After teasing a potential August release of a final report on findings from the Arizona Senate’s partisan election “audit,” officials involved in the sham process said they still needed more information before they could complete it.
That announcement came during a Senate hearing last week, an event that accomplished two things: It provided an excuse for more time — more time for speculation and growing mistrust in democracy — and it provided new unfounded claims for supporters of the “big lie” to circulate, the most notable being the false claim that there were thousands of extra mail-in ballots sent to Maricopa County. (Here’s why that claim, and other allegations from the hearing, are not true.)
Of course, no matter when those “findings” are released, we have already uncovered enough about the ballot review’s biased origins and conspiracy-based justifications to know that those findings will be lacking in any credibility. This Thursday, American Oversight published a report, based on hundreds of pages of documents we obtained as well as public reporting, outlining how the “audit” has already been compromised:
As the report says, the true results of the “audit” can already be seen in multiple ways. For one, there are the attempts by sympathizers in other states to initiate their own illegitimately partisan election reviews:
The true results of the “audit” are also apparent in the flurry of new voting restrictions being passed and proposed across the country, in the increasing number of threats to election workers, and in the perpetuation of the “big lie” that threatens to undermine our democracy. Some recent headlines:
More transparency about the Arizona Senate’s bogus election review is coming, through American Oversight’s ongoing requests and litigation for records. We’ll provide updates in these newsletters — share this sign-up link with others.
American Oversight recently obtained emails revealing that in the months before and after the 2020 election, appointees at the Election Assistance Commission, the federal agency tasked with helping states administer secure elections, communicated with activists and groups dedicated to restricting voting access. The records include emails from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a network with a history of promoting restrictive voting measures, and messages that provide information about an “Election Law Working Group” convened by the Heritage Foundation.
Records from the Justice Department reveal that late last spring, as the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests, top officials circulated materials related to invoking the Insurrection Act, a law that allows the president to deploy federal troops within the U.S. to respond to certain circumstances. We’ve been investigating the Trump administration’s authoritarian response to protests last year; read more about what we’ve found here and here.
On Tuesday, Tom Barrack, an associate of former President Trump who served as chair of Trump’s inauguration committee, was charged with illegally lobbying the former president on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. In 2018, we uncovered then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s calendars, which included an April 2017 meeting set up by Barrack with ambassadors from the UAE and other Persian Gulf states.
On Oct. 5 last year, Trump tweeted a video of himself, maskless, marking his return to the White House after being hospitalized for Covid-19. We obtained records from the Department of Homeland Security that show that Secret Service officers were that day ordered to wear N-95 masks and eye protection, “No exceptions.” Last month, it was reported that about 900 Secret Service employees were infected with the coronavirus in the prior year; previously, the agency told us that it had no records of assessments of the effect of Trump’s frequent travel on the spread of the virus among officers.
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