The Arizona GOP raised funds in 2021 by asking for donations to support the election audit — but that’s not where the money went: report

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Stock photo of a voting booth

  • The Arizona GOP asked for donations to help with the 2021 Maricopa County election analysis. 
  • Texts show the GOP was clear that the money would not go toward the audit, per the Washington Post.
  • “We were expressly told that we could/should not raise money for the audit,” Arizona state GOP chairman wrote.

In 2021, the Arizona GOP sent out scores of fundraising emails asking people to support the Republican-led audit of the 2020 elections. However, text messages sent at the time by Arizona state GOP chairman Kelli Ward paint a different picture of where the money went, per a new report from the Washington Post.

Party fundraising emails sent between May and September 2021 asked supporters to “Help America’s Audit,” the Post reported. The GOP also used fundraising site WinRed to ask voters to “Support the Maricopa County forensic audit.” During that time, the Arizona Republican Party sent at least 92 emails mentioning the audit and raised $1.1 million, according to the Post. In contrast, $865,000 was raised collectively in 2020 and 2022, the Post reported.

However, in June 2021 — during which time the fundraising emails were being sent – Ward told Washington Republicans that the money was not to be used for the audit, according to text messages relayed to the Post by an anonymous source.

“We have not been raising money to pay for the audit,” Ward texted Republicans on June 25, 2021, the unnamed source who knew of the message contents told the Post. “We were expressly told that we could/should not raise money for the audit and auditors before the audit began.”

In the same text, Ward wrote that the Arizona GOP would instead use the funds to “keep the pressure” and “communicate” about an audit, the source told the Post.

In response to questions about the fundraising emails, Arizona GOP spokeswoman Kristy Dohnel told the Post the money went to “covering costs for security” during the audit.

“The Republican Party of Arizona has been able to raise millions of dollars under Chairwoman Kelli Ward’s leadership with amazing partners and relentless grass roots donors,” Dohnel told the Post.

Following the Post story about the Arizona GOP audit emails published Monday, journalist Josh Dawsey reported that Trump had a “tense” phone call with Ward. Ward is a close ally of Trump, according to people close to Trump who spoke to the Post.

 

“President Trump is passionate about the Arizona America First candidates and wants them to win in November— so does Chairwoman Ward,” Dohnel said in a statement to Insider.

The 2021 Republican-funded audit into the Maricopa county election results confirmed that President Joe Biden had won the election against former President Donald Trump. The election analysis was financially backed by prominent Republicans like former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and lawyer Sidney Powell.

A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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