On Thursday, an Arizona court dealt a severe blow to the state Senate’s attempt to keep key documents related to its sham election “audit” hidden from the public.
In rejecting the Senate’s motion to dismiss American Oversight’s lawsuit for those records, Judge Michael Kemp wrote, “It is difficult to conceive of a case with a more compelling public interest demanding public disclosure and public scrutiny.” Kemp also denied the Senate’s motion to consolidate our lawsuit with another public records suit brought by the Arizona Republic, and wrote that the court “completely rejects” the Senate’s arguments that records held by contractor Cyber Ninjas are exempt from Arizona’s public records law. Read more here.
Less than two hours after this ruling, however, the Senate held a hearing in which participants lauded the partisan operation’s “transparency” — despite the Senate’s fight to shield important records as well as its refusal to provide more information about how the process is being funded. During the hearing, Senate President Karen Fann also praised the stunt as protecting democracy — even though its promotion of conspiracy theories has perniciously spread to other parts of the country, where supporters of the “big lie” seek to further undermine trust in democracy. Headlines from other states:
The hearing also came after news that the Senate’s own recount of ballots would be delayed again, and that Maricopa County would spend nearly $3 million for new voting machines because the original machines, which had been handed over to the Senate and the non-accredited firms it had contracted, were compromised.
The “audit” has also drawn scrutiny from Congress, where the House Committee on Oversight and Reform launched an investigation this week into whether Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired by the Arizona Senate, “engaged in sloppy and insecure audit practices that compromised the integrity of ballots and voting equipment” and “sought to advance the ‘big lie’ of debunked voter fraud allegations.” Some related headlines:
Pandemic Conditions in ICE Facilities
American Oversight obtained new documents that provide first-hand accounts of the conditions last spring at various detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The records provide further evidence about much of what has been reported about the coronavirus’ spread in those facilities: That many people in detention were exposed to the virus because of crowded quarters and frequent detainee transfers; that they lacked consistent access to hygiene products or personal protective equipment; that their medical needs were often not fully met; and that many staff members did not practice proper pandemic mitigation behaviors.
The Quashed Plan to Send Masks to Americans
The Daily Beast reported this week new details about how a plan last spring to send masks to all U.S. households was initially formulated — and about how the Trump White House eventually killed it. Last fall, we obtained a draft press release announcing that the U.S. Postal Service would deliver the face coverings to all households; subsequent reporting from the Washington Post revealed the White House’s role in scrapping the initiative.
William Barr and John Durham
Visitor logs for former Attorney General William Barr, recently obtained by American Oversight, further demonstrate the frequent contact between Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham, who had been tapped to look into the origins of the Russia investigation. Durham’s investigation was one of the more blatant examples of former President Trump’s attempts to use the Justice Department for his own political purposes — something we continue to learn more about.
Part of Investigation: