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Senate asks Cyber Ninjas for ‘audit’ documents after Supreme Court rejection

By: - September 15, 2021 2:22 pm
election audit

A box of Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are delivered to be examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate Photo by Rob Schumacher | Arizona Republic/pool

Senate President Karen Fann has asked Cyber Ninjas to provide her with all documents in the company’s possession that are related to the review it led of the 2020 general election in Maricopa County.

In a letter to Cyber Ninjas on Tuesday, Fann, R-Prescott, asked the company to immediately provide records it and its subcontractors possess “with a substantial nexus to the audit.” 

That includes, “without limitation,” all documents and communications related to the planning, performance and execution of the so-called audit, all policies and procedures used for the audit, documents pertaining to funding and staffing, “and all records that are reasonably necessary or appropriate to maintain an accurate knowledge of activities concerning the 2020 Maricopa County election audit.”

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Fann’s request came shortly after the Arizona Supreme Court declined to accept her appeal of a lower court ruling that audit-related documents and communications possessed by Cyber Ninjas and other subcontractors constitute public records. The Senate president’s attorneys argued that the documents weren’t public records because they weren’t in the Senate’s possession, but a trial court judge and the Arizona Court of Appeals concluded that any documents that have a “substantial nexus” with government business are public records, regardless of who holds them.

The lawsuit was brought by American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group that requested communications between contractors and audit employees, payment and funding records, and any contracts or agreements with outside groups that helped fund the “audit.”

Mike Philipsen, a spokesman for Fann, said the Senate president has not yet received a reply from Cyber Ninjas. Part of the contract that the company signed with the Senate to lead the “audit” requires Cybern Ninjas to surrender all documents and records needed to settle litigation.

Attorney Roopali Desai, who represents American Oversight, said she’s been told the records will be available “soon.”

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Associate Editor Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. 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.”

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