ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona GOP Senate leaders fire back after Maricopa County defies subpoena

Aug 3, 2021, 2:02 PM | Updated: 2:54 pm
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen conduct...
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen conduct a hearing about the Maricopa election audit on July 15, 2021. (Arizona Capitol TV Screenshot)
(Arizona Capitol TV Screenshot)

PHOENIX – Arizona Senate Republican leaders fired back Tuesday at Maricopa County officials who a day earlier defied the lawmakers’ subpoena for election-related materials.

Senate President Karen Fann implied that the GOP-led governing board of Arizona’s largest county was falling into a trap.

“Build the case, set the trap, and boom the Maricopa lies will come back to haunt them,” she said in a tweet.

Fann’s social media post had a different tone than her statement released Monday via the Senate Republicans’ communications office.

“We are weighing our options for securing access to the routers and passwords and will make a thoughtful decision in due course after conferring with my staff, counsel and colleagues,” the statement said.

“We remain committed to ensuring election integrity as voter confidence is at the heart of what we set out to achieve in this endeavor. Our constituents deserve no less.”

Fann has previously stated that the aim of the audit she ordered is to restore faith in the election system and find ways to improve Arizona’s voting laws, not to reverse the 2020 result of President Joe Biden’s narrow victory over Donald Trump in Maricopa County and statewide.

However, many Trump supporters still see it as a step toward somehow invalidating the election and returning the former president to office.

In another GOP salvo Tuesday, Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli called on Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2022, to get involved in the intraparty dispute that has festered over the course of the audit.

“Today I submitted a request for the Arizona attorney general to investigate the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for their failure to comply with subpoenas from the state Senate,” Borrelli said in a statement.

“The supervisors are acting as if they are above the law, and it is an insult to the citizens of our state.”

Brnovich’s office told KTAR News 92.3 FM it had received Borrelli’s request and was reviewing it.

On Monday, the Board of Supervisors responded defiantly to the subpoena issued a week earlier by Fann and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen.

The July 26 subpoena gave the county one week to hand over network routers and traffic logs, envelopes from all mail-in ballots or images of them, certain voter registration records with change histories, and records related security breaches.

The county didn’t reject every subpoena request but made it clear the routers – which are used by multiple departments, including the sheriff’s office — were off limits because turning them over would be a major disruption to government operations and a security risk.

“The board has real work to do and little time to entertain this adventure in never-never land. Please finish whatever it is that you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release,” Chairman Jack Sellers, one of four Republicans on the five-member Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, wrote in a letter accompanying Monday’s response to the subpoena.

The county also argued that the subpoena wasn’t even lawful because it was issued while the Senate was adjourned, among other reasons.

Cyber Ninjas and the other contractors Fann hired to conduct the election review said they need the requested materials to complete their final audit report. The contractors completed their hands-on work last week and returned the ballots and other remaining items to the county.

The report is expected to come out later this month, although the process has continued beyond every previous timeline.

The county says it complied with all legislative subpoenas to the extent it can legally and securely, giving the contractors all the information they need to complete their work.

“The reason you haven’t finished your ‘audit’ is because you hired people who have no experience and little understanding of how professional elections are run,” Sellers wrote.

Borrelli defended Fann and called for the Board of Supervisors to be more respectful.

“President Fann has handled this process professionally and she has tried to be diplomatic while dealing with the attacks and insults from the board,” Borelli said.

“Enough is enough! The level of disrespect and contempt from the supervisors toward Senate leadership and Arizona voters is appalling.”

Last week, Supervisor Bill Gates told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show that it would be up to the Senate to initiate legal proceedings over enforcement of the subpoena. It’s unclear what more the Senate can do at this point.

“Release your report and be prepared to defend any accusations of misdeeds in court,” Sellers wrote. “It’s time to move on.”

Last week, Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan revealed that prominent supporters of Trump’s movement to cast doubt on the 2020 results raised about $5.6 million from unknown donors to cover audit costs. The Senate’s deal with Cyber Ninjas was for just $150,000 plus select expenses.

Logan released the fundraising information to comply with a request from the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Fann initially authorized the audit, which started in April, after winning a legal battle with the county over access to voting equipment and about 2.1 million ballots from the November election.

Before the judge ruled in the Fann’s favor in February, the Senate failed in an effort to hold the county supervisors in contempt over their lack of compliance, which could have landed them behind bars.

Sen. Paul Boyer was the sole Republican to vote against the contempt resolution, joining the Senate’s 14 Democrats and creating a 15-15 tie.

Another contempt effort seems unlikely to succeed because not only is the Legislature out of session, but at least one other GOP senator, Michelle Ugenti-Rita, has joined Boyer in publicly denouncing the audit proceedings.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

FILE - Migrants, many from Haiti, wade across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, to return to Ciud...
Associated Press

Anxiety grows that Biden administration can’t find balance on immigration

A year into Biden’s presidency, there is growing concern among some in the party that the administration can’t find balance on immigration.
22 hours ago
(File photo by Jenna Miller/Cronkite News)...
Ulysse Bex | Cronkite News

Arizona jobless rate continues steady decline, workforce keeps growing

Arizona’s unemployment rate continued its steady decline in October, falling to 5.2%, down a full percentage point from two months earlier.
22 hours ago
(ADOT Photo)...
Associated Press

1 person dead in wrong-way crash involving 4 vehicles in Phoenix

A wrong-way collision on a Phoenix freeway early Saturday involved four vehicles and killed the wrong-way driver..
22 hours ago
(Airbnb photo)...
Tom Kuebel

Airbnb names Phoenix family as top new hosts in Arizona

Owners of a Charming Coronado Casita with 123 ratings in its first year were named as the top new Airbnb hosts in Arizona.
22 hours ago
FILE - A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children's hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, ...
KTAR.com

Arizona reports 3,655 new COVID-19 cases, 47 deaths on Saturday

Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 3,655 new COVID-19 cases and 47 deaths.
22 hours ago
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

In need of Gmail storage space cleanup tips? Here are a few to get you started

If you haven’t done much in the past to keep the clutter from building up in your Gmail account, there are a number of places where you can free up valuable storage space.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
...
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Arizona GOP Senate leaders fire back after Maricopa County defies subpoena