Exactly a week after the Jan. 6 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, La Crosse County Republican Party chair Bill Feehan recounted what Republicans did in Wisconsin a month earlier.
False Republican electors in seven states that Donald Trump lost in the 2020 presidential election — including Wisconsin — held meetings. In Wisconsin and four other states, they signed documents claiming to be official electors. In the other two states, Republicans filled out paperwork saying they could be considered electors if courts ruled in their favor.
The 10 false electors in Wisconsin were all members of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, including Feehan, and all but one of those was also a member of the state’s executive committee.
Feehan described the details on the second episode of his podcast, called “Fact Check.”
“So, I left my home a little after 8 (a.m.), and drove to a secret meeting place in Madison, and met all the other electors there,” Feehan recalled on the podcast. “There was security, armed security, to protect us and other officials from the Republican Party of Wisconsin were there.”
Attention over the false electoral votes has slowly grown over the past couple of weeks and whether or not the act should be punished or is punishable — if not part of some broader plan that had something to do with the Jan. 6 event in the U.S. Capitol that happened a month later.
“Each of us cast a ballot for President of the United States and we cast a ballot for Vice President of the United States and those ballots are notarized,” Feehan explained on the podcast. “And they will be held until such a time as they might be needed.
“So, in the event that something would transpire legally here, where the outcome in Wisconsin would be reversed, then our ballots would be sent to Washington, D.C., and those would be the ballots that get counted.”
Asked about the growing attention casting those false votes is causing, Feehan played it off.
“I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to that stuff,” Feehan told WIZM. “You know, it’s an honor to be a presidential elector and I would never do anything that I thought was potentially even illegal. So, we followed the advice of our attorneys and we followed historical precedents, and, you know, we made our votes.
“People want to make more out of that than what it is. But, you know, I would never do anything that I thought was even remotely, possibly going to be wrong. So, it’s politics.”
Upon hearing that comment, UW-La Crosse political science professor, Dr. Anthony Chergosky, wondered what that “historical precedent” was, noting Friday on La Crosse Talk PM that it was more unprecedented to have competing sets of electors.
While the “politics” — as Feehan called the growing news — of throwing doubt in the results of the 2020 presidential election, perhaps, began with events like Feehan and nine other Wisconsin Republicans signing the false electoral ballots for Trump, it continues today with a taxpayer-funded, Republican-ordered investigation in Wisconsin. One of many potential GOP investigations — some of which have failed, none of which have found widespread voter fraud or wrongdoing.
Feehan, however, blamed Democrats for keeping the 2020 presidential election in the news cycle.
“They’re going to try and ride those for us all the way to the November 2020 election,” Feehan said, though he probably meant 2024. “Democrats have been coming after me since April 1st of last year when the governor filed his suit. I have legal counsel and my attorneys tell me I haven’t done anything wrong and so I’m not too concerned about it.”
The lawsuit Feehan references was Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers seeking Trump and Feehan repay about $250,000 in legal fees from election investigation lawsuits the former president and La Crosse County Republican Party chair had filed challenging the 2020 election in Wisconsin.
Feehan added that they’re being called out for the false electoral plot for Trump and wonders if that job might be worth it going forward.
“I think it’s sad that, you know, this is where we’re at in politics because I’m a volunteer, all right?” Feehan said. “So, I volunteer all of this time working for the Republican Party. It’s an honor to be selected to be a presidential elector for your party. But who’s going to want to do these things in the future? Who’s going to want to volunteer and serve in these roles when they see how it’s politicized?
“Myself and the other electors are being demonized for doing community service. It’s a service to the community for people to stand up and do this kind of stuff. We haven’t done anything wrong. I think it’s reprehensible what’s being done to us.”
Chergosky noted that this — and other disputes in casting electoral votes — might not be an issue going forward.
“One of the most important things Congress can do — and it looks like there’s a bipartisan effort to do this — is clean up this whole process,” Chergosky said. “Get rid of the confusion when it comes to electoral vote casting and the counting of electoral votes. … Make this a more functional process and get rid of the frivolous lawsuits that can plague the system and get rid of these ridiculous situations where people are claiming to be the rightful electors.”