Syndication: Arizona Republic

Cyber Ninjas attorney Bryan Blehm moves a pallet of ballots, July 19, 2021, in the Wesley Bolin Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, Phoenix, Arizona. Audit 7960136002

PHOENIX — Groups linked to Donald Trump and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election have put more than $5.6 million into the audit run by a man who himself has touted some of the same rhetoric.

But it’s unlikely that Arizonans ever will find out who is really behind all that cash.

Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan disclosed he has taken in more than $5.7 million. That’s on top of the $150,000 contract he has with the Senate to conduct the review of the results of the general election in Maricopa County and see if Joe Biden really outpolled Donald Trump.

And the lion’s share of that, about $3.25 million, came from The America Project, set up by millionaire Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of “overstock.com.’’ And Byrne already has said he believes what happened was “a fraudulent election.’’

As to who is behind all that money, there’s no legal way to find out.

The America Project is set up under the Internal Revenue Code as a 501(c)(4) as a “social welfare organization.’’ And that precludes it from having to disclose the actual donors.

Rod Thompson, who handles media for Logan and Cyber Ninjas, said there would be no further details released.

America’s Future put in another more than $976,000.

The chairman of the board is Michael Flynn who served as Trump’s national security adviser who was pardoned by Trump after twice pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with a Russian diplomat. And its president is Ed Martin who, along with Phyllis Schlafly and Brett Decker, wrote “The Conservative Case for Trump.’’

Its web site describes the organization as “the nation’s leader in the fight to preserve American values and ideals, protect the nation’s constitutional republic, promote strong American families, revitalize the role of faith in our society, and advance the virtues of free market capitalism.’’

There also was $605,000 from Voices and Votes, headed by Christina Bobb who used her position as a host on the Trump-oriented One America News Network to both say she was covering the audit as well as raise money for it.

Other funds include $550,000 from Defending the Republic, a group headed by Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and $280,000 from Election Integrity Fund for the American Republic, a group set up specifically to generate cash for the Arizona audit that is run by Michigan attorney Matt DePerno who was accused of spreading misinformation in his state about election fraud.

All of these groups also are set up under federal tax law to allow them to shield the identity of the true donors.

Thompson said he cannot say how that $5.7 million -- plus the $150,000 in taxpayer dollars -- compares with the actual cost, as the audit is not yet over. There apparently is nothing that precludes the dollars from being funneled personally to Logan or to pro-Trump causes.

Senate President Karen Fann said Logan’s list fulfills a promise he made to disclose the source of outside funds which he and others have been soliciting.

But the Prescott Republican said she is not disturbed by the failure of any of the organizations to break down the individual contributors. And she told Capitol Media Services she will not ask for that.

“If I ask them for that, then should I ask for names of those to contribute to anti-abortion organizations?’’ Fann asked. She said that’s why the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that certain contributions should be protected under the First Amendment.

That relates to a 1958 ruling where Alabama sought to block the NAACP from operating in that state because it would not provide various records, including membership lists. The justices rule that the demand for the list was unconstitutional.

Fann said that makes sense.

“Caucasians were being threatened by the Ku Klux Klan when they stood up for African Americans with political contributions,’’ she said.

Fann has defended having virtually the entire cost of the audit, which she has declared to be an official government function, paid by outsiders, including those who she does not know.

But that decision also comes on the heels of lawmakers voting to make it a crime for any outside group to provide money to state or local entities to help run elections or conduct voter registration efforts.

That followed the disclosure that nine Arizona counties got more than $6 million last year from the Center for Tech and Civic Life. Jennifer Marson, executive director of the Arizona Association of Counties, said that helped defray some of the costs of running an election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republicans in the legislature, however, noted that the $400 million CTCL gave out came from Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. And Aimee Yentes, a lobbyist for the Arizona Free Enterprise Club which tends to support GOP causes, said Zuckerberg is a known liberal, accusing him of curating content, filtering conservative messages and banning individuals with opposing political opinions.

Fann said the audit is costing far more than anticipated, blaming at least some of that on what she said has been the lack of cooperation by Maricopa County. That included a series of legal battles over what, if anything, the Senate is entitled to have, battles that so far have largely gone the Senate’s way.

She also said there were unanticipated costs, like having to rent space in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and obtain 24-hour security. Fann said that would not have been necessary had the county allowed Cyber Ninjas to conduct its review at county election offices.

And a new legal battle may be in the works, with Fann having issued new subpoenas not only to the county but to Dominion Voting Systems which provides the leased election equipment to the county. Among the things Fann wants for Cyber Ninjas are passwords, security keys and other information necessary to access the programming in the equipment.

