PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Text messages released as a result of a lawsuit against the controversial Arizona audit show officials knew there were security problems at the audit facility, despite their public statements that claimed otherwise.
In the days leading up to the beginning of the audit, Arizona's Family Investigates gained access to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum through open bay doors, unlocked side doors and doors left propped open. Federal election law required the site to be secure because it contained election equipment and ballots.
But after our story aired, audit officials publicly denied there was any problem. "I think we've confirmed that when we let some other press come into the building, one of them propped the door open so that somebody else, maybe Morgan, could gain access," said Ken Bennett, who was a spokesman for the audit at the time.
Even the Arizona Senate President Karen Fann made statements that indicated Arizona's Family made up the security problem. "There was actually a media guy that snuck over to a locked door, propped it open to let another media guy come in," said Fann.
There is a lack of security at the building where the documents and machine are housed.
But this summer, the organization American Oversight sued the Senate and its contractors for records related to the audit. This week, a judge ordered the entities to release thousands of emails and text messages. But buried within thousands of emails and text messages released was one of the test threads was between audit official Randy Pullen and Jeff DeWitt, a Donald Trump campaign official. The thread contradicts what audit officials had been saying in public.
On Thursday, April 22, Pullen wrote, "Any Update."
DeWitt responded, "Hey I'm working on the $175K. Where to send it?"
Pullen wrote, "200 would be better but take what I can get."
Then Pullen wrote, "Sh%t is hitting the fan ... need money for added security and for national legal team."
Pullen then added a screenshot of a Tweet that mentioned the Arizona's Family investigation that would air that night. "How secure is the location of Arizona's election audit? Not very," read the tweet. It contained video of the open doors at the Coliseum.
The next day, Pullen wrote to DeWitt, "Why we need more security. There are four entry points on the 2nd floor that need security 24/7."
"Have a hearing at 11. Need to be able to say we have more security coming," wrote Pullen. So while the audit officials were telling the media there was no security problem, they were telling a Trump campaign official they needed $200,000 in part for added security.