By Mary Jo Pitzl | Arizona Republic
The person providing independent oversight of the final phase of the state Senate’s ballot review is also lobbying senators on a hotly debated bill at the Legislature, raising questions of whether the two roles create a conflict.
John Shadegg was hired last fall as part of an agreement between Senate Republicans and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to resolve a standoff over a review of the county’s routers and internet logs as they pertain to the 2020 presidential election. In his role as a “special master,” Shadegg serves as a neutral party to oversee an examination of that equipment.
Earlier this year, Shadegg also registered as a lobbyist to represent Salt River Project as it seeks legislative approval for a bill that would eliminate competition for state utilities.
Shadegg, a former U.S. congressman, said he saw no conflict in his dual roles. But said he sought advice from an ethics attorney before turning to his various employers for additional guidance. Both the Senate and the county, as well as SRP told The Arizona Republic they see no conflict; county officials declined comment.
The audit of the Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election continues, July 24, 2021, in the Wesley Bolin Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, Phoenix, Arizona.
However, Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo called Shadegg’s situation “troublesome.”
“He’s going to be trying everything possible to make Karen Fann happy,” Gallardo said, referring to the Senate president who commissioned the review of how the county conducted the 2020 election.
Gallardo noted that he was speaking for himself, and not for the board of supervisors.