Records Previously Held by Cyber Ninjas Reveal New Details About Arizona ‘Audit’ Payments

On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate released records related to its partisan election “audit” that had been previously held by lead contractor Cyber Ninjas.

The records, released in response to American Oversight’s litigation, include payment details and invoices from individuals and firms that subcontracted with Cyber Ninjas and further demonstrate the partisan operation’s enormous cost. Phoenix Newspapers Inc., the parent company of the Arizona Republic, also filed a lawsuit over similar public records requests; that lawsuit was consolidated with American Oversight’s in January.

According to a payment spreadsheet included in the records, between the beginning of April and the end of July 2021, Cyber Ninjas paid nearly $4 million to the firm StratTech, which took over for Wake TSI in leading the hand count of ballots.

Several of the invoices are for amounts in the hundreds of thousands. The payment spreadsheet shows $130,000 having been paid to CyFir, a digital security firm tasked with reviewing election data, but a May 26 invoice from the company lists an amount of $755,248.78 for its employees’ work, with $187,312.50 of that just for its founder, Ben Cotton. Other payments included $210,000 to election conspiracy theorist Jovan Pulitzer, an amount that Pulitzer said was a “deep discounting,” according to records we obtained and published last week.

The Arizona Senate last spring authorized $150,000 in public funding for the “audit.” Other records obtained by American Oversight in the fall revealed that the cost to Cyber Ninjas had ballooned to nearly $9 million by September, much of that from work by subcontractors.

Nearly $6 million was raised for the “audit” by Trump allies and Big Lie activists; the records obtained this week include some details about funds provided to Cyber Ninjas by the group The America Project. In November, Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan said that the “audit” had left him in debt; in January, he said he was closing the company.