As we wrote last week, it did not matter that the sham “audit” of votes cast in Maricopa County repeated what had already been confirmed by actual independent audits — that Joe Biden defeated Trump. The election review’s primary outcome was in keeping conspiracy theories and lies about voter fraud alive for the multiple months it dragged on.
Proof of its success in fueling the Big Lie came on Thursday, the night before it presented its flawed and misleading final report. Within hours of Donald Trump sending a public letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demanding a “Forensic Audit of the 2020 Election,” the Texas secretary of state’s office put out a statement saying the office had already begun a review of votes in four large counties, three of which went to Biden in 2020.
In the days that followed, county officials told news outlets they hadn’t received any requests for election materials from the secretary of state, and it wasn’t until Tuesday night that the office provided more information about the scope of the effort.
While officials in Texas and elsewhere defend the continued re-litigation of what was a safe and secure election, recent months have shown that those who firmly believe, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud played a role in the 2020 election will not be appeased. Arizona’s partisan review is a case in point:
“Significant parts of the right treated the completion of the Arizona review as a vindication — offering a fresh canard to justify an accelerated push for new voting limits and measures to give Republican state lawmakers greater control over elections,” wrote the New York Times. “The Arizona review, and similar partisan election investigations around the country, are one spear in a multipronged effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to dispute the outcome of the 2020 race and to overhaul future American elections.”
The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on the Arizona Senate’s partisan review on Oct. 7, and has requested the testimony of Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan. And on Thursday, we published a review of new documents released in response to our litigation for “audit” records. Some headlines from other states:
Trump White House Removed Mask-Wearing Guidance from Postcards
In March 2020, the White House prepared to send postcards with Covid-19-related public health guidelines to households across the United States. But records obtained by American Oversight show that as the country grappled with a nationwide shortage of masks — and a White House that would soon make mask-wearing a dangerously politicized exercise — guidelines about face coverings were omitted from the final mailer.
The Cost of Abbott’s ‘Operation Lone Star’
The Washington Post wrote about Texas Gov. Abbott’s aggressive immigration enforcement actions this year, dubbed Operation Lone Star, and the hundreds of people held for weeks without charges as the justice system became overwhelmed. The story cites documents released to American Oversight by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which said that the operation’s weekly overtime, travel, and fuel costs totaled more than $2.3 million.
The Pandemic and Cruises
We obtained records from 2020 that shed more light on the cruise industry’s response to the pandemic. Among them are an email from Norwegian Cruise Lines President Frank Del Rio, in which he expresses frustration with changes in the CDC’s travel warning system, saying the CDC was “kicking us while we’re down.” Read more here.
Withheld EPA Report on Formaldehyde
The EPA used a FOIA exemption for “deliberative” information to withhold a report on formaldehyde’s cancer risks from the organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. A former EPA official has now said the report was in fact finalized. We previously obtained documents showing EPA employees’ reactions to the withheld report, with one scientist lamenting that it was “squashed like a bug.”
Part of Investigation: