Arizona’s Republican State Senate, which hired the discredited Cyber Ninjas company to carry out a vote audit of Maricopa County, is now desperately seeking the company’s hidden public records to comply with a court order.
Senate Republicans recently discovered the Ninjas leased a mysterious “data center,” and have sent a two-sentence letter to the company and others involved in the botched audit, asking if public records are stored there, The Arizona Republic reported.
“We recently learned that a data center, possibly leased to Cyber Ninjas ... may be housing records concerning the Arizona State Senate’s audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County,” Arizona Senate President Karen Fann wrote in the letter sent Thursday.
“Please confirm as soon as possible whether this information is correct and, if so, when and on what terms the Senate may access the facility or its resources.”
As of Sunday, no response was reported.
The Cyber Ninjas shut down and fired all personnel early this month. The company was facing $50,000 daily fines beginning Jan. 6 until it turned over public records it collected as part of the audit. The records have yet to be provided.
Fann told the Republic she has no idea where the data center is located.
“There’s not a lot I can say,” she said. “I received info that possible records were stored in a data center.”
The newspaper and nonprofit watchdog group American Oversight sued to make the records public.
Last week, an Arizona judge ordered Cyber Ninjas and CEO Doug Logan to answer questions under oath from American Oversight regarding the company’s failure to turn over documents.
“As much as he might like to walk away from the dumpster fire he helped create, Doug Logan is not above the law. We look forward to deposing him on the 27th, and if it takes an arrest warrant to ensure the public gets the full story of the ‘audit,’ then so be it,” American Oversight senior adviser Melanie Sloan said in a statement made available to HuffPost.
State Senate Republicans hired the Ninjas in a doomed attempt to challenge Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
Cyber Ninjas, which had no election experience before conducting the audit, actually confirmed Biden’s victory in Maricopa County some seven months after the recount began. It did, however, raise challenging questions about the election, which were dismissed out of hand, even by a number of Republicans.
County election officials released a scathing report earlier this month rebutting almost every claim in the vote review. It concluded that nearly 80 claims made by Cyber Ninjas were misleading or false.
The operation, funded by right-wing extremists, was headed by Doug Logan, a QAnon conspiracy acolyte, who predicted months before the audit even began that “hundreds of thousands of votes” would inevitably be found for Donald Trump.
The audit effort was a fiasco from the start. Auditors were equipped with blue pens, which can be used to alter ballots, and sought traces of bamboo in ballots, which they supposed would be proof of Chinese interference. In addition, truckloads of voter data were spirited away to a cabin in Montana, 1,300 miles from where votes were cast, allegedly for “special” examination.
The Arizona vote was certified Nov. 30, 2020, by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey after several official recounts failed to find any irregularities. Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes in the state. He edged out Trump by more than 2 percentage points ― about 45,000 votes ― in Maricopa County.