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(22) comments

hvnfun

Too funny, 11 close associates of trump indicted, many convicted, trump indicted of numerous crimes, yet the trumpers worry about Hunter Biden and the Biden family.

Deplorable Neanderthal

What’s sad is you want to ignore the Biden’s corruption.

rgolson

There’s another important point to be made here. It has nothing to be with where the money came from. That point is who gets the money.

Let’s be kind and assume that people donated money for running an audit because they knew there would be expenses and truly were convinced an audit was necessary. (Set aside for a moment the complex discussion of other motives for conducting the audit and the issue of why a sane legislative body would decide to do this audit with these actors in the first place.)

If more than $5.6 was raised to run the audit, then where does the State of Arizona send the bill for repair or replacement or decontamination of voting machine for Maricopa County. This huge cost was or will be incurred solely as a result of the running audit—the stated purpose for donated money. Returning voting machines that can be trusted is an expense that should be covered by the donated money not from taxpayer money.

And, of course, a lawsuit would follow. Destruction of state property? Tampering with state property? Interfering with a (future) election? Once you travel down a wrong path, multiple problems follow. Taxpayers would need to depend on this legislature to recoup the losses. On this path lies a vicious circle.

(“Things bad begun make worse themselves by ill.” Did no one in this state read Macbeth?)

1502

China sitting back and working hard to be the most powerful nation i the world. They watch Americans tear the country apart. They see spoiled Americans! The greatest generation is gone and now we a country full of complainers and that are lazy. Sad

simon1dog

1502 - [thumbup]

Deplorable Neanderthal

Over 300,000 have signed a petition from one of Washington’s top watchdogs demanding that a special counsel be appointed to investigate allegations that President Joe Biden and family members, notably budding artist and son Hunter Biden, have profited off public service.

Judicial Watch, which has documented Hunter Biden’s travels on Air Force One and Air Force Two, said that 309,229 have signed its petition posted on Change.org, the latest indication that, at least among conservatives, questions about Biden and his father allegedly profiting in China and Ukraine won’t go away.

Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president, said, “There is plenty of substantial evidence, from documents and witness statements, that the Biden family, including President Joe Biden, may have been involved in criminal activity involving, among other issues, foreign entities tied to Ukraine and China.”

He added, “Hunter has acknowledged that he is the target of an FBI criminal investigation, and he's on to his next corrupt enterprise — secretly selling his ‘ink blow’ paintings, in a scheme concocted by the Biden White House. A special counsel needs to be appointed immediately because the Biden Justice Department is conflicted in investigating any matter that could implicate President Biden or his immediate family.”

Hunter Biden could get as much as $500,000 for the paintings. The White House has said the buyers will be kept anonymous, a plan many have mocked.

Fitton is hopeful that the large number of petition signers will prompt GOP congressional leaders to push House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to call for a special counsel.

“Please help us spread the word as a special counsel should be appointed immediately to investigate the Biden family's dealings in China, Ukraine, etc.!” Fitton said in a petition update.

In documents made public, Judicial Watch said it has shown that promises of a “wall” being built between Joe Biden and his son were untrue.

The petition could be key to drawing media attention to the allegations, which the press has largely ignored. In fact, when the New York Post publicized some of the allegations, they were kicked off Facebook and Twitter

BigBob

dn - [thumbdown][spam][offtopic][censored][thumbdown]

Deplorable Neanderthal

Why is the corrupt Biden Administration hiding information relatedto who is buying Hunter’s third grade art work? The Biden family is uber corrupt!

BigBob

dn - [thumbdown][offtopic][spam][ban][censored][thumbdown]

1502

Trump typical lied again. Trump go back to selling timeshares. Con man trump

simon1dog

We don't care what the justice department says. Means nothing under this administration.

BigBob

simple - [thumbdown]Proof?[spam][censored][thumbdown]

BigBob

The Justice Department has issued guidance on voting rights and on the pitfalls of post-election audits, reminders that were sent to all states but clearly aimed at Arizona and its fraudit of Maricopa County elections.

The two statements follow months of warnings from the department raising concerns about the security of the more than 2 million ballots that were handed over to a private firm for review and its plans to go door-to-door to question voters.

While the department’s guidance cited states’ rights to conduct elections, it also laid out controlling federal law, and Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a prepared statement that “where violations of such laws occur, the Justice Department will not hesitate to act.” A department official said the guidance – which put “audits” in quotes, as many critics of the state’s review have done – released Wednesday was aimed at keeping other states from repeating the concerns that have been raised to Arizona.

