By Fredreka Schouten and Stephanie Becker, CNN
A private company conducting a widely denounced review of ballots in Arizona’s largest county says it has received more than $5.7 million in private funds to support its examination of the 2020 presidential results.
The majority of the money has come from organizations tied to people aligned with former President Donald Trump and his false claims of a stolen election.
Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based firm hired by the Republicans who control the Arizona Senate to run the so-called “audit,” released the donor list Wednesday night — after months of secrecy. The top contributor: The America Project at $3.25 million. The group is led by Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com, who has authored a book and produced a movie claiming election fraud robbed Trump of the presidency.
The Washington Post also has reported that Byrne met with Trump in the Oval Office in December to discuss ways to overturn the election results.
Cyber Ninjas said another $605,000 came from Voices and Votes, a group established by One America News personality Christina Bobb.
The Arizona Senate allocated $150,000 to the audit, with a third of the money paid up front. But it has been clear for months that public funding would cover only a fraction of the partisan-driven undertaking.
The review of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County has been widely disparaged. Cyber Ninjas was not previously known for election auditing, and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office has detailed a slew of security problems with the process. Jack Sellers, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors, has accused the state Senate of “running a grift disguised as an audit” and has called the contractors it hired incompetent.
This week’s disclosure by Cyber Ninjas follows the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform opening an investigation into the review. The committee’s demands included getting more information about private funding sources.
This story and headline have been updated with revised figures from Cyber Ninjas.
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