AZ Senate to pay $153,000 to settle public records battle with American Oversight

By Ben Giles
Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 4:12pm
Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 6:27pm

Arizona state Senate sign
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
The Arizona Senate building in Phoenix.

The nonpartisan watchdog group American Oversight has settled a nearly two-year-long public records lawsuit with the Arizona state Senate over its deeply flawed review of the 2020 election.

As part of the settlement, the state Senate does not admit any wrongdoing in the lengthy legal battle. Nonetheless, the Senate agreed to pay American Oversight $153,000, an amount in addition to the hundreds of thousands it’s already paid in legal bills related to the case.

American Oversight boasted on its website that they entered the agreement “having succeeded in bringing much-needed transparency to the ‘audit,’ with the Arizona Senate and Cyber Ninjas having released tens of thousands of pages of records as a result of litigation that provide the public with valuable information about how the review was conducted and why.”

The organization first sued the Senate in 2021 as the so-called “audit” of the 2020 election was ongoing. Cyber Ninjas, the controversial firm hired by former Senate President Karen Fann to lead the election review, was later added as a defendant.

Records revealed through the case showed how allies of former President Donald Trump were involved in coordinating and funding the election review, and how other election-denying subcontractors were involved in the process.

That review ultimately concluded that President Joe Biden did, in fact, win the popular vote in Maricopa County.