The Senate is sitting on millions of dollars as it outsources election audit funding to pro-Trump groups

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/Pool photo

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Private groups are raising outside money to help the Arizona Senate pay for its election audit, and it turns out there’s an entity with several million dollars to spare that they could turn to — the Arizona Senate.

Senate President Karen Fann’s contract with Florida-based cybersecurity firm Cyber Ninjas to oversee and conduct the audit is for $150,000, a figure that she says she knew at the time would be insufficient to cover the costs. Since then, private fundraising efforts have cropped up to cover the difference, including by people and organizations that have been vocal promoters of bogus election fraud conspiracy theories claiming that the election in Arizona was rigged against former President Donald Trump.

Fann, a Prescott Republican, has praised those groups, telling KTAR radio host Mike Broomhead, “The price is going up right now. Thank God we have grassroots people that are stepping up and saying, ‘Yeah, we’re going to pay for this, we don’t expect Arizona to pay for all of this because it’s important.’” 

What Fann didn’t mention during that April 27 interview is that the Senate could easily afford to provide the rest of the funding itself.

The Senate received more than $13.2 million for its operating budget in fiscal year 2021. Unlike most state agencies, the Senate is also one of the few entities in state government that gets to keep the money it doesn’t spend. And there’s always money left over.

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