Arizona governor orders ethics probe into former Republican AG over handling of 2020 election fraud claims
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, reportedly ordered an ethics probe into the state’s former Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich into his handling of 2020 election fraud allegations.
‘Recent reporting and documents released by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has exposed what is likely unethical conduct by former Attorney General Mark Brnovich,’ Hobbs’ general counsel, Bo Dul, wrote to Chief Bar Counsel Maret Vessella in a letter Friday obtained by The Washington Post.
‘This conduct – which is harmful to our democracy, our State, and the legal profession itself – appears to have coincided with the time in which Mr. Brnovich and other attorneys in his Office were actively negotiating and then participating in a diversion agreement with the State Bar in regard to File No. 20-2188 and related matters,’ the letter says. Dul urges the State Bar to ‘carefully review’ files published on the state attorney general’s website and ‘take any appropriate action.’
On Wednesday, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat who narrowly defeated Republican Abraham Hamadeh after a recount of votes in December in one of the closest elections in state history, released documents related to the investigations into the handling of the 2020 election.
‘The results of this exhaustive and extensive investigation show what we have suspected for over two years – the 2020 election in Arizona was conducted fairly and accurately by elections officials,’ Attorney Mayes said in a statement. ‘The ten thousand plus hours spent diligently investigating every conspiracy theory under the sun distracted this office from its core mission of protecting the people of Arizona from real crime and fraud.’
The Post reported that such documents showed Brnovich kept a March 2022 report stating that ‘virtually all claims of error and malfeasance were unfounded’ private.
Then in April, while running in the GOP primary for a U.S. Senate seat, he released an interim report claiming his office discovered ‘serious vulnerabilities,’ allegedly leaving out edits from his own investigators refuting those claims.
‘Katie Hobbs is wrong,’ Brnovich said in a statement, dismissing the allegations. ‘This is another misguided attempt by her to defame and cancel a political opponent instead of addressing the serious issues facing our state.’
Mayes said despite her office spending over 10,000 hours investigating voting irregularities and ‘alleged instances of illegal voting by high-profile election deniers,’ a September 2022 summary prepared by the Arizona Attorney General Office (AAGO) Special Investigations Section stated: ‘In each instance and in each matter, the aforementioned parties did not provide any evidence to support their allegations.
The information that was provided was speculative in many instances and when investigated by our agents and support staff, was found to be inaccurate.’
Mayes said complaints and allegations submitted to the Arizona Attorney General’s office by members of the public ‘were also largely unsupported by factual evidence or found to be mischaracterizations when researched by agents and support staff.’
‘These allegations included the counting of duplicate votes, satellites controlled by the Italian military changing votes to favor President Biden, bamboo ballots, and dead people voting in numbers that affected the outcome of the election, among others,’ her office said. ‘And while a small number of cases were submitted for prosecution review due to these investigations, these numbers align with historical trends. They do not indicate widespread fraud or conspiracy related to the 2020 election.’
‘Voter fraud is rare, and instances should be handled according to applicable laws when they do occur,’ Mayes added Wednesday. ‘But it is time to work together to defend American democracy and uphold the rule of law. It’s time for the divisiveness to stop, and it’s time for our country to heal.’
The Post reported that the state bar, which has the power to reprimand or disbar its lawyers, received at least eight complaints about Brnovich regarding his office’s investigation into the 2020 election.