Daniel Kelly & Partisan Insurrections, Part Two of “Comics from Daniel Kelly’s Closet”, concurrently published by Tone Madison on 3/23/23! Read HERE.
In part two of this multi-part series about Wisconsin's upcoming April 4 election for a crucial state Supreme Court seat, let's follow Daniel Kelly through his problematic career timeline, including his paid time working as special counsel for the Republican National Committee and Republican Party of Wisconsin, his direct involvement with the 2020 fake elector scheme that almost won Donald Trump the state, and his continued election denialism that should disqualify him from the bench.
As with Part One, the full script and source links are posted under the panels.
Almost every panel has a top text bubble that alternates between blue and red, a central image (which often also has text descriptions), and a horizontal timeline at the bottom. At the very bottom of all panels is a footnote that says "T.L. Luke, 2023," "TL-LUKE.COM / @TL.LUKE," and "Panel #/8" where the # is the panel's number. Any panel discrepancies will be noted.
Title: Daniel Kelly & Partisan Insurrections
Top text: In Part One, we analyzed Fmr. Justice Daniel Kelly's role in Wisconsin's map redistricting. In Part Two, we're going to focus on more of his recent work history; particularly his paid time working with Republicans to steal the 2020 election.
In the center of the panel is a white woman with shoulder length black hair, black glasses, gray hoodie (this is a self portrait of the artist, T.L. Luke) within a dark closet lit with a single bulb overhead. She has a serious expression on her face (furrowed eyebrows and downturned mouth) as she looks over her shoulder and holds up a shoebox that says "Fake Elector Slate" on one side and "12/14 2020" on another. To her left is a clothing rack with a single, hanging Justice robe; on the collar is a dry cleaning tag that says "Dry Cleaning Dan Kelly." There is a shelf above Luke that has several other shoe boxes, with one empty spot (where the box she's holding came from). The boxes, from left to right, read "Act 43 Lawsuit," "Hitt 1/6 Deposition," "Rawl + Civil Society," (note, Luke's head blocks 'Civil Society') and "RNC Receipts."
At the bottom of the panel is the beginning of a timeline that continues to the right, past the panel border (hinting that this timeline will continue in the next panel). In small boxes with alternating red and blue headers, there are years and descriptions. From left to right, "2011: WI Act 43 Map Redistricting," "2012: Daniel Kelly is GOP Attorney for Act 43 Lawsuits," and "2016 - 2020: David Prosser retires, Scott Walker appoints Daniel Kelly as Justice.
Top text: Now, Daniel Kelly's spokesperson, Jim Dick, says Kelly "believes Joe Biden is the duly elected President of the United States." People like Kelly say a lot of things to get elected. Unfortunately for him, we have a citable timeline of his election denialism, and it lasts longer than you think.
In the center is an illustration of the open shoebox that Luke was holding in panel 1, as if from the perspective of Luke looking down into the box. We see her hands on either side, holding the box. Within the box are, from left to right: a ripped sheet of paper that has Donald Trump's signature and the Republican Party of Wisconsin's logo at the top, the headline "President Donald Trump Endorses Daniel Kelly for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice," with "January 15, 2020" at the bottom; an illustrated photograph of Justice Jill Karofsky (white woman with medium-gray, shoulder length hair) in her Justice robes and eyes crossed out, giving a thumbs-up gesture with her right hand, and smiling wide in front of a light blue background; and finally, another ripped up paper with a section of Andrew Hitt's January 6th deposition which reads, "Q I'm sorry. Who did you say you asked if they were in the loop on the alternate elector meeting on 12/7? A Yeah. That was Dan Kelly, who was also a lawyer – outside lawyer. His title is special counsel at that point. I had brought him on in Wisconsin to kind of help with –."
At the bottom is a timeline that runs from right to left with three more dates and descriptions. From left to right, "January 2020: Donald Trump endorses Daniel Kelly," "April 2020: Daniel Kelly loses election to Jill Karofsky," and "August 2020: Daniel Kelly is hired by RPW Chairman, Andrew Hitt, as special counsel."
Top text: On Dec. 14th, 2020, a group of Republicans secretly met in the State Capitol and created an "alternative" slate of electors to falsely declare Donald Trump as the true winner of Wisconsin.
