GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) -- Green Bay residents have filed an appeal after the Wisconsin Elections Commission ruled a complaint from the residents did not show proof laws were violated with the way the November 2020 election was conducted.
In April, five Green Bay residents filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission against the commission’s administrator, Meagan Wolfe, Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, former chief of staff for Genrich and current city clerk, Celestine Jeffreys, and former city clerk Kris Teske.
The complaint alleges state and federal laws were violated when the city accepted a $1.6 million grant from Center for Tech and Civic Life and the conditions that came with the money. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife supplied the money for the grants.
DeWitt LLP was retained as special counsel to handle the complaint.
In December, on behalf of the WEC, DeWitt came to the conclusion the complaint “did not show probable cause to believe that a violation of law or abuse of discretion occurred with regard to the claims asserted in the complaint.”
The residents who filed the complaint, Richard Carlstedt, Sandra Duckett, James Fitzgerald (chair of the Republican Party of Brown County), Thomas Sladek, and Lark Wartenberg, have now filed an appeal of the decision in Brown County Circuit Court.
The appeal states, “the contractual agreement, financed by a CTCL grant, was contrary to sound morality and public policy because it disproportionally benefitted certain voters over others within the State of Wisconsin and within the City of Green Bay. Since the election process is a core government function, the government and its speech must remain neutral during the election process and the government and its speech must not be subject to the dictation of a private party. Green Bay’s actions have been and are illegal, unconstitutional and substantial departures from Wisconsin’s legislative scheme of conducting elections.”
The Brown County filing states the matter is related to four other circuit court appeals of WEC’s decisions involving Racine, Madison, Kenosha, and Milwaukee.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission has not formally replied to this complaint.