Arizona lobbyist says Stephanie Grisham told her election fraud claims were bogus

By: - September 15, 2021 4:05 pm
Stephanie Grisham

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham is seen during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House July 9, 2019. Photo by Alex Wong | Getty Images

A prominent Arizona lobbyist said former White House press secretary and veteran Arizona politico Stephanie Grisham told her that the fraud rumors that gained traction after the 2020 election were false.

POLITICO Playbook reported Wednesday that lobbyist Gretchen Jacobs texted Grisham on Dec. 12, a little more than a month after the election, to ask about whether presidential electors could be withheld to deny certification of President Joe Biden’s win. And Jacobs said that Senate President Karen Fann, who was preparing to launch a review of the election results in Maricopa County, told her proof of fraud would be a “game-changer.” 

Jacobs also asked whether Grisham could help raise $104,000 to hire a consultant who could look for evidence of fraud, the article reported. 

According to the article, Grisham forwarded the text to a Donald Trump campaign aide to ask if he had any thoughts. In her upcoming book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in The Trump White House,” Grisham says she rejected the fraud claims and tried to convince former First Lady Melania Trump, whom she served as chief of staff, to say that the election wasn’t rigged.

Jacobs told the Arizona Mirror that Grisham responded to her texts by calling her the next day and explaining that the fraud allegations were bogus.

“Hearing it from her was a great reality check,” Jacobs said. “Stephanie, to her credit and to my benefit, said, ‘I promise you, that’s bogus. I promise you. Just drop it. Don’t waste anyone’s time or money.’”

Jacobs said Fann also did not believe there was any evidence of election fraud. 

“She was (saying), ‘People need to leave me alone unless there’s demonstrable fraud proven.’ It was exactly the opposite,” Jacobs said. “She said there are a lot of rumors.”

The text exchange between Grisham and Jacobs came just a few days before Fann and the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to Maricopa County for ballots, tabulation machines, voting records and a plethora of other information for use in a self-styled audit of the election. The audit quickly became a cause célèbre among proponents of the false allegations that the election was rigged against Trump in Arizona and several other swing states that Biden won.

Despite her work with the controversial “audit,” which was ordered in response to the bogus fraud claims and conducted by outspoken supporters of election fraud conspiracy theories, Fann has never said she believes the election was affected by fraud. She reiterated that to the Mirror on Wednesday.

“Never have I said there was fraud. I have been asked hundreds of times about what it would take to ‘decertify’ the election. I have always said it would take solid proof (through) the courts to show the actual vote counts were different than what was certified and it would have to be of the magnitude that the number of invalid votes would have made a difference (in) the outcome,” Fann said via text message.

Grisham could not be reached for comment, but friend and former colleague Brett Mecum said she forwarded Jacobs’ query about raising money for someone to investigate the fraud claims as a favor, and likened it to “passing along the note.” Mecum said Grisham has never believed the election fraud claims that became widespread among many Trump supporters after the election. 

Grisham got her political start in Arizona, working for the state’s AAA chapter and for the Arizona Charter Schools Association before becoming then-Attorney General Tom Horne’s spokeswoman in 2013 and serving as former House Speaker David Gowan’s spokeswoman in 2015 and 2016. She began working for the Trump campaign and joined the administration after he won the 2016 election, serving both the president and first lady, and eventually rising to the position of White House press secretary. She resigned from the position in 2020 and rejoined the First Lady as chief of staff.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”