maricopa county
Senator Townsend Wrangles Maricopa County Into Complying with Audit Subpoena

March 28, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Monday’s scheduled Senate committee meeting to look into requested Maricopa County records from the 2020 election was canceled after the county’s Board of Supervisors complied with Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s subpoena, following State Senator Kelly Townsend’s (R-Mesa) pushes to have them to respond to her records requests echoing those made in Brnovich’s subpoena. Townsend’s efforts were to assert the will of Arizonans, she said in a press release, noting that she took action when the supervisors didn’t comply with Brnovich’s requests at the beginning of this month. 

“I am pleased to report that Maricopa County has complied with the legislative subpoena commanding fulfillment of the Attorney General’s request dated March 9, 2022. The Government Committee scheduled for later today is therefore no longer necessary, as its intended objective has been achieved. The County’s acknowledgement of its duty to timely account for election administration activity is a laudable victory in our pursuit of accountability to Arizona voters,” wrote Townsend. “While the Maricopa County Chairman defends the delay in their response to the Attorney General with indeterminate case law and timelines set by courts, our subpoena conveyed the will of Arizonans, from the branch most representative of the statewide electorate, that the County make election integrity requests a top priority, rather than place them in a public records queue.”

However, Townsend noted that her job wasn’t done. She promised that she and a number of unnamed colleagues would ensure that Maricopa County officials carried out their compliance to the end. 

“While I am encouraged by Maricopa County’s evolving attitude towards transparency and compliance, I will be closely following the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation and will be following up with additional inquiries to answer further questions I have as Government Committee Chairman,” stated Townsend. “I stand with my colleagues as we remain committed to engage again when it is necessary for the Legislature’s plenary authority over statewide elections to be exercised.”

Townsend issued her subpoena last Monday. In response, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates claimed it wasn’t necessary to show up to Monday’s scheduled hearing because they already submitted requested records to Brnovich. Gates added that Townsend may not have authority to subpoena their board without permission of Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott).

Townsend responded by citing Arizona code, which allows committee chairmen to subpoena individuals. 

Gates reasserted to KJZZ several days after Townsend’s remarks that the board wouldn’t respond. Instead, the county’s attorney, Ed Novak, was slated to appear at the meeting.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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