In the center is a word bubble toward the left that says, "Thanks to the public January 6th Deposition of Andrew Hitt, we now know that Daniel Kelly was one of only two attorneys counseling said group on these 'legal procedures.' The word bubble is slightly covering a page from Andrew Hitt's January 6th deposition. What is visible reads, "Q Okay. So you were – from what you can recall, you were told by legal counsel, if you all didn't meet on December 14th and there was later a court decision that perhaps threw out a bunch of Biden votes and made President Trump the winner of the State, it wouldn't matter because you – you guys hadn't met on December 14th. Is that fair?
A Yes, that's fair. I was told there would be a complete waiver. And I remember – I remember asking, how could that be? Like, how could you have, you know, such a – what seems like a…" To the bottom right is another word bubble that says, "Hitt even said he wasn't sure about moving forward, but was "encouraged" by his special counsel to proceed with the meeting." Behind this word bubble, and a section of the deposition, is an actual photo from the January 6th insurrection. Once again, the background in the center is the open shoebox.
At the bottom, the timeline continues. It reads from left to right, "December 14, 2020: Daniel Kelly organizes fake elector meeting in WI's State Capitol" and "January 6, 2020: WI Senator Ron Johnson attempts to give fake elector slate to Vice President Mike Pence.
Top text: Daniel Kelly's direct involvement should disqualify him from any future on the bench. But, if that's not enough, he's a partisan hypocrite too. When asked about the ethics of working for the RPW and RNC, he said:
In the center is an illustrated, floating head of Daniel Kelly (white man, short, gray curly hair, furrowed brows, upturned nose, and open mouth) saying from a word bubble, "I have taken no money from the RPW throughout this campaign. Judge Protasiewicz [has] accepted millions of dollars in direct contributions from the [DPW]." Below that is a text bubble that says, "But the ethics isn't about campaign contributions, it's about paid legal counsel. Protasiewicz has never worked for the DPW/DNC. Meanwhile, Kelly says he's a spokesperson for the RNC." To the right of the text bubble is a swirly arrow pointing down to a screenshot from Kelly Daniel's 2023 Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) where he lists himself as the Republican National Committee spokesperson. Once again, the background in the center is the open shoebox.
At the bottom, the timeline continues. It reads from left to right (and slightly overlapped, since a lot of these are happening concurrently), "January 2021-July 2022: $8,534.55 payments from RPW," "March 2022-Dec 2022: $110,000 payments from RNC "Legal Services," "June 2022: "Election Integrity" issues per notes," and "September 2022: Kelly begins run."
Top text: And what did the RPW hire Kelly for in June 2022? A Wisconsin-wide "Election Integrity" Tour to cast further doubt on the 2020 election and recruit poll watchers before the August primary.
In the center is another held shoebox, this time with an illustrated photo of Daniel Kelly (left, white man, short curly gray hair, smiling, wearing a dark gray suit and black tie) and Michael Gableman (right, white man, fat cheeks, balding gray hair, wearing a black suit and light gray tie) in front of a pink background with their arms around each other's shoulders at the top center. On the left of the photo is a word bubble that says, "Both Kelly and Former Justice Michael Gableman were on the tour." On the right is a word bubble that says, "Gableman is best known for wasting $2 million taxpayer dollars in a task force that found no evidence of Wisconsin voter fraud." Below this are three objects which are, from left to right: a ripped piece of paper that says, "Wisconsin GOP bans media from attending state-wide 'election integrity' tour kickoff in Onalaska, June 15, 2022," an actual old flier from the August Midterm Primary that is celebrating former Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes' victory (it is primarily blue with the word "Victory" at the top, a photograph of a smiling Black man in a light blue button-up, with red, white, and blue stars bursting from behind the photo), and a portion of a salmon check from the Republican National Convention, dated "December 13, 2022" and made out for $10,000.
At the bottom, the timeline continues but ends this panel. From left to right, "June 2022: 9-city election integrity tour," "August 2022: WI Midterm Primary Election," "Sept 2022: Begins run for Justice," and "Dec 2022: Final $10,000 payment from RNC."
