The controversial effort by Arizona’s GOP Senate to “audit” the 2020 election results from the state’s largest county has taken an even more shambolic turn.
The cyber contractor the Republicans hired to lead the audit was already under fire for his promotion of “Stop the Steal” conspiracy theories on his Twitter account. On Friday, it was revealed he had helped craft a document posted on Sidney Powell’s website detailing several bogus election fraud claims.
The auditor, Douglas Logan of the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas, defended the document in a statement provided to TPM by Senate President Karen Fann, who is leading the lawmakers’ charge towards the review.
Logan’s hand in writing the document was first reported by the Arizona Mirror, which found him listed as an author in the document’s metadata.
Among other things, the document — titled “Election Fraud Facts & Details” — made wild claims about the ties that a voting machine company, Dominion, allegedly had to “communist Venezuela” and Hugo Chavez. It said a Dominion exec had made “anti-USA, anti-police, anti-Trump and pro-Antifa” statements. It alleged other foreign countries, including Iran and China, were in a position to influence the U.S. election. And it referenced false claims by other Trump supporters of ballots being “run through the scanners multiple times.”
Many of the claims in the document have been debunked, while Dominion is pursuing defamation lawsuits against Powell and others who participated in the smear campaign against the company.
In the Logan statement provided by Fann (a TPM inquiry sent to Logan via the Cyber Ninja’s website went unanswered), Logan said that he had been asked to put together a document in January to address “national security” concerns for senators who were deciding whether to object to the election results during Congress’ certification of Biden’s win.
Logan claimed, in the statement via Fann, that all of his assertions were supported in documents contained in a Dropbox link on Powell’s site. That link no longer works. According to the Arizona Mirror, the link went dead after the outlet reached out to Logan for comment.
Logan said in the statement that he passed along the document to “a former NSA friend” who then gave it to Powell’s team. He wasn’t aware that it had been posted on Powell’s website, the statement said, but he didn’t “mind” that it was there.
“Some of it is based on my own research, but quite a bit is information I got from other people but personally vetted,” the statement from Logan said. “If anything in that document is proven inaccurate, I can probably ask that it be removed.”
A Senate-County Standoff
The fracas over Logan’s contributions to Powell’s disinfo campaign is only the latest controversy the audit effort has run into.
Maricopa County — the jurisdiction that Senate Republicans are targeting after it helped elect President Biden — has resisted the Senate’s audit because two independent audits have already found no issue with the county’s 2020 results.
When the legislature initially subpoenaed the county, its board of supervisors challenged it in court, noting those previous reviews and the other data it had been willing to share with the legislature. Though Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason ultimately upheld the subpoena, the county has said that it will not produce documents other than those requested in the subpoenas.
The chair of the board, Republican Jack Sellers, told Fann that Maricopa will not answer questions from Cyber Ninjas, according to a report by the Arizona Republic.
Additionally, there was a standoff over where to conduct the audit, as the 2.1 million ballots the auditors plan to hand recount will require a great deal of space. The county refused the Senate’s request to host the audit at a county facility.
The Senate is now finalizing the details for holding the audit at state fairgrounds in its Coliseum, Fann said in her email to TPM.
“The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors are still refusing any access to the building to save the taxpayers money by having to physically move everything,” she said. “Even more disturbing is their refusal to even answer simple questions regarding how the ballots are being stored or separated.”
Spokespeople for the county board did not respond to TPM’s inquiry. According to the Arizona Republic, the board’s Republican chair told lawmakers that the county will not communicate with the vendors the Senate has brought in, nor will it assist them in interpreting Arizona law. That stance stands to inhibit the auditors’ ability to complete the review in the 60 days the Senate has ordered for the audit.
Several state legislatures — cheered on by President Trump — pressured election officials to back his lies about election fraud in the 2020 contest. But the Arizona Senate’s insistence that they conduct another audit has shown a willingness to continue to try to cast doubt on Democrats’ victory in the state.
The Senate’s hiring of Logan — who will be coordinating the audit activities of several other firms tapped by the lawmakers — has bolstered accusations that the Senate is engaged in a sham process. Within hours of Fann’s announcement on March 31 that Cyber Ninjas would lead three other firms in conducting the audit, reporters in Arizona dug up Logan’s since-deleted Twitter account showing a steady diet of election-related misinformation.
After Election Day, he posted with growing frequency about supposed election fraud, frequently sharing articles boosting the work of Powell, Lin Wood, and the former 8chan administrator and prominent QAnon conspiracy theory figure Ron Watkins.
A couple weeks after Election Day, Logan shared a particularly fringe theory about what had happened post-election — namely, that vote-counting servers in Germany had been “grabbed” by “good guys” and that the truth would soon be known to all.
“This is huge!” Logan wrote above a post from Wood about a lawsuit he was pursuing. “Just as huge is the interview that is buried in this Tweet! The Dominion servers in Germany WERE grabbed by ‘the good guys’ in Germany… and the Trump Staffer says to expect more announcements soon!”
Logan ended the tweet with a hashtag: “#truthiscoming.”