Following an investigation of the Maricopa County Supervisors refusing to comply with an election audit from the Arizona Senate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich determined that the supervisors violated the law and intend to tell the Arizona treasurer to withhold their state-shared funds if they don’t comply. Senate Republicans are winding down an independent audit they ordered into the 2020 election investigating the results of Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the presidential race and Mark Kelly defeating Martha McSally in the U.S. Senate race. The supervisors have fought the audit for months.
“We are notifying the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (MCBOS) that it must fully comply with the Senate’s subpoena as required by the law,” said Brnovich. “Our courts have spoken. The rule of law must be followed.”
Brnovich said the supervisors’ “only response was that the Arizona Senate is not currently in session, so MCBOS could not be held in contempt.” The county could lose more than $700 million a year, over a quarter of its $2.7 billion budget.
Brnovich noted that the Maricopa County Superior Court has previously ruled that the Arizona Senate has the authority to issue subpoenas to the supervisors and the supervisors must comply. In fact, the supervisors welcomed that decision and chose not to appeal it.
Brnovich’s investigation began after Sen. Sonny Borelli (R-Lake Havasu) requested it in an “SB 1487” complaint. The Senate Republicans asked for six categories of information, but logins, routers, and logs — particularly router splunk logs — were not turned over.
In the supervisors’ response to the Senate, they listed 11 reasons why they were not complying with the subpoena, including reasons that were already addressed by Judge Timothy Thomason regarding the first subpoena.
They cited “abuse of process or designed merely to harass,” but Thomason said, “It is not the Court’s function to ascertain the wisdom of the senators’ decision to issue the subpoenas or to determine if any attendant investigation is ‘justified.’” Thomason went on, “Assessing electoral integrity is a proper legislative purpose.”
The supervisors said the subpoena “was not authorized by a vote of the Senate” and “not authorized by a vote of the Arizona Senate Committee with jurisdiction over government operations and elections.” However, Thomason said the statute expressly authorizes “the presiding officer of either house or the chairman of any committee” to issue subpoenas.
Sen. Karen Fann (R-Prescott) is the presiding officer of the Senate and issued both subpoenas.
This isn’t the first time Brnovich has tangled with the supervisors over the election. Shortly after the election, he asked them to increase the hand count audit from 2 percent to 5 percent, but they failed to do so. In December, he issued a legal opinion stating that the Arizona Senate has the authority to conduct an audit.
The full results of the audit were expected to be delivered to the Senate this past week, but were delayed due to three of the five audit team members, including Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, coming down with COVID-19. Preliminary results from the audit were released on July 16, revealing multiple major discrepancies. Some of them were over 74,000 ballots mailed in from voters with no record that they had ever requested them, 18,000 voters mysteriously removed from the voter rolls after the election, 4,000 registered to vote after the deadline, and 11,000 who disappeared from the voter rolls after voting but reappeared a month later.
Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden by just 10,457 votes in Arizona, according to the state secretary of state. He lost the vote in Maricopa County by 45,109 votes. In contrast, in 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Maricopa County by 91,234 votes. Republicans carried almost every other race in Maricopa County, including beating the incumbent Democratic county recorder. The number of total votes in the presidential election in Arizona between 2016 and 2020 increased by 40 percent, nearly a million votes. Going into the election, a poll released by Rasmussen Reports had Trump up three points over Biden on October 29.
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