A List of the Key Legislators, Contractors, Fundraisers and Trump Allies Involved in the Arizona Senate Election ‘Audit’

Efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona culminated in a partisan "audit" of votes cast in Maricopa County. Records reveal extensive political bias as well as the involvement of conspiracy theorists in the creation and execution of the review. Below is a who’s-who of key figures who played a role in the effort.

Key Legislators

Sen. Karen Fann
Arizona Senate President Fann initiated the “audit” of Maricopa County’s election results after conversations with former President Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Sen. Eddie Farnsworth
Farnsworth, in his final weeks as the chair of the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee, worked with Fann to issue the Senate’s initial subpoenas of Maricopa County.

Sen. Warren Petersen
Petersen, who took over as the chair of the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee after Farnsworth’s retirement, has worked with Fann to advance the “audit,” including signing a second round of subpoenas during the new legislative session.

Rep. Mark Finchem
One of the most far-right members of the state House, Finchem has been a prominent cheerleader for the “audit.” Documents we obtained show that Guardian Defense Fund, a nonprofit associated with Finchem, paid $400,000 for security services for the “audit.” Finchem is currently running to be Arizona’s secretary of state, and has been endorsed by Trump.

Key Contractors and Subcontractors

Ken Bennett
Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state, has been serving as the Senate’s “liaison” to those conducting the operation. 

Randy Pullen
Pullen is the former chair of the Arizona Republican Party and a spokesman for the
“audit.” Documents we’ve obtained show Pullen said he played
role in securing Cyber Ninjas as the lead contractor, as well as his having served as a liaison to a number of partisan actors, including former Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; former Trump appointee Jeff DeWit, who appears to have been relaying messages to the former president; and Arizona activist Liz Harris, who has been leading unofficial door-to-door canvassing operations. In one text message uncovered by our lawsuit, Pullen expressed hope that the sham audit would impact the 2022 elections because people “will be pissed.” Pullen also serves as the treasurer of Finchem’s Guardian Defense Fund.

Doug Logan
Logan is the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the Florida company that the Senate hired to conduct its “audit.” Before being hired in Arizona, Logan had made baseless claims about “blatant cheating” in the 2020 election and had been involved in a faulty effort to examine election results in Antrim County, Mich. The Arizona Republic uncovered that Logan had been working with Sidney Powell and Patrick Byrne in their efforts to overturn the election as early as mid-November.

John Brakey
Brakey, the director of a group called Audit USA, was an assistant liaison to the Senate, and the one who told a reporter that investigators were looking for bamboo fibers in ballots in order to identify ballots “flown in” from Asia. Brakey later said he was disillusioned by the “manipulations” of Logan.

Ben Cotton
Cotton, founder of the digital security firm CyFIR, was tasked with reviewing Arizona election data, which he reportedly did somewhere out of state. Cotton at one point falsely claimed that Maricopa County had deleted its entire voting database. Like Logan, Cotton was involved in the failed effort to prove fraud in Antrim County, Mich.

Wake TSI
The Arizona Senate hired Wake TSI to manage the hand recount of ballots. Wake had previously been hired by a group led by former Trump attorney Sidney Powell to investigate the 2020 election results in Fulton County, Pa.

Shiva Ayyadurai
Records we uncovered showed that the Arizona Senate contracted with Ayyadurai to conduct reviews of voter signatures and ballot images. A two-time Senate candidate in Massachusetts, Ayyadurai has been a vocal proponent of election conspiracy theories, having joined Giuliani in an unofficial hearing on election challenges with Arizona legislators in late November 2020. Ayyadurai has since been in discussions with Wisconsin officials conducting their own “investigation” of the 2020 election results.

Funders and Fundraisers

Christina Bobb
Bobb, a former political appointee at the Department of Homeland Security, is now a reporter with the pro-Trump network One America News. She used her platform to raise money for the audit through a nonprofit called Voices & Votes, which also paid for out-of-state legislators to visit the audit. We obtained documents showing Bobb in frequent contact with Fann.

Patrick Byrne
Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com, runs a nonprofit called the America Project, which contributed at least $3.2 million to the audit. Byrne is an outspoken advocate of election conspiracy theories, and personally urged Trump to reject the result of the election. Byrne also produced an election-conspiracy conspiracy film called The Deep Rig; Doug Logan appeared in the film.

Michael Flynn
Trump’s former national security adviser, whom Trump pardoned for any crimes Flynn might have committed in connection to Russian interference in the 2016 election, heads the group America’s Future, from which Cyber Ninjas reported receiving nearly a million dollars. Flynn was an early and active proponent of “stolen election” conspiracy theories and joined Patrick Byrne and Sidney Powell in urging Trump to reject the election results.

Sidney Powell
Powell runs Defending the Republic, a group formerly headed by Byrne, which contributed half a million dollars to the Cyber Ninjas effort. While she was briefly part of the legal team helping Trump’s attempts to overturn his election loss, his advisers ultimately distanced themselves from her when the conspiracy theories she was publicizing became even more outlandish. Powell began working closely with Flynn and Byrne soon after the election in an effort to undermine the results. In August, Powell, Lin Wood, and other Trump-allied attorneys were sanctioned by a federal judge for their efforts to reverse Michigan’s election results.

Cleta Mitchell
Documents that we uncovered show that Mitchell, a longtime proponent of voter-fraud myths who advised Trump in his challenges to the election results, set up an escrow account through which she paid $1 million to three Cyber Ninjas subcontractors — an arrangement separate from the direct donations publicly reported by Cyber Ninjas. She did not divulge who contributed to the account. Mitchell appears to have been working with Pennsylvania attorney Scott Sigman and Wisconsin GOP-linked finance manager Thomas Datwyler to make the payments.

