Saturday, September 24, 2022 9:22 am

Judge rules audit policies, procedures open to public

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

Arizonans are entitled to see the policies and procedures being used in the Senate’s audit of the 2020 election returns, a judge has ruled.

At a hearing Wednesday, attorney Kory Langhofer who represents the Senate, argued there are constitutional provisions that protect lawmakers from being sued. He argued these extend to work being done on behalf of the Senate by Cyber Ninjas, the private firm hired by Senate President Karen Fann to conduct the review.

And Langhofer said even if there are questions about how the audit is being conducted there’s no need for judicial intervention

“The legislature can be trusted to handle its affairs responsibly,” he told c. “We have to trust the legislature will act responsibly.”

Martin, however, said there’s no legal basis for those arguments.

He said one constitutional provision cited by Langhofer does protect lawmakers from “civil process” — having to be hauled into court — during the legislative session. But that, said Martin, does not extend to others, even if they are working under contract for the Senate.  

There is another clause that spells out that no member of the legislature can be liable in any civil or criminal prosecution for words spoken in debate. And Martin said that might even apply to communications between lawmakers and their contractors.

But this, he said, isn’t that.


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