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On Wednesday, Mastriano issued letters to three voting districts—including the Democratic bastion of Philadelphia—delivering officials there a sweeping information request, with the threat of subpoenas for holdouts who do not respond affirmatively by July’s end.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Mastriano has solicited legal advice from a Philadelphia-based law firm about the Senate Republican caucus using private money to finance consultants and lawyers on the investigation.
A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION
In the letter, counties are asked to respond by July 31 with a plan to comply and to propose a timeline “regarding inspection, testing or sampling of items.”
The five-page information request lists 45 categories, with some similarities to the subpoena issued in Arizona to Maricopa County in January by that state’s Senate Republican majority.
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It includes all ballots attempted to have been cast in the November election, logs from all computers and servers used to run the election, timelines of who accessed election equipment and “a complete end-to-end election setup for use in a laboratory.”
Mastriano also warned that the committee he chairs, the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, could vote to issue a subpoena if a county does not adhere to his request.
“The only reason why anyone should be opposed to this is they have something to hide,” Mastriano told Bannon.
Mastriano, who said more counties could receive information requests in the future, is also asking for information from May’s primary election.
Two Republican-controlled counties—Tioga and York counties—confirmed receiving letters Wednesday, as did Philadelphia—the state’s largest city, which has a long history of vote fraud.
Tioga County Commissioner Roger C. Bunn, a Republican, said he had just received an email with Mastriano’s requests and planned to get input from the board’s lawyer and the elections director before he and the other two commissioners decide how to respond.
“I certainly want our elections to be fair and honest,” Bunn said. “So we’ll see what they’re requesting and what we can do.”
A spokesman for the York County Board of Commissioners declined comment.
Philadelphia election officials said they were discussing a response with agency lawyers, although a spokesperson said Mastriano’s letter “reiterates claims about the November 2020 election that have been resoundingly rejected by courts.”
DEMS PUSH BACK
Top Senate Democrats quickly objected, saying Democrats have “grave concerns about the authority and legality of such an audit,” and in a letter asked the Senate’s Republican majority leaders to “end this misguided and political farce immediately.”
Senate Republican majority leaders have been silent about it.
Echoing similar talking points as those used unsuccessfully in Arizona, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, claimed on Twitter that Mastriano was requesting confidential and privileged information “in continued efforts to pay homage to former President Trump and further spread misinformation about our elections.”
Shapiro also suggested his office would challenge a subpoena.
Shapiro’s challenges to any Senate-issued subpoenas face better prospects of success than those waged by anti-election-integrity activists in Arizona—including those affiliated with billionaire George Soros, former president Barack Obama and the Chinese Communist Party.
Pennsylvania’s left-skewed state Supreme Court played a large role in upholding the executive overreach of Democrat officials including partisan ex-Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who subsequently was forced to resign over her bungling of the election.
Mastriano does not suggest in the letter that his aim is to overturn Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, but rather to restore trust in elections and “adequately consider future legislation” on election law.
But he does not back off suggestions that fraud occurred, also outlining in his letter the actions of state judges and election officials in the run-up to the election.
Mastriano has said he is considering running for governor and has claimed that Trump “asked me” to run.
An enthusiastic Trump backer during last year’s election, he previously led a Senate Republican Policy Committee hearing in Gettysburg in November to which Trump called in, and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was the featured speaker.
In December, he signed a statement with 63 other Republican state lawmakers urging members of Congress to block Pennsylvania’s electoral votes from being cast for Biden.