Former President Donald Trump secretly contributed $1 million to fund the controversial "audit" of 2020 ballots in Maricopa County by the private Florida security firm "Cyber Ninjas," The Guardian reported on Friday.
"One of the enduring mysteries surrounding the chaotic attempts to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential battle has been solved: who made a secret $1m donation to the controversial election 'audit' in Arizona?" reported Brendan Fischer and Ed Pilkington. "The identity of one of the largest benefactors behind the discredited review of Arizona’s vote count has been shrouded in secrecy. Now the Guardian can reveal that the person who partially bankrolled the failed attempt to prove that the election was stolen from Trump was … Trump."
"An analysis by the watchdog group Documented has traced funding for the Arizona audit back to Trump’s Save America Pac," said the report. "The group tracked the cash as it passed from Trump’s fund through an allied conservative group, and from there to a shell company which in turn handed the money to contractors and individuals involved in the Arizona audit."
Trump was one of the biggest purveyors of conspiracy theories that Arizona had been stolen from him in the presidential election, where Biden carried the state by just a bit over 10,000 votes. There remains no evidence to support this claim.
The Cyber Ninjas audit, ordered by pro-Trump allies in the Arizona State Senate, was widely criticized for its secretive nature, its failure to follow any normal procedures for recounting ballots, and its investigation of bizarre conspiracy theories like hunting for bamboo fibers in ballots in case they were forged in China. One report accused them of effectively making up their numbers, and even a local right-wing talk radio host blasted the whole exercise as a "clown show." Cyber Ninjas was eventually fined in court for refusing to turn over public records, and last year, the firm announced it was shutting down and laying off all employees.
This comes after reporting earlier this week that Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, and several of his employees, were seeking advice and funding from Trump behind the scenes as the whole process was playing out.