“I think the reason we’re issuing this as guidance is to tell jurisdictions generally that we are concerned that if they’re going to conduct these so-called audits, they have to comply with federal law,” said a department official, speaking on background Wednesday. “And warning them that they can’t conduct these audits in a way this is going to intimidate voters.”

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a sharp critic of the election review, welcomed the Justice Department’s latest move. “I have been raising concerns to the Department of Justice Civil Rights division about the audit in Arizona since the start of this fiasco,” Hobbs said in a statement Wednesday. “Many of the concerns I shared with the Department of Justice months ago were related to federal laws regarding the preservation of ballots and equipment.”

In a Washington Post editorial in June, Hobbs called the “audit” by Cyber Ninjas “an absurd spectacle” aimed not at instilling confidence in the election but in digging up “nonexistent evidence” and spreading wild conspiracy theories to support the “big lie” that a twice impeached loser won the election.

The Justice Department wrote Fann on May 5 to express “concerns regarding at least two issues of potential non-compliance with federal laws enforced by the Department” in relation to the ongoing election audit. Wednesday’s guidance was a follow-up to that letter, a Justice official said. “We sent a letter earlier this spring to Arizona, indicating concerns that we had there with Arizona’s plan to have a private company go door-to-door in certain neighborhoods to ask voters if they cast their ballots or not,” the official said on background. “We just reminded them that federal law prohibits engaging in actions that are likely to deter voters from voting in the future. Where election records are no longer under the control of elections officials, this can lead to a significant risk of the records being lost, stolen, altered, compromised or destroyed,” the document said. “This risk is exacerbated if the election records are given to private actors who have neither experience nor expertise in handling such records and who are unfamiliar with the obligations imposed by federal law.”

hruns100s

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BigBob

Several Twitter accounts related to the Arizona Senate’s review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County were permanently suspended by Twitter. The official Twitter account of the so-called fraudit and a semi-official account dubbed the “Audit War Room” were permanently suspended by the social media giant Tuesday, as were multiple other accounts related to election reviews in other states. Some organizations that were raising money to fund the efforts also were removed from Twitter. Twitter said the accounts were suspended for violating rules on platform manipulation and spam, according to a statement from the company.

The Audit War Room is still on Instagram and has posted about the suspensions there, imploring followers to move to the encrypted messaging app Telegram or the right-wing social media site GETTR. That account, which has been combative toward journalists and critics — this month, it mocked a constituent whose dog had recently died — was the subject of intense scrutiny by many on Twitter and in the political sphere.

It is unknown who was behind the account or the five other “War Room” accounts tied to proposed ballot reviews in other states that were suspended by Twitter. Social media accounts related to fundraising efforts for the fraudit also were permanently suspended by Twitter for platform manipulation and spam.

The Twitter account for Voices and Votes, a 501(c)(4) created by the host of a Pro-Trump cable news network that has repeatedly spread false claims about the election in Arizona and across the country, was also permanently suspended. One America News Network’s Christina Bobb launched Voices & Votes which has raised at least $150,000 for the “fraudit.” Bobb routinely tweets about the fundraising effort and mentions her non-profit on her show, urging supporters to donate. Bobb has been given exclusive access to the ballot review site that other local and national news organizations have not been granted.

Another group raising money for the “fraudit” that claims to have raised over $2 million has also been suspended, though it is unclear if the account was suspended for the same reason. Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. Fund The Audit had a goal of raising $2.8 million. The organization was created by The America Project, a Florida-based 501(c)(4) non-profit started by former Overstock.com CEO and ardent Trump ally Patrick Byrne. Byrne’s Telegram channel is full of conspiracy theories about the election, and he often shares information from other prominent pro-Trump figures that includes baseless allegations about election fraud. Some of those people, like Jovan Pulitzer, are also a part of Arizona’s fraudit.

Byrne has been a leading voice in 2020 election fraud claims and has railed against the so-called “deep state”. Some of his claims came after it was revealed he had an affair with accused Russian spy Maria Butina, which he claimed the FBI encouraged him to do.

Too old for this

Typical copy and paste from unnamed sources that cannot be verified. You may well need to change your diaper. It may be full of shiat!

BigBob

twosie - [thumbdown][spam][censored][ban][thumbdown]

Johnny

Too old for this , I like the way you think! I moved from Calif. to get away from the people like Big Bob, keep up the good work.

BigBob

lil john - [thumbdown][spam][ban][thumbdown]

simon1dog

Johnny - [thumbup]

hruns100s

[thumbup]

NorthLong

Oh look, another [thumbup] queen.

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