The Republican-controlled Arizona state Senate has permanently banned its own liaison from entering the building where the controversial "audit" of Maricopa County votes is being conducted.
Ken Bennett, the former Arizona's Secretary of State and president of the state Senate, was selected as the liaison and immediately became the only person involved with the audit who has expertise in elections.
On Friday, Bennett was banned from the building.
"Questions are mounting about who is in control of the long-running partisan review of Maricopa County's 2020 election results — the Arizona Senate, which ordered it, or the outside firms that are running it," The Arizona Republic reported Friday evening. "On Friday, Ken Bennett, the Senate liaison to the audit, was not allowed into the building at the state fairgrounds where the audit is taking place, a day after he shared data with outside critics from an ongoing ballot count."
"The data Bennett provided to outside analysts, Larry Moore and Benny White, showed the results of the ongoing machine count of the ballots tracks very closely with the the county's tally," The Republic reported. "If that trend continues, it may call into question the results of Cyber Ninja's count, because [Senate President Karen] Fann has said that the Cyber Ninjas' count did not match the county's."
"Senate liaison Ken Bennett is banned from the audit building permanently, says Randy Pullen, the Senate rep who is overseeing activity in the building. Says the decision to block Bennett on Friday was made by the Senate & Pullen was the one not to let him in," Arizona Republic correspondent Jen Fitfield reports.
Bennett did not respond to her requests to comment, but had threatened to quit earlier in the day.
"I cannot be part of a process that I am kept out of critical aspects," Bennett said on Phoenix radio station KFYI. "The reason that I am that close to stepping down as liaison is that I cannot be part of a process that I am kept out of critical aspects along the way that make the audit legitimate."
The audit says he will still be involved.
"Pullen repeats to me that Bennett is still the Senate liaison. I ask him how repeatedly you can liaison something without being let into the building. He will be around, Pullen says, will review the draft report..." Fitfield reported.
Read Fitfield's reporting on Twitter.
Just in... Senate liaison Ken Bennett is banned from the audit building permanently, says Randy Pullen, the Senate… https://t.co/h5wGCfpuaX— Jen Fifield (@Jen Fifield) 1627342485.0
Pullen says he will be supervising the audit activity until it wraps up in the Bolin building this week. In other… https://t.co/lbarBmi8CI— Jen Fifield (@Jen Fifield) 1627342869.0
BREAKING: Maricopa County receives a new subpoena for election materials from Republican leaders of the Arizona Sen… https://t.co/aj0CGhrzCk— Jen Fifield (@Jen Fifield) 1627345710.0