Maricopa County audit deal with Senate a ‘business decision,’ supervisor says

Sep 20, 2021, 12:07 PM | Updated: 12:09 pm
Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates speaks during a May 17 press conference with other county off...
Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates speaks during a May 17 press conference with other county officials.(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)
(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — The deal Maricopa County worked out with the Arizona Senate over router access related to the audit of the 2020 election was a “business decision,” according to one supervisor.

Bill Gates said Monday the agreement helped alleviate the county’s concerns over its ability to function after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said last month Maricopa County must comply with the Senate subpoena or lose millions in state funding.

The county would have lost about $700 million in yearly state funding under Brnovich’s ruling had it not reached the deal.

Under the agreement, a special master will take questions from the Senate’s election review contractors and provide them information they say they need to finish the review.

Maricopa County also agreed to drop a $2.8 million claim it filed with the Senate after election equipment it handed over to the auditors was decertified and needed to be replaced.

“So if we don’t turn over the routers, we lose so much money that it shuts the county down. Or if we do turn the routers over, then that exposes sensitive information,” Gates told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show. “And also, they put the county out of operation without those routers for probably months.

“So we made a business decision that it was better to waive the $2.8 million claim we had against the state Senate than to basically put the county out of operation.”

Senate President Karen Fann called the agreement a “huge win” even though Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based lead contractor of the audit, won’t get direct access to the routers. And the deal is final, Gates said.

“This is no time for renegotiation,” Gates said. “I want to be very clear about that for people who are hearing different stories about what this agreement says.”

Former Congressman John Shadegg, a Republican, will serve as the special master and field questions from Cyber Ninjas, which had no prior election review or auditing experience.

Results of the audit, which started about five months ago, are expected to be released Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Maricopa County audit deal with Senate a ‘business decision,’ supervisor says