By Zachary Stieber
Outside groups have contributed approximately $5.7 million to the 2020 election audit taking place in Arizona’s largest county, auditors said late Wednesday.
Five nonprofits have taken contributions and passed them on to auditors.
The America Project, started by former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, contributed the bulk of the funds, according to Cyber Ninjas, which is running the audit for the Arizona Senate.
The America Project contributed $3.2 million, according to the new disclosure.
America’s Future, whose Board of Directors is chaired by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, gave nearly $1 million to auditors. Voices and Votes, headed by two One America News Network employees, sent $605,000; Defending the Republic, a group affiliated with attorney Sidney Powell, is listed as having contributed $550,000.
The Legal Defense Fund for the American Republic contributed $280,000 thus far, according to auditors. The group is linked to Matthew DePerno, a Michigan attorney who represented a voter who sued over alleged election fraud in Antrim County.
In addition to providing financial support, the America Project, Voices and Votes, and the DePerno team have also provided “operational support and advice pivotal in executing the audit,” Doug Logan, Cyber Ninjas CEO, said in a statement.
None of the groups responded to requests for comment.
The $5.7 million does not include the $150,000 the Arizona Senate allocated for the audit.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican whose caucus ordered the election review, has said senators knew the audit would cost more and that the additional funds would be provided by outside groups.
“It was important for the Senate to fund to the amount we were comfortable with considering our other obligations. We are grateful to all the grassroots groups and individuals who have sent contributions to help pay for all the added costs which were incurred because of Maricopa County’s lack of cooperation,” Fann told The Epoch Times in a previous email.
Logan in the new statement thanked workers, volunteers, and sponsors.
“Our sponsors have raised and provided over $5 million; and tens of thousands of you have prayed for the work of our hands to determine truth, whatever it may be. For all of this, we are eternally grateful. We truly couldn’t have done this without you,” he said.
“As we continue our commitment to transparency, we want to take this opportunity to publicly thank and disclose those organizations that have supported us during this audit.”
Arizona’s Senate fought against disclosing the records, arguing they were not in their possession. But Arizona Superior Judge Michael Kemp rejected the Senate’s arguments, ruling earlier this month that nothing in state law “absolves Senate defendants’ responsibilities to keep and maintain records for authorities supported by public monies by merely retaining a third-party contractor who in turns hires subvendors.”
Before the new disclosure, little was known about the total cost of the audit and where funds were coming from, beyond the portion the Senate contributed.
That fact was assailed by Democrats, who largely oppose the audit.
“The Cyber Ninjas are trying—and failing—to hide public records about the #fraudit from the people of Arizona. They have no interest in transparency,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat running for governor, said in a recent social media post.
Also noted by audit opponents: the groups contributing to the review have pushed election fraud claims.
Byrne, for instance, told NTD, an Epoch Times partner, in April that he knew fraud occurred in the 2020 election “purely on the numbers.”
Christina Bobb, a One America News host who has been covering the audit at the same time her group raised money to fund it, told followers on Twitter in January that then-President Donald Trump would still be in office “this time next year.” She has also alleged that Trump is the true winner of both Georgia and Pennsylvania, two states where Democrat Joe Biden was certified as the victor by state officials and Congress.
Auditors finished counting ballots for the second time earlier Wednesday. They’re planning to spend time analyzing the data from the audit before submitting a draft report to Fann.
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