The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday denied an attempt by the Republican-led state Senate to evade compliance with requests for public documents regarding its audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County.
The court refused to overturn lower court rulings asserting the Senate’s responsibility under state law to provide the requested documents and ordering the documents to be released to the left-wing watch group American Oversight. Tuesday’s ruling also dissolved an Aug. 24 stay by the High Court that suspended enforcement of the order requiring the release of records.
American Oversight sued the State Senate and Republican Senate Speaker Karen Fann in May, demanding access to communications and other documents between the Senate and Cyber Ninjas, the prime contractor overseeing the audit. controversial.
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Senate attorneys argued that these documents, which included information about donors who funded the audit, are not subject to public disclosure rules because Cyber Ninjas, a private company, owns them, as well as ‘other subcontractors.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp rejected the Senate’s arguments and ordered it on August 3 to produce documents relating to its audit.
Fann said at the time that the Senate had “already complied with [records] demands required by law between the government and the entities with which we do business ”, adding:“ We cannot produce documents that we have not and never had in possession. “
The Senate appealed against Kemp’s decision.
A three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals then unanimously dismissed the Senate’s appeal, ordering release of the records.
“There is no doubt that the audit is conducted with public funds and that Cyber Ninjas and its sub-sellers are agents of the Senate,” the court wrote. “In this case, the Senate did not assert any exemptions which, if properly recognized, shirk the responsibility of informing the public of activities relating to the audit.”
Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, welcomed Tuesday’s decision, saying Arizona residents “can expect much needed transparency.”
“The Arizona Senate’s legal maneuvers to conceal these files from the public are consistent with the scandal of their so-called audit. This ends today, “Evers said in a statement.
The Washington Examiner has contacted Fann for comment.
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The court order comes days after the announcement that the audit team expects to submit a draft full report on its findings to the Senate as early as this week after weeks of delay.
For months, state and local officials on both sides have defended Maricopa County against claims by former President Donald Trump and sympathetic Republicans that its election results were fraudulent. In August, Republican Maricopa supervisor Jack Sellers called the magazine “a never-before-seen adventure,” while Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs insisted it was a “political coup”.
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Key words: News, Arizona, State Legislatures, Elections 2020, State Courts
Original author: Jeremy Beaman
Original location: Arizona Supreme Court dismisses state Senate appeal to avoid disclosure of election audit records