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Arizona Vote Review Being Financed by Trump Supporters

Arizona Vote Review Being Financed by Trump Supporters
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Arizona Vote Review Being Financed by Trump Supporters

Arizona Vote Review Being Financed by Trump Supporters

A review of the 2020 election ballots cast in Arizona’s largest county, billed as strictly non-partisan when Republicans in the Arizona State Senate ordered it at the end of the year latest, was funded almost entirely by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, according to a statement released late Wednesday by the private cabinet overseeing the review.

The company, Cyber ​​Ninjas, said it raised more than $ 5.7 million from five pro-Trump organizations for the widely maligned review, in addition to the $ 150,000 the State Senate allocated to the project. An Arizona county court had ordered the release of audit funding sources after Senate Republicans refused to release them to the public.

Examining 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and about 80% of the state’s population, only covered votes last November for the president and both state seats in the United States Senate, all won by the Democrats. State Senate President Karen Fann said this week that the results of the audit are expected to be released next month.

Ms Fann and other senators said the recount, the findings of which have no authority to change race winners, was necessary to reassure Mr Trump’s supporters that the vote was fair. . But the effort has come under increasing attack following revelations that Cyber ​​Ninjas’ chief executive and other alleged experts involved in the review have links to the ‘stop the fly’ movement. spawned by Mr. Trump’s baseless allegations of electoral fraud.

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Election experts called the recount amateurish and mistakes, and ridiculed its efforts to verify conspiracy theorists’ claims that fake ballots could be identified by traces of bamboo fibers or invisible watermarks. A Republican senator withdrew his support for the effort in May, calling it an embarrassment, and a second senator accused Ms Fann last week of mismanaging the process, and said it couldn’t be trusted to its results.

Since the review began in April, it was evident that Mr. Trump’s supporters were donating money to the effort and recruiting volunteers to work on it. But the sources and the amount of the donations were not disclosed until Wednesday.

According to Cyber ​​Ninjas’ statement, the largest donation, $ 3.25 million, was made by a newly formed group, America Project, led by Patrick M. Byrne, the former chief executive of the Overstock.com website and a prominent supporter of false claims that the November election was rigged.

Mr Byrne resigned his post at Overstock in 2019 after it was revealed he had an intimate relationship with Maria Butina, a gun rights activist who was jailed in 2018 as a foreign agent not registered for Russia and later expelled. He later said he contributed $ 500,000 to Arizona magazine and produced a movie starring Cyber ​​Ninjas CEO Doug Logan who alleged the November election was fraudulent.

The statement said another pro-Trump group, America’s Future, contributed $ 976,514 to the review. An additional $ 605,000 came from Voices and Votes, a group organized by Christina Bobb, presenter of the pro-Trump One America News broadcaster, who solicited donations for the magazine while covering it.

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