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Watchdog group sues for Arizona Senate election audit records

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results. (AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)

PHOENIX — A government watchdog group is suing the Arizona Senate seeking access to records related to the Senate Republicans’ audit of 2020 election results in Maricopa County.

Washington-based American Oversight filed the suit in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday. It says the Senate is violating Arizona’s public records law by failing to turn over audit records.

The watchdog group says it’s seeking a variety of records including communications of Senate audit liaison Ken Bennett and the audit’s budget and funders.

Attorney Roopali Desai says in a statement that the Senate can’t get around public records laws by hiring a private firm to perform government functions.

A Senate GOP spokesman did not immediately comment.

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