Though two audits conducted in Maricopa County, Arizona found no irregularities in the 2020 election, that didn’t stop Republican state senators from having a third audit conducted, this time by a private firm — a move that drew controversy for a number of reasons.
One of the reasons includes the insistence from Republican operatives behind the audit that donors who are funding the effort, on top of the $150,000 provided by state Senate Republicans, be kept secret. According to the Washington Examiner, that could soon change as an Arizona judge recently questioned why donors behind the audit are being kept under wraps.
Is the public “entitled to know?”
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp raised questions over the donor secrecy at a recent hearing with attorney Kory Langhofer, who represents Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R).
“Isn’t the public entitled to know who’s paying for this, besides the $150,000 the Senate has already appropriated?” the judge asked.
Langhofer quickly wrote off the judge’s concerns, firing back by saying: “That’s a great political argument,” adding, “They should talk to the Legislature about it.”
“The public has a right to know the information that’s covered by the Public Records Act, but doesn’t have a right to know all the information it deems important,” Langhofer told the Examiner, adding, “particularly if that information is not in the custody of the government.”
Apparently, the records of the donors who’ve chipped in to support the privately conducted, third audit of the county’s election results are not held by Fann or any member of the state Senate. Cyber Ninjas, the firm conducting the audit, reportedly is the only entity with access to the donors’ information.
Plenty of opponents
Many who oppose the audit efforts, including leftist watchdog group American Oversight, are taking the legal route in an attempt to make public who’s funding the presumably expensive private audit.
However, it’s not only Democrats in the state who believe the audit is a waste of time and money, given that two previous audits conducted after the 2020 election revealed nothing of concern as far as irregularities in ballot totals, even as many supporters of former President Donald Trump still believe that the numbers are inaccurate.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which is a group comprised of mostly Republicans, has spoken in opposition to the private, third audit.
In late June, the Examiner reported, it was revealed that Cyber Ninjas concluded the “paper examination” portion of the audit. However, the results are not expected to be made public until later this summer, keeping many of those who believe the audit results will change everything in suspense.
Given that Arizona has already had its Electoral College votes certified by Congress, even if a situation arises in which the third, hand-count audit reveals that enough votes were found to be inaccurate, it wouldn’t change the results of the 2020 election, as pro-audit state Sen. Fann admitted in a recent radio interview.