House Democrats probe Arizona election auditor Cyber Ninjas and request documents


In this May 6, 2021 file photo Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
Matt York | AP

Two top House Democrats on Wednesday launched an investigation into whether Cyber Ninjas, one of the private companies hired by Arizona Republicans to “audit” millions of ballots cast during the 2020 election, is working to “reverse the result of a free and fair election for partisan gain.”

House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who leads a House civil rights subcommittee, have asked the firm's CEO to send them a raft of documents related to the audit, including information about who is paying for it.

The Democrats are also requesting any and all communications between Cyber Ninjas and former President Donald Trump or his allies, who have aggressively spread the false claim that the 2020 election was rigged.

A Florida-based cybersecurity firm, Cyber Ninjas has come under intense scrutiny for its involvement in the highly partisan ballot review in Arizona, which was launched by state Senate Republicans after President Joe Biden won the state in November.

Biden received roughly 10,000 more votes in Arizona than Trump, who falsely claims the election was stolen from him via widespread fraud. Trump has applauded the GOP-led audit.

County election officers in Arizona who conducted their own post-election audits found no discrepancies or irregularities in numerous counties — including Maricopa County, the most populous in the state.

But Republicans in Arizona's state Senate nevertheless hired a group of private firms, led by Cyber Ninjas, to audit the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa. The additional audit, the Republicans said, was about ensuring the integrity of the election.

Cyber Ninjas did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

“We are concerned about your company's role in this highly unusual effort,” Raskin and Maloney wrote in their letter to Cyber Ninjas CEO Douglas Logan.

The Democrats said their concerns stem from the company's “apparent lack of experience in conducting election-related audits; reports that the company engaged in sloppy and insecure audit practices that compromised the integrity of ballots and voting equipment and were questioned by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); and evidence that you and other individuals funding the audit have sought to advance the ‘big lie' of debunked voter fraud allegations in the November 2020 presidential election.”

“The Committee is seeking to determine whether the privately funded audit conducted by your company in Arizona protects the right to vote or is instead an effort to promote baseless conspiracy theories, undermine confidence in America's elections, and reverse the result of a free and fair election for partisan gain,” Raskin and Maloney wrote.

The Democrats cited reports that “substantial outside funding” for the audit “has come from partisan dark money groups” linked to Trump and his allies. They also linked to numerous reports describing mismanagement and sloppy work practices by the firm, including that contractors were using potentially damaging ultraviolet light on ballots to check for evidence of fraud.

And they cite statements made by Logan himself, which they say “raise serious questions about your ability to lead impartial work related to the election.”

Logan had tweeted support for pro-Trump election conspiracy theories, spread debunked claims of fraud and used the “Stop the Steal” hashtag in some posts, the Democrats wrote, citing various news outlets.

“The Committee is particularly concerned that your company's actions could undermine the integrity of federal elections and interfere with Americans' constitutional right to cast their ballot freely and to have their votes counted without partisan interference,” Raskin and Maloney wrote.

They have asked Logan to give them the requested documents by July 28.

— CNBC's Annika Kim Constantino contributed to this report.

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