On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate’s audit liaison Ken Bennett announced he will step down from the audit. Bennett issued the announcement on Wednesday morning in a radio interview.
Bennett said it was “impossible” to function as liaison, and revealed that volunteer consultant Randy Pullen would be assuming his duties. He said he would be a liaison in name only. Bennett refused to approve any final report on the audit, since he wasn’t allowed inside any longer.
On Monday, Bennett told radio host James Harris on The Conservative Circus that he was considering the possibility of stepping down from the audit. Bennett told Harris that he’d initially intended to announce his resignation on the show, but changed his mind after speaking with Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott).
“The reason that I was coming on this morning and the reason that I am that close to stepping down as the liaison is that I cannot be a part of the process that I am kept out of critical aspects along the way that make the audit legitimate and have integrity when we produce the final report,” said Bennett.
Bennett cited the fact that the auditors weren’t documenting or explaining the thousands of duplicate ballots that lacked serial numbers, like he asked. He also told Harris that other audit officials were telling workers to not relay information to Bennett.
Bennett did clarify that he wasn’t barred access to the audit over malicious reasons. Rather, Bennett admitted that he was barred because he inadvertently leaked data to the press ahead of the final report.
Bennett’s formal resignation came after Fann issued a press release saying that Bennett would assume a new role by overseeing the draft and final reports.
The Arizona Republican Party also issued an update on Wednesday afternoon to address Bennett’s role within the audit.
“Maricopa County is withholding vital materials and information needed to complete America’s Audit,” wrote the GOP. “Now, the Arizona State Senate has issued new subpoenas to continue the fight for transparency and voter confidence!”
Maricopa County is withholding vital materials & information needed to complete America's Audit. Now, the Arizona State Senate has issued new subpoenas to continue the fight for transparency & voter confidence! #AmericasAudit #ElectionIntegrity #Arizona @kelliwardaz pic.twitter.com/gPI3vJdSpF
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) July 28, 2021
In the update, GOP President Dr. Kelli Ward said that reports of Bennett’s quitting were fake news.
“The news has breathlessly reported that he was barred from entering the building. Stephen Richer – clown – falsely reported via tweet that Bennett quit over being removed,” said Ward. “Now, Ken Bennett himself told me that he is still the liaison and he is still working very closely with Senator Fann to assure that everything is accurate. One thing we know: the State Senate has long said that they do not want a ‘drip, drip, drip’ of information from the audit. No leaks. They want the final report to be given [and for it] to be an accurate account. Now we know the fake news loves to distract from the truth of this full forensic audit, so take everything, everything you hear with a grain of salt.”
That afternoon, Fann insinuated that Bennett wasn’t completely finished with the audit.
“The counting of the ballots is complete and they are being returned to Maricopa County,” tweeted Fann. “Now we wait for the draft and final reports. Ken Bennett will be an important part of those reports.”
The counting of the ballots is complete and they are being returned to Maricopa County. Now we wait for the draft and final reports. Ken Bennett will be an important part of those reports https://t.co/lHJb1DK7Li
— Karen Fann (@FannKfann) July 28, 2021
As of press time, Fann hasn’t issued any further updates on Bennett.
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