveals that this is a partisan ploy to support President Trump’s claims about election ‘rigging.’”
Tiffany was one of 126 Republican members of Congress — a majority of the caucus that included the leaders — to sign an amicus brief supporting the suit. An amicus brief is essentially a letter to the court.
Tiffany explained his support in an email Tuesday to The Badger Project.
“As I have said before, this is bigger than President Trump or Joe Biden,” he said. “This lawsuit is about the integrity of our system. Every legal vote must be counted, credible complaints of fraud and irregularities must be investigated, and legitimate legal challenges must be heard and addressed by our independent judiciary.”
The Trump Campaign has repeatedly lost in state and federal courts after failing to show any evidence of widespread voter fraud that the president falsely claims cost him the election.
Burden noted that Tiffany represents the 7th Congressional District in northern Wisconsin, which is the most supportive of Trump in the state. That prompted him to be the state’s sole U.S. representative to sign the brief, Burden said.
“His signing onto the brief is a way to demonstrate his loyalty to the president’s brand,” Burden wrote. “Unfortunately, these kinds of actions only undermine confidence in the election system rather than helping to reestablish it.”
Democrat Dave Obey represented Tiffany’s district for more than 40 years before retiring in 2010. Republicans redrew the district lines in 2011, moving the bluer areas of Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids into the Democrat-held district to the west. The seat has been solidly Republican ever since. Tiffany won a blowout victory last month by more than 20 points.
Wisconsin Republicans were generally silent on the lawsuit, but the conservative news website RightWisconsin published a piece after Tiffany supported the lawsuit apologizing for endorsing his candidacy for U.S. Congress earlier this year.
Some prominent members of the party elsewhere sharply criticized the lawsuit.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican, released a statement blasting it.
“Since Election Night, a lot of people have been confusing voters by spinning Kenyan Birther-type, ‘Chavez rigged the election from the grave’ conspiracy theories, but every American who cares about the rule of law should take comfort that the Supreme Court — including all three of President Trump’s picks — closed the book on the nonsense,” he said.
Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett were appointed by Trump.
U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, a Republican from Michigan, said Monday that despite voting for Trump in 2020, he was leaving the GOP.
“It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third- world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote,” he said.
Trump’s own election czar Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency who oversaw the 2018 and 2020 elections, released a statement last month that said “the November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”
Trump fired Krebs a few days later.
After losing the Iowa caucus in 2016 to Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump wrote on Twitter that Cruz “stole” the election, that Cruz had won by “fraud” and called for the results to be “nullified.”
The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.
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