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Former Arizona attorney general failed to release report disproving election fraud claims

Mark Brnovich did not release a summary from September that made it clear accusers "did not provide any evidence to support their allegations" before he left office.
Mark Brnovich.
Mark Brnovich.Bob Christie / AP file

Former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich did not release to the public findings from his office that showed a series of 2020 election fraud claims were not backed up by evidence, according to documents released Wednesday by his successor.

Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat who took office last month, released the documents linked to the investigation into the handling of the election in the state.

Agents from the office of Brnovich, a Republican, had spent over 10,000 hours looking into potential voting irregