Often when a diary appears about Cyber Ninjas’ screwball “audit” of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona, commenters ask, “Where is the DOJ?” or “Where are the courts?” or “Where is Congress?” Laws were broken, the recount was appallingly mismanaged, ballots were compromised, and the people running the clown show are biased. From the beginning critics noted that several audits preceded this one, and they all validated the initial vote count 100%. There was no need for another recount!
It’s been clear since this boondoggle started four months ago that Cyber Ninjas 1) doesn’t know what it’s doing; the company never conducted anything like an election recount; 2) is biased; the CEO said the election was stolen before he was hired, and he appears in the just-released movie Deep Rig that’s chock full of QAnon speakers and election conspiracies; 3) has compromised ballots and other voter records; expert observers said ballots were mishandled, and some voter files even ended up in Montana, while voter machines cannot be used again—a cost of $6 million to the County; 4) has not been forthcoming with the public and press; only the far-right One America Network (OAN) received press access, other reporters were removed from the floor, and Cyber Ninjas says its files are not subject to public records laws, which has prompted two lawsuits; 5) hired inexperienced and biased staff; for training, ballot counters were only shown a 15-minute video, and most were drawn from the Republican Party; and 6) is running a grift; the Arizona Senate ponied up $150,000 for a job that’ll cost at least $2 million; OAN has run on-air pitches, while the Pillow Jerk, Sidney Powell, the Overstock CEO, and others (mostly anonymous) are contributing to the fuck of clusters.
That’s not all of it, but whenever these and other points are raised—and they have been for months—people rightly wonder, Where the heck is the cavalry? On Day One the Arizona Senate broke federal law when they gave the ballots to a private, inexperienced, partisan firm. DOJ? Anyone?
This week Senate President Karen Fann said in a radio interview, Oh My! the Ninjas’ numbers don’t jive with Maricopa County’s first two audits! Must be fraud! That discrepancy, which election experts said would result because the Ninjas are incompetent, will be ammunition for the GOP to call for more audits, and for GOP legislatures to introduce more voter suppression laws. Sen. Fann will likely encourage Cyber Ninjas to make its Big Report before July 24, when trump visits Phoenix to bless the audit, so his rally later that evening can become the launchpad for his reinstatement. “Fraud proven!”
Wednesday, Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, and Jamie Raskin, Chairman of Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent a 9-page letter to Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, demanding communications and documents that relate to the six areas of concern listed above, and more.
The federal inaction so far has been maddening and inexplicable, so I surely hope this is more than another strongly worded letter. Especially given Rep. Raskin’s performance in the impeachment trials, it feels like a good start, one that many Arizonans will applaud—as will Dems in other states where MAGA nitwits are calling for recounts. Now back it up and haul their butts before these committees and demand answers, which Democrats here have been powerless to do. Doug Logan obviously feels untouchable and Sen. Fann comes off like a misinformed tool; I’d pay to see those hearings.
The letter makes it clear that they have been following this story, they did their research, and they know exactly what a dangerous fiasco this “audit” has become. They highlight the Ninjas’ lack of experience, sloppy and even crazy work (bamboo?), worthless staff training, mysterious funding, secrecy, and the conspiratorial nature of their work. (If you’re interested in what a real, accredited audit looks like, see this diary: Maricopa County GOP Recorder compares his audit to the Cyber Ninjas’ fantasy audit).
Reps. Maloney and Raskin end their detailed (and helpfully footnoted) letter with a 9-point demand for documents and communications. What experience does Florida-based Cyber Ninjas have that qualifies it for the recount? (Experienced firms bid on the job.) How were ballot counters recruited and trained? How can you be objective when you’ve embraced the big lie? How is this crapola funded? Where did the Ninjas get its goofy audit procedures, because they sure don’t resemble accepted methodology? (Hint: Jovan Pulitzer.) Importantly, they want all correspondence with trump and his immediate circle, as well as Giuliani, PillowMan, Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, Lin Wood, and other rightwing individuals and groups pushing the audit and the big lie (one and the same).
Given Cyber Ninjas’ bungling so far (missed one, two, three deadlines) it’s hard to imagine how Doug Logan will respond, or if he even can, since he hasn’t had to answer any of the local criticism so far, which has been considerable. So in case he’s unclear about what they’re asking for, Reps. Maloney and Raskin attach a 3-page addendum with dozens of points clarifying exactly what they want and how Logan should respond. Pound sand, peckerhead.
Finally. Letter here.
The Committee is seeking to determine whether the privately funded audit conducted by your company in Arizona protects the right to vote or is instead an effort to promote baseless conspiracy theories, undermine confidence in America’s elections, and reverse the result of a free and fair election for partisan gain.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.