Michael Flynn, Group Led by One America News Employees Paid Over $1.5M for Arizona Audit

Groups led by Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's former national security adviser, and correspondents from the pro-Trump One America News Network are among the groups leading fundraising efforts to pay for Arizona Republicans' election audit, with the two groups raising over $1.5 million, the Associated Press reported.

The figures released late Wednesday showed several other groups with ties to supporters of Trump's efforts to discredit the 2020 election results had been involved in the donation efforts, including Trump's lawyer, Sydney Powell, and Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com.

Donations from pro-Trump groups have surpassed $5.7 million—far more than the $150,000 contributed by the Arizona Senate, which commissioned the audit. For months, Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired to lead the audit by the Arizona Senate, had not disclosed the amount the firm was being paid for the audit or where the funds came from.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Michael Flynn audit contributions
Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, is listed as the head of one of the groups that has raised over $5.7 million for the Arizona Republicans' election audit. Above, Flynn endorses New York City mayoral candidate Fernando Mateo on June 3, 2021, in Staten Island, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Republican Senate President Karen Fann said the audit is only meant to see whether improvements are needed to state election laws. But the audit has long been associated with the "stop the steal" movement, and Trump has predicted it will uncover evidence to support his discredited theories of fraud.

Before he was hired to lead the audit, Logan promoted Trump's false narrative that the election was stolen from him, and pro-Trump media has aggressively promoted the effort.

By far the largest funder is The America Project, led by Byrne, which Logan said has so far contributed $3.25 million. America's Future, which lists Flynn as its chairman, contributed just over $976,000. Voices and Votes, led by OANN correspondents Christina Bobb and Chanel Rion, contributed $605,000; and Powell's Defending the Republic gave $550,000. Election Integrity Funds for the American Republic, which Logan said is led by attorney Matthew DePerno, contributed $280,000. DePerno unsuccessfully sued Antrim County, Michigan, over the election.

Logan said several of the groups "have also provided operational support and advice pivotal in executing the audit."

Still unclear is where those groups got their money. They are organized as nonprofits and do not have to disclose their donors.

Logan has fought to keep the funders secret, though he acknowledged at the beginning of the audit that his $150,000 contract with the Senate wouldn't cover the cost of the work the Senate hired him to do. He released the figures on the deadline for him to voluntarily comply with a request for information, including donor information, from the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee. Several public records lawsuits also seek information from the Senate and Cyber Ninjas.

The fundraising disclosure came the same day that a key figure in the audit said he planned to quit, then reversed course and said he had reached an agreement to stay on.

Former Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett, the Senate's unpaid liaison to Logan and the audit contractors, was the only audit leader with substantial experience in elections. His departure threatened to further erode the legitimacy of the unprecedented partisan post-election review.

Bennett was banned from the building where the audit is taking place because he gave data to outside election experts without informing the Senate leader or Logan. He said he wouldn't put his name behind the audit without full access.

"It's the audit that belongs to the people of Arizona, and if I'm going to put my credibility on the line that it's something that they can trust and believe in, I can't be locked out until the last moment," Bennett told conservative radio host James Harris on KFYI-AM.

Bennett later said in a text message that he'd reached an agreement with Fann, the Senate president, to stay on but did not release details.

The audit has come under fire from election experts who say Cyber Ninjas and other contractors are biased and using unusual procedures that won't produce reliable results.

The county Board of Supervisors met privately Wednesday to discuss a new subpoena issued by the Senate this week for materials related to the election. Afterward, Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican, said the board "discussed various options with our legal counsel and will take the coming days to do our research."

Cyber Ninjas audit
Donations from pro-Trump groups have surpassed $5.7 million for the Arizona election audit. Above, Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan (left) talks about overseeing a 2020 election ballot audit ordered by the Republican lead Arizona Senate at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum during a news conference on April 22, 2021, in Phoenix. Ross D. Franklin, File/AP Photo