On Monday, The Washington Post reported that advocates from four voting rights groups are seeking to have the cybersecurity firm "Cyber Ninjas" and its CEO barred from working on federal contracts.
This comes after the Florida-based company ran a well-publicized, state-funded "audit" of ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona ordered by the GOP-controlled state senate, which was marked by press access and transparency problems, as well for investigating outlandish conspiracy theories including a hunt for bamboo fibers in ballots to prove they were Asian forgeries.
"Citing work that fell below election-auditing standards, a refusal to abide by a court order to produce public records tied to the review, the promulgation of conspiracies and federal scrutiny tied to the operation, the advocacy organizations on Monday asked the Interagency Suspension & Debarment Committee to consider the company and its CEO Doug Logan for 'debarment,'" reported the Washington Post's Yvonne Wingett Sanchez. "The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law sent the letter on behalf of the groups."
"The federal government has previously awarded contracts to Cyber Ninjas, including with the Federal Communications Commission between 2016 and 2018," noted the report. "'If Cyber Ninjas is permitted to continue engaging in publicly-funded operations, the company will continue to undermine confidence in our federal elections,' said the letter, obtained by The Washington Post. 'The damage Cyber Ninjas has already wreaked under its Arizona State Senate contract, along with the potential for future harm should Cyber Ninjas continue to operate as a federal government contractor, necessitate debarring Cyber Ninjas,' the letter added."
Cyber Ninjas' "audit" ultimately failed to find any evidence for former President Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, and even claimed to find some extra uncounted ballots for President Joe Biden. However, controversy continues over the group's refusal to comply with public records requests about how the audit was conducted, which led to an Arizona superior court judge issuing $50,000 a day contempt fines.
Shortly after that penalty came down, Cyber Ninjas announced it was shutting down and laying off all employees rather than turn over the records — although Logan has said he intends to found a new company with many former Cyber Ninjas employees.