Arizona Senate Not Holding Maricopa County in Contempt Due to Holdout Republican

Arizona Senate Not Holding Maricopa County in Contempt Due
to Holdout Republican 1

The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate is not voting to hold Maricopa County officials in contempt for refusing to fully comply with election audit subpoenas because of a single GOP senator.

Republicans lost a seat in the state Senate in the 2020 elections and hold a narrow 16-14 majority. That gives state Sen. Paul Boyer, a Republican, the power to stymie efforts to hold the county’s Board of Supervisors (BOS) in contempt.

“Senator Boyer agreed to proceed with audit but when Maricopa BOS refused to cooperate, Boyer would not vote with us for the resolution of contempt which leaves us one vote short,” Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, said in a social media post on Wednesday.

Boyer, who did not return requests for comment, responded directly to Fann.

“You told us in closed caucus the ‘audit’ would not cost taxpayers more than 150k and you wouldn’t divulge who you were hiring. Had you told us it was an inexperienced, partisan firm, I wouldn’t have been the only one to object,” he said.

Fann tapped Florida-based Cyber Ninjas to lead the audit, along with subcontractors Wake Technology Services, CyFIR, and Digital Discovery.

Democrats and other critics say Cyber Ninjas is not qualified because the firm lacks experience conducting audits and because its CEO, Doug Logan, shared and posted on social media last year alleging election fraud occurred. Proponents and Republicans say the firm has created a transparent process for an unprecedented election review and that the subcontractors have ample experience.

On the issue of funding, taxpayers are only paying $150,000. Donations are funding the rest.

Senators voted in February on a measure to hold the BOS in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas they issued in late 2020.

Supervisors “have repeatedly and willfully delayed and obstructed a vital and duly authorized investigation by the Arizona Senate,” the resolution stated.

The measure would have enabled the Senate to send the sergeant-at-arms to arrest the supervisors.

The vote went along party lines, except for Boyer, who sided with Democrats. That made the vote 15-15.

“My vote is about patience,” Boyer said, adding that it would provide “a little bit more time for us to work together charitably and amicably as friends.”

The standoff between county and state officials ended later that month when a judge ruled against the county, saying the subpoenas the Senate issued were valid.

Arizona Sen. Warren Petersen (L), and Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R) hear testimony during a hearing on the Maricopa county audit on July 15 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Allan Stein/Epoch Times)
maricopa county board
In this image from video captured from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors website, Chairman Jack Sellers, center, and members hold a meeting regarding requests by the Arizona Senate in Maricopa County, Ariz., on May 18, 2021. (Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

County supervisors agreed to turn over nearly 2.1 million ballots, 385 tabulators, and other election-related materials, but have refused to send over router or router images and passwords to access the election machines at an administrative level.

Auditors want that information as well as ballot envelope images and splunk logs to try to clear up issues they’ve identified in their review. The county, though, isn’t cooperating.

“Every time I’ve tried to interact with the folks at the Elections Department, I’ve been told that I need to deal with the county attorney’s office. And most of that time I’ve received kind of the answer that ‘we gave you everything we’re going to give you,’” Ken Bennett, a former Republican Arizona secretary of state who is serving as the state Senate’s audit liaison, told a hearing last week.

“It is unfortunate that the county has been recalcitrant. That doesn’t breed trust, it slows things down. It makes things difficult,” state Sen. Warren Peterson, a Republican, added. If the materials and information sought aren’t handed over, “it will be an incomplete audit,” he said.

A county spokesman told The Epoch Times in an email that the county would not give over more material without fresh subpoenas.

“We will have a response about other demands if and when Senate leadership produces more subpoenas,” he said.

The county Board of Supervisors grew upset in May after Fann conveyed findings from auditors, including that there appeared to be a database on the election management software deleted. The county called for an end to the audit.

For now, the Senate won’t attempt to hold the county in contempt. It also backed off a plan to issue more subpoenas.

Asked what people can do, Bennett told radio host James Harris that they can call the board of supervisors and ask that they “be more cooperative.”

“That feels a little weak, but that’s kind of where we’re at,” he said.

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