Attorney General Mark Brnovich won’t be pursuing an investigation into the complaints aired at an ad-hoc forum of Republican lawmakers earlier this week.
In an email Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright told Rep. Kelly Townsend, who asked for the probe, that her agency’s Elections Integrity Unit has received more than 2,000 complaints related to last month’s general election. And Wright told the Mesa Republican the office is “actively reviewing every credible allegation.”
But Wright told Townsend that much of what came out at that hearing, with a series of unsworn witnesses and people presenting statistical models questioning the election returns, got folded into a lawsuit filed in federal court by supporters of President Trump. She told the lawmaker that attorneys in her office will “monitor those proceedings.”
And as far as anything else, Wright said there’s only so much her office can do in launching a probe as the legislature has not given her office the power to issue civil subpoenas in election matters.
The correspondence drew an angry response from Townsend who was one of the lawmakers who helped push last year to establish the Elections Integrity Unit.
“What I plan to do this next session is to defund the unit because it’s not performing how we expected it to,” said Townsend who will be a state senator next year. Instead, she would put it into the Auditor General’s Office, which is a branch of the legislature, and give that agency the subpoena power that the attorney general’s office says it lacks.
A spokeswoman for Brnovich declined to comment.
Townsend said that doesn’t mean she’s giving up in her efforts to get an inquiry into what she said are credible claims of irregularities in the election, specifically in the certification that Democrat Joe Biden outpolled the president.
In fact, she said she was in Tucson on Thursday to launch her own probe into allegations. And Townsend said she has a donor — she did not name names — who has pledged $500,000 to hire legal help to pursue any legal remedies.