Arizona Senate And Private Companies Taking Donations For Election Audit

By Jill Ryan
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 8:47am
Updated: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 8:53am

Senate President Karen Fann
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann on May 8, 2020.

Just days after outlawing counties from accepting outside grants to run elections, the state Senate is now accepting private donations to complete its audit of the 2020 election. There are no answers so far about whether donors will be publicly disclosed.

Also, Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) acknowledged that the private companies hired to conduct the audit may separately be taking money from outside sources, which could hide not only who is giving the money but exactly how it is being used.

Fann says questions can be asked. 

"If the vendor is going to take outside, additional, if they were going to get grants for something, if they are getting people donating work or whatever, I can certainly ask them to see if and when that happens I would like to know who it is and to what amount and for what," Fann said.

There is precedent for the state to accept donations. In 2015, lawmakers set up a fund to raise $50 million to construct border walls in Arizona. But that was disbanded when just $55,000 was raised.

There is no precedent in allowing outside firms who already have contracts with the state to raise extra money on their own.

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