Jeff DeWit
DeWit, the chief operating officer of Trump’s 2020 campaign and a former NASA official, appears to have been relaying messages between the former president and those connected with the Arizona “audit,” as well as arranging donations from unknown sources to the Cyber Ninjas effort.

Bruce Ash
Records indicate that Ash, a former Arizona Republican Party committeeman, worked with Pullen to attempt to extract money from the Republican National Committee to pay for a legal defense of the “audit.”

Others

Rudy Giuliani Trump’s personal attorney, Giuliani drove attempts to nullify election results around the country and was in touch with Arizona Senate leadership as they developed plans for a partisan election review. 

Reince Priebus
Records we obtained show that Priebus, the former RNC chairman and Trump chief of staff, was in touch with Pullen about setting up a “forensic audit” of Arizona’s election results as early as December.

Liz Harris
Harris, an Arizona-based activist, led door-to-door canvassing operations that culminated in an evidence-lacking report alleging a huge number of “stolen” votes in the 2020 election. While “audit” leaders insisted that Harris’s operation was unrelated to the Senate’s project, documents we uncovered showed that top audit officials were in contact with Harris and were aware of her direct contact with voters. Harris also sought to obtain extensive information about each vote cast in Arizona in 2020.

Phil Waldron
Waldron appeared as a “witness” at the unofficial hearing Giuliani held for Arizona legislators in November, and was part of a team from Allied Security Operations Group (ASOG) that was initially considered to perform the Maricopa County “audit.” ASOG’s co-founder, Russell Ramsland, has long pushed the conspiracy theory that foreign actors are using voting software to change votes, and has been a prominent supporter of election-overturning efforts. ASOG was also behind a debunked report on alleged fraud in Michigan’s Antrim County, and was floated as a potential contractor for an election investigation in York County, Pa.

Jovan Hutton Pulitzer
Pulitzer is a little-known inventor who drew attention late last year attempting to sell Georgia legislators on a ballot-audit technology he developed called “kinematic artifact detection.” Pulitzer’s technology was put to use by Arizona’s “auditors,” as well as by activists reviewing ballots in Georgia’s Fulton County. Pulitzer appears to be the source of a rumor that supposedly fraudulent ballots from Asia could be detected by searching for bamboo fibers.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar
A log of communications that the Arizona Senate is attempting to withhold from release shows that Gosar, a Republican U.S. House member from Arizona, exchanged multiple text messages with Fann in the spring regarding the “audit” and its vendors.

Lin Wood
A Trump-allied attorney who worked with Powell on her farfetched election lawsuits, Wood was involved in early discussions with Logan about election reviews, according to the Arizona Republic. Records obtained through American Oversight’s litigation also revealed Wood’s participation in a call about “election integrity,” the agenda for which indicated that election-denying activists discussed advancing similar “audit” efforts in other states.

Bobby Piton
Piton, who’s running for Senate in Illinois, has been a vocal proponent of lies about Arizona’s election results. Piton served as a witness in Giuliani’s sham hearing in November, and has collaborated with Harris.

Timeline

Nov. 30, 2020: Giuliani holds an unofficial hearing with Arizona legislators, attempting to convince them that the election results in their state could not be trusted.

Dec. 15, 2020: Fann and Farnsworth issue subpoenas to Maricopa County for election equipment and logs, as well as other materials. A judge quickly rules that the subpoenas are not enforceable.

Dec. 28, 2020: Fann writes to a constituent that she’s been in “numerous conversations” with Giuliani over the past weeks “trying to get” an audit of the election results “done.”

Jan. 12, 2021: Fann and Petersen re-issue subpoenas to Maricopa County. A judge later rules that the new subpoenas are enforceable.

Feb. 23, 2021: An independent audit commissioned by Maricopa County concludes that the election results were sound, and finds no signs of foul play.

March 31, 2021: Fann announces that she has selected Logan’s Cyber Ninjas to lead the Senate’s “audit.”

April 23, 2021: The Senate’s partisan “audit,” led by Cyber Ninjas, kicks off in Phoenix.

May 19, 2021: American Oversight sues the Arizona Senate for the release of records related to the audit, including those in the physical possession of Cyber Ninjas.

July 27, 2021: Fann and Petersen issue another set of subpoenas to Maricopa County and to Dominion Voting Systems, the manufacturer of the county’s voting machines, for additional materials. The county and the voting-machine company refuse to comply

July 30, 2021: Senate “auditors” vacate the venue where they’ve been conducting their work. The timeline for a final report is unclear.

Aug. 18, 2021: The Maricopa County Superior Court orders the state Senate to produce documents requested by American Oversight no later than Aug. 31.

Aug. 23, 2021: The release of Cyber Ninjas’ final report on the audit is delayed after multiple members of the team contract Covid-19.

Aug. 31, 2021: The Senate releases tens of thousands of pages of documents regarding the audit to American Oversight on a court-ordered deadline, illuminating more about the funding and influences behind the “audit.” However, the Senate maintains that thousands of additional pages of documents are exempt from disclosure, and continues to claim that it is not required to produce documents that are in the physical possession of Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors.

Sept. 14, 2021: The Arizona Supreme Court leaves in place a lower court ruling requiring the Senate to produce records in the physical custody of Cyber Ninjas to American Oversight.

Sept. 16, 2021: An attorney for the Arizona Senate reveals to a court in a hearing on American Oversight’s public records suit that the final “audit” report will be released on Friday, Sept. 24.

Sept. 17, 2021: Maricopa County and the Senate reach a deal, with the county agreeing to provide the Senate with some information from the computer routers the Senate had sought.

Sept. 17, 2021: In a letter to the Arizona Senate’s attorneys, Cyber Ninjas indicates that it does not intend to turn over the bulk of the records that a court has ordered be made public.