Arizona AG Mayes accuses Brnovich of not sharing report that shows no fraud in 2020 election

No substantiated evidence of voter fraud was ever found, her office says
Officials want ex-Attorney General Mark Brnovich to be disbarred after accusations he sat on a report that debunked election conspiracy theories.
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 11:00 AM MST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2023 at 8:11 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes released on Wednesday documents related to the investigation into the 2020 general election, proving there was no widespread fraud or wrongdoing. Officials are now calling out former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for reportedly withholding the information. The Attorney General’s Office said that agents and staff under Brnovich spent 10,000 hours looking at any possible irregularities and pieces of evidence of voter fraud but didn’t find any. “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,” a statement said.

Former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich doesn't answer why he didn't release documents showing no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Mayes, a Democrat, told Arizona’s Family her office recently found evidence that shows Brnovich, a Republican, was well aware that the investigation showed there was no big conspiracy or elaborate scheme to influence the 2020 election in Arizona yet refused to release those findings to the public. “We have a duty, a solemn duty, at the Attorney General’s Office to be honest and transparent with people of Arizona about everything we do and especially when it comes to democracy and elections,” she said.

According to the documents, Attorney General’s Office staff under Brnovich found complaints and allegations from the public about the 2020 election were overwhelmingly unsupported by factual evidence. “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,” said Mayes. She also adds that the office looked at “every conspiracy theory under the sun,” saying it “distracted this office from its core mission of protecting the people of Arizona from real crime and fraud.”

In a statement to Arizona’s Family, Brnovich said he is “proud of the work” his office did and that his staff received criticism from both sides during the investigation into the 2020 election. “We did our due diligence to run all complaints to ground,” Brnovich said. “Where we were able to debunk rumors and conspiracies, we did so.” He added his office identified problem areas that the state Legislature and Maricopa County officials should address.

However, the statement didn’t address the accusations that Brnovich sat on those findings and didn’t release them to the public. Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said what Brnovich reportedly did chips away at the public’s trust. “I knew he was a coward but I didn’t think he was this big a coward to keep this information from folks for his own political purposes and then even after he lost the primary, to lie and misrepresent the information in these reports in unconcisionable,” Fontes said.

Questions are now being raised about whether Brnovich can be held accountable and whether he could lose his license to practice law. Political Editor Dennis Welch texted Fontes Wednesday afternoon asking, “Do you think Brnovich should be disbarred because of this?” Fontes replied, “Yes.”

Fontes isn’t the only one saying Brnovich should be disbarred. Chandler Attorney Tom Ryan said what the former attorney general did was unethical. “Our top law enforcement officer engaged in a substantial act of deceit, misrepresentation and cover up leading to death threats to many politicians and election officers,” Ryan said. “It’s nothing short of shocking. It’s stunning to me.”

Ryan said Brnovich needs to be investigated because he broke ethical rules as the top attorney in Arizona. “People’s lives were put in danger. People around the country were calling our elected officials and threatening them with death because our attorney general didn’t have the moral backbone to stand up and say this is not right,” he explained.

However, Mayes is hoping that by exposing what happened, it will show Arizona voters the truth about how elections are run. “Voter fraud is rare, and instances should be handled according to applicable laws when they do occur,” said Mayes. “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.”

Accusations of widespread voter fraud have been a highlight for a far-right segment of the GOP since 2020 when former President Donald Trump’s claims that illegal votes led to his loss in Arizona and other battleground states. Some of those conspiracies shared on social media claimed proof of satellites changing votes to favor then-candidate Joe Biden, bamboo ballots, and dead people voting. None of those claims have been substantiated.

Last year, Brnovich issued an interim report on his review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County that outlined his concerns with some election procedures but did not provide proof of any significant issues. In a 12-page letter addressed to Republican state Senate President Karen Fann, Brnovich said some forms documenting the transportation of ballots were missing signatures or other information. However, no evidence has been produced of tampering, and Brnovich didn’t offer any in that report.