Vocal election critic Brandtjen barred from closed GOP caucus

Vocal Election Critic Brandtjen Barred From Closed Gop Caucus

Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, listens to a presentation during a March 24, 2022 meeting of the Assembly elections committee.

MADISON, Wis. — Rep. Janel Brandtjen, the chair of the Assembly elections committee and vocal critic of the 2020 election, has been barred from meeting with her colleagues behind closed doors, according to a letter obtained by News 3 Now.

According to the letter, her fellow Assembly Republicans took a vote to prevent the Menomonee Falls Republican from joining the group in closed-door strategy meetings, or caucuses, saying her colleagues no longer trust her.

Brandtjen’s office was not immediately available when News 3 Now reached out Wednesday morning.

This also comes after Brandtjen left early from last week’s leadership elections, which saw Assembly Speaker Robin Vos elected to another term at the top post.

Conservative radio host Jay Weber reported that Brandtjen was asked to leave by her colleagues, but Brandtjen disputed that report in a press release Tuesday, saying that she left the meeting early due to family commitments.

Brandtjen has been at odds with the powerful Assembly speaker often during this past legislative session. As chair of the Assembly elections committee, she ran a competing investigation into the 2020 election and pushed to issue subpoenas in her investigation without Vos’ approval. She also joined former President Donald Trump in backing Adam Steen, Vos’ primary challenger.

“The people of Wisconsin deserve open and transparent government and I will continue to serve with that as my pledge to all of Wisconsin, including the voters of the 22nd Assembly District,” Brandtjen said in her statement Tuesday. “I supported Robin Vos’ opponent because I don’t feel Robin Vos can unify this party.”

The letter also poses the question of what else Brandtjen might face — including being removed as the chair of the elections committee. In January, Vos punished another member of the Assembly, removing the sole staffer from Rep. Tim Ramthun, R-Campbellsport.