The inquiry, which the Wisconsin Democratic Party has sought to deter, is being headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, according to The Hill.
In October, State House Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, initiated the audit when he approved subpoenas for the Wisconsin Elections Commission and its administrator, Meagan Wolfe, over several anomalies in the narrow Wisconsin 2020 election results.
Kaul attempted to intercept the subpoena of Wolfe through a temporary injunction he filed the same month the suit was filed. He argued that the subpoena was unreasonably overbroad and burdensome" and sought Wolfe's testimony in private rather than public.
Lanford stated that the elections commission and Wolfe "have not shown irreparable injury, an inadequate remedy at law or preservation of the status quo," which are "elements necessary for the Court to consider in deciding whether to grant a temporary injunction."
The circuit judge also rejected Gableman's motion to dismiss Kaul's suit overall, according to The Hill.
In a recent interview with WISN-TV, Vos said that he hoped Gableman's probe would wrap up by the end of February so that the Republican-controlled chamber could consider new legislation. Vos also said he has spoken to Trump a half-dozen times about the review. "Given Speaker Vos’ recent comments indicating that the Gableman investigation will soon be coming to a close, it is my hope that former Justice Gableman will withdraw these unnecessary subpoenas rather than continuing to litigate over them," Kaul said in a statement after Monday's ruling was issued.
Lanford’s ruling will likely affect other lawsuits in the state. Gableman has threatened jail time to enforce separate subpoenas of the mayors of Madison and Green Bay. Those issues are part of a separate suit being heard in Waukesha County, with a hearing scheduled for later this month.
Lanford also allowed for the possibility of a temporary injunction in the future, writing that Gableman “seek to enforce the subpoenas before this case is decided on the merits through contempt, imprisonment or other means similar to the action pending in Waukesha County … Plaintiffs can certainly file another motion for a temporary injunction that the Court will schedule as soon as its calendar permits.”