Documents recently released in response to American Oversight’s litigation provide new details about Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan’s contacts with prominent election deniers, as well as about his involvement in efforts to cast doubt on election integrity in other states.
According to the records, Logan, whose firm conducted the discredited “audit” in Maricopa County, Ariz., spoke directly with Donald Trump-allied election deniers Mike Flynn and Patrick Byrne about the election review in 2021. He also helped draft a subpoena for Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate as they sought to initiate a statewide election investigation. The documents, which American Oversight obtained in response to our lawsuit seeking records related to the sham “audit,” provide more context surrounding the biased intentions of the election review and illustrate examples of conspiracy theorists’ inter-state efforts to sow distrust in electoral systems.
The documents, released last month by the Arizona Senate, provide yet more evidence of the partisan motivations behind the sham “audit,” which has cost the Arizona Senate more than $1.3 million, according to another set of records obtained last month.
Communications with Patrick Byrne and Michael Flynn
Cyber Ninjas’ final report, released in September 2021, ultimately concluded that Joe Biden had defeated Donald Trump in Maricopa County, but it still attempted to cast doubt on the results by relying on what the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said were “errors and faulty conclusions.”
In late August 2021, Trump ally and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne sent Logan a number of text messages in which he expressed concern about reports he’d heard of “extraordinary political maneuvering” that he feared would prevent Logan from “writ[ing] the report that you want to write.”
Byrne, who donated more than $3 million to the “audit” effort through his nonprofit, the America Project, told Logan that he had been speaking with “a very high [powered] attorney about the situation.” That attorney had told him that reaching “100% proof” of the report’s conclusions would be impossible to reach without deposition of “the other side.”
Byrne encouraged Logan to “write the report as you see fit with no political compromise, with all the truth that you found. … Without letting politicians shut you down.” In another text, Byrne wrote that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn “has been talking to some senators who … are going to fight like hell on your behalf” to “not let any political pressure be brought to bear against you.” Byrne added, “Flynn tells me: if they get away with watering this down then we are finished as a nation.”
Byrne’s texts do not reference specific evidence for the conclusions he appears eager for Logan to make, which aligns with what we’ve previously uncovered about the Arizona election review: that “audit” leaders undertook the review with predetermined conclusions in mind.
Other text messages exchanged between Byrne and Logan include a conversation about an in-person meeting they had with other “audit” personnel in July, as well as discussion of “The Deep Rig,” the conspiracy film that Byrne helped produce.
Flynn’s group, America’s Future, donated more than $976,000 to the “audit.” The records also include messages exchanged between Logan and Flynn as early as March 2021, when Flynn appeared to help with procuring a facility where the “audit” could be conducted. On Sept. 17, Logan wrote to Flynn, “I will not be complying with the requests to give over staffing details (aka a list of who is involved). I will die on that hill; and I’m hopeful people will financially back me to make that possible.”
Involvement in Pennsylvania Investigation
The documents also indicate that Logan helped Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate with what appears to be the subpoena for detailed voter records as part of a statewide “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election. The investigation largely stalled after the Senate’s subpoena faced challenges in court, and in December 2022, the state’s new administration moved to dismiss the subpoena.
On Aug. 9, 2021, Logan texted Heather Honey, an “audit” worker and founder of the Pennsylvania-based firm Haystack Investigations, asking her if she knew “what an ‘Affidavit for Assistance’ is in PA,” He said, “Its on their subpoena that ‘will go out Monday’” and added that he was “helping [the Pennsylvania Senate] with that again.” In December, Honey testified in court in support of Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor who unsuccessfully challenged the results of the election she lost.
Logan’s involvement is another example of how the network of election-denying activists have worked across several states, including Pennsylvania and Arizona. Numerous conspiracy theorists from Pennsylvania, such as fake electors Bill Bachenberg and Andre McCoy, also played significant roles in the Arizona “audit.”
Communications with Trump Team
In April 2021, Logan texted with right-wing media commentator Christina Bobb, who helped raise money for the “audit” and often communicated with “audit” leaders on behalf of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Logan and Bobb discussed finding legal counsel in response to the Arizona Democratic Party’s lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against the Senate to delay the ballot recount. “Would you mind if I unofficially talked to the Trump team and asked them who they’d recommend?” Bobb asked. “Just like, ‘hey, who would you use?’” The two also discussed potential donations to the “audit” from the Trump team.
On June 19, Logan asked Bobb if Trump could encourage people to donate, because Cyber Ninjas was short on funds. Bobb replied that Trump “shies away from publicly supporting the audit” but that she would “raise the money issue with him next time we talk.”
Part of Investigation: