Congressional Democrats Launch Probe Into Arizona 2020 Election Audit

Congressional Democrats Launch Probe Into Arizona 2020 Election Audit
Committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) gavels in a hearing of the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 7, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday launched a probe into Florida-based cybersecurity firm Cyber Ninjas, a private company hired by the Arizona Senate to oversee an independent full audit of ballots cast in Maricopa County, Arizona, in the 2020 election.

House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin, (D-Md.) said they are probing whether the company is working to “reverse the result of a free and fair election for partisan gain.”

In a letter (pdf) to the Cyber Ninja’s CEO Douglas Logan, the pair asked for documents related to the audit of Arizona’s most populous county, including information about how it is being funded. They are also asking for any and all communications between the cybersecurity firm and former President Donald Trump or his allies.

“Americans’ right to vote is protected by the Constitution and is the cornerstone of our democratic system of government,” Maloney and Raskin wrote.

“The Committee is seeking to determine whether the privately funded audit conducted by your company in Arizona protects the right to vote or is instead an effort to promote baseless conspiracy theories, undermine confidence in America’s elections, and reverse the result of a free and fair election for partisan gain,” they added.

The Democrats expressed concern over Cyber Ninjas’ participation in the audit, noting its “apparent lack of experience in conducting election-related audits,” citing press reports from CBS News, the Slate, and The Washington Post that the company engaged in “sloppy and insecure audit practices that compromised the integrity of ballots and voting equipment.”

One of the press reports had cited only the opinions of a local Democrat politician and a security expert, both of whom formed their conclusions based on a video prepared by a local news channel, as evidence for their comments about the audit. A judge ruled in April that the reports did not provide “substantive evidence of breaches or threatened breaches of voter privacy.”

Maloney and Raskin also referred to a number of additional press reports describing sloppy work practices and mismanagement by Cyber Ninjas, including that ultraviolet light that could potentially damage the ballots were use for inspection by contractors.

Such reports “raise serious questions about your ability to lead impartial work related to the election,” the lawmakers said.

“The Committee is particularly concerned that your company’s actions could undermine the integrity of federal elections and interfere with Americans’ constitutional right to cast their ballot freely and to have their votes counted without partisan interference,” they wrote.

Cyber Ninjas, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, and former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a Republican serving as the audit’s liaison, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Democrats asked Logan to hand over the requested information by July 28.

Logan told reporters in April that continuous livestreaming from cameras around Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the audit was taking place, helped provide accountability. Cameras above tables would capture everything taking place, he added.

A big part of the audit was a hand recount. That’s something “every American can understand,” Logan said.

“When we have all sorts of technology involved, who’s to say what’s running that tech, and how it messes with everything. But everyone can understand a sheet of paper and a count with it. And we want this audit to be something that every single American can believe in,” he said.

Fann, a Republican, has also defended the audit.

“I’m confident because it’s not just them,” she said this week, referring to the group of private companies being led by Cyber Ninjas in the audit. “Everybody keeps just counting on them, when actually, they are working with a number of other contractors that have experience in audits and in their expertise in their own fields … This is a joint effort.”

Fann previously told The Epoch Times that senators had been told by Cyber Ninjas that the auditors would report on the total cost of the operation after the audit is complete and that they would comply with federal reporting requirements.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
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