Wisconsin Republicans File Lawsuit Against City of Milwaukee Over Illegal Funding

The Republican Party of Wisconsin has announced a lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee for using government funds and resources to help organizations aligned with the Democratic Party.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the “Milwaukee Vote 2022” initiative is a partisan effort to bolster Democratic voter turnout. As evidence, the GOP points to records of communications between Mayor Cavalier Johnson and long-time Democrat consultants to coordinate the misuse of government funds and resources.

Sachin Chheda, who has worked in several Democratic campaigns, appears in some of the communications, along with Mayor Johnson’s aide, Jeff Fleming.

“Getting multiple media requests on where the $$$ is coming from for canvassing and outreach,” Fleming texted Chheda on Sept. 12. “Do you have an answer?”

“Private donors and foundations,” Chheda initially responded.

“Actually hold on,” Chheda then texted. “Can we just sit tight for an hour and then get back to folks?”

Later in the week, Mayor Johnson wrote to Chheda:

“Hey, Sachin. Yes they did ask about Milwaukee Votes 2022. I said that it is:
– nonpartisan
– an initiative that we spoke about going back to May
– encourages all voters to be engaged regardless of party
– Isn’t much different than the activity we see before elections
–Just turn on your television and you’ll see private dollars expended to encourage voters.”

Mayor Johnson waffled in the press as to how the initiative was being funded, first telling reporters that the city was helping, before later stating that it was privately funded.

However, the records seem to indicate that the initiative did receive government funding.

“Wanted to let you guys know we have been approved for a $1 million grant from The Center for Secure and Modern Elections,” Chheda wrote to Mayor Johnson and his chief of staff Jim Bohl. “The money is coming to the High Ground Institute to support the nonpartisan Milwaukee Votes 2022 Canvass as we discussed.”

In the lawsuit, the GOP expressed a concern that Democratic operatives are infiltrating politics on the city level in order to manipulate elections.

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen said this could be similar to efforts made by Mark Zuckerberg to funnel donations through non-profit organizations to support Democratic campaigns in 2020.