Top text: In conclusion, can we risk having an election denier on the bench when Donald Trump is on the ballot for 2024? Especially when all that stood between Kelly and certifying Trump was the Wisconsin Supreme Court?
In the center is a text bubble that says, "On Dec 14th, 2020, the same day as Kelly's fake elector meeting, the court ruled 4-3 against a Trump lawsuit calling to void 227,000 votes in Dane and Milwaukee Counties, which would have won Trump the state." Below this is are two waist-up illustrated portraits; on the left is conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn (white man, short medium-gray hair, glasses, giant smile), on the right is Daniel Kelly (curly gray hair, furrowed brows, frowning with his teeth visible), both in red ties and their Justice robes. The background is a left to right gradient, starting with very light gray behind Hagedorn and darker gray behind Kelly. Between the portraits is a text bubble that says, "Donald Trump only lost because Justice Brian Hagedorn voted with his three liberal colleagues. Kelly's thoughts on this?" A word bubble comes out of Kelly's mouth that says, "[Hagedorn is] supremely unreliable."
At the bottom is a text box that says, "Vote April 4th for ethical Judge Janet Protasiewicz."
Top text: This comic was researched, written, and illustrated by T.L. Luke in 2023. Our goal is to make complicated subjects, like politics, more accessible to visual learners while also encouraging thoughtful critical thinking. We're committed to providing facts over opinion, so please feel free to peruse our sources and research for yourself.
Under the top text is another text bubble that says, "But first, here is the full Daniel Kelly timeline:."
Under that is another text bubble that says:
2011 - WI Act 43 map redistricting
2012 - Daniel Kelly Republican attorney on Act 43 lawsuits
2016 - Appointed Justice by Scott Walker after Prosser retired
2016 - 2020 - Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice
Jan 2020 - Donald Trump endorses Kelly
Apr 2020 - Loses his Supreme Court election to Jill Karofsky
Aug 2020 - Hired by RPW as special counsel
Dec 2020 - Republicans meet in State Capitol to submit fake paperwork
Jan 2021-July 2022 - RPW paid Kelly $8,534.55 for "legal services"
Jan 6, 2021 - Senator Ron Johnson tries to give VP Pence fake slate
June 2022 - Kelly was retained to work on "election integrity issues"
June 2022 - Participates in 'Election Integrity' tour
August 2022 - Midterm election primaries
Sept 2022 - Announces Supreme Court running
March-December 2022 - RNC paid Kelly $110,000 for "legal and compliance services"
Under that on the left is a text bubble that says, "RPW = Republican Party of Wisconsin, RNC = Republican National Convention"
To the right is a text bubble that says, "Sources next…"
Top text: "How Daniel Kelly worked with the GOP to fuel election denialism," Wisconsin Independent
"Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Dan Kelly was paid $120,000 by GOP," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"January 6th Transcript," US House of Representatives
"Disbursements," Federal Elections Commission
"Business leaders group troubled by court hopeful's refusal to take democracy survey," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"2020 WI 91 - Supreme Court of Wisconsin," wicourts.gov
"Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds Joe Biden's win," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"After siding with liberals in election cases, conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Hagedorn finds himself in 'Twilight Zone'," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Judicial Candidate Questionnaire," WI Business for Democracy
"Republicans launch 'election integrity' events in Wisconsin," Associated Press
"Daniel Kelly, Janet Protasiewicz on health orders 2020 vote," PBS Wisconsin
"Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Kelly worked for Republican party in 2020," PBS Wisconsin
"Trump ally with ties to 'fake elector' scheme advances in Wisconsin Supreme Court race," NBC News
"Dan Kelly did Partisan Work," Urban Milwaukee
"Wisconsin Republican's plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election," Kenosha County Dems
"Wisconsin GOP bans media from attending statewide election integrity tour kickoff in Onalaska," news8000
"Price tag on Gableman probe nearing $2M, report finds," Wisconsin Public Radio
"Ron Johnson suggested GOP Legislature could choose presidential electors following Trump's 2020 loss," WPR
"Ron Johnson tried to hand fake elector info to Mike Pence on Jan. 6, panel reveals," Politico
"Wisconsin Republican's plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election," Kenosha County Dems(full list of alternate electors)