By Mary Jo Pitzl, Stacey Barchenger | Arizona Republic
An audio recording released this week captures Senate President Karen Fann seemingly contradicting her past public statements about the outcome of the 2020 Maricopa County election.
The recording was released on social media by a progressive organization that targets Republican lawmakers who believe the election was stolen despite no evidence affirming that claim.
Fann in an interview Friday said the recording misconstrued her response to a hypothetical question about what actions the attorney general could take after finishing his review of the Senate’s report on its election audit.
In the recording, Fann said if Attorney General Mark Brnovich verifies the findings of the 2020 ballot review that she and Senate Republicans authorized, then Brnovich must take the matter to court.
“Because it’s not now just about was it (the election) fraudulent or not, but it was the fact that he now verified that all the information we gave him is correct and therefore the election is uncertifiable because we don’t know who won, and we need to have a new election, we need to do something,” she said in the recording.
She said in the recording that Brnovich’s job was not to decertify the election, but said his findings could lead to further court action. “It’s going to go all the way up the ladder,” she said. “Do not think that this is an easy one.”
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Fann made the remarks on the recording March 11, several weeks before Brnovich released an interim report that questioned some procedures used by county officials. When that report was released, Fann said, “We’ve wanted an entity with prosecutorial authority to validate the missteps our audit revealed, and this interim report does just that.”
But Fann, who led the Senate Republicans’ review of the election results last year, said Friday there were not grounds — at least not yet — to take any complaints to a court based on the interim results of Brnovich’s investigation of the Senate’s findings.
As for decertification of the election, Fann said there may be a way to do so, but that’s widely disputed legally and she conceded it’s not a clear path.
“There is no real clear process at this point for decertifying,” she said.
“I have no opinion yet because he has not finished the review yet,” Fann, R-Prescott, said of Brnovich.