GOP official promised $20,000 'contribution' to Arizona Rangers to guard ballot 'audit': report

According to the Phoenix New Times, documents reveal that the Arizona Senate GOP leader Karen Fann, along with a right-wing dark money group, made a "contribution" of $20,000 to the Arizona Rangers to help guard the controversial "audit" of ballots in Maricopa County.

"Senate President Karen Fann had ignored repeated questions in recent weeks about who authorized the Rangers' presence in and around Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the state fairgrounds, where the audit is being conducted. The Rangers, a state-recognized quasi-law enforcement group, has provided more than a dozen uniformed officers to work the audit," reported Ray Stern. Meanwhile, "In an article published on April 29, the Rangers state commander, Michael Droll, told Phoenix New Times that the question of who authorized the group was 'intelligence' and that nobody would answer it."

"Last week, following a request for public records under state law, the state senate released seven pages of agreements for services ... to New Times, including one between the senate and Arizona Rangers that had been signed by Fann and Droll," said the report. "It states that the senate will pay $20,000 for the Rangers' services, with the word 'compensation' crossed out and above that, the word 'contribution' written in hand."

Also involved in the agreement is Guardian Defense Fund, a GOP money group created "to help U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and former state Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, address assertions about their activities." All of these lawmakers were either at the Capitol riot or at the rally that preceded it.

The $20,000 payment has not yet been made.

The Arizona "audit," which is nearly finished, has turned into an embarrassment for the state GOP, with even prominent Trump supporters condemning it as a "clown show." The investigators from the pro-Trump Florida security firm "Cyber Ninjas" has pursued a number of conspiracy theories, including searching for bamboo fibers in ballots to prove they were Asian forgeries.