Materials released this week in connection to the so-called audit of the presidential election results in Maricopa County, Arizona, reveal what observers may have expected: the effort has been closely aligned with former President Donald Trump’s circles right from the start. Thus, characterizing the supposed audit as some kind of unbiased operation has only become more ridiculous. In reality, it’s been run by a company — Cyber Ninjas — whose CEO, Doug Logan, has helped push conspiracy theories about the integrity of last year’s presidential election, and prior to the Maricopa audit, that firm had no election auditing experience whatsoever, which yet again severely undercuts the effort’s basic credibility.
Newly released Senate documents show Arizona's election audit for what it is: a bought-and-paid-for scheme to not only undermine voters' faith in democracy but to overturn democracy itself. https://t.co/FkvDjHYPcS via @azcentral
— Laurie Roberts (@LaurieRoberts) September 1, 2021
As summarized by columnist Laurie Roberts for The Arizona Republic, documents released this week in connection to the audit show that “audit spokesman Randy Pullen was consulting with Trump’s former chief of staff” about audit-related issues, that “the audit’s official Twitter account was run by Trump supporters who contributed at least $3.25 million to help pay for this official state audit,” and that “none other than Donald Trump himself may have helped pay for the audit.”
As Roberts pointedly put it, in light of these facts:
‘Is there seriously any person alive who is still buying Senate President Karen Fann’s assurances that this audit is independent? That it is unbiased? That it is anything other than a transparently obvious bought-and-paid-for scheme to not only undermine voters’ faith in democracy but to overturn democracy?’
The materials that were recently made available were released in connection to a lawsuit from the government oversight organization American Oversight. Separately, The Arizona Republic has also sued in hopes of obtaining documents connected to the audit, with two troves of materials at issue: records held by the Arizona state Senate, which has run the audit, and records held by Cyber Ninjas, which those on the audit’s side have claimed should be considered exempt from public records laws. Recently, a judge ruled against that notion, ordering Cyber Ninjas to preserve all of its records related to the audit for the eventual purpose of releasing them to the public.
As for the records released in the American Oversight case, the former Trump chief of staff with whom Pullen was in contact was Reince Priebus, who was the first chief of staff in the Trump administration. On March 7, Pullen asked Priebus for “Any suggestions on election audit firms.” Meanwhile, in April, Pullen spoke via text with Jeff DeWit, a former state official in Arizona who also served on Trump’s 2020 campaign, and at one point, DeWit asked as follows in reference to a group called Fund the Audit: “So they are OK to donate to? Trump asking.” DeWit claimed this week that he “wasn’t referring to Trump himself, but to the broader Trump orbit” when he said “Trump asking” — but Pullen appears to have understood DeWit as an intermediary to the former president himself. On July 19, Pullen asked DeWit to get in touch with former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, saying that Arpaio “has information for 45.”
As for the Twitter account issue, the official profile on Twitter for the audit was apparently being run (at least as of one point not too long ago) by Fund the Audit, a group set up by former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne — meaning that supporters of false notions about the election were directly involved in getting information about the audit to the public. (Byrne is a supporter of claims that the election was rigged.) In other words, the corruption goes on and on. Read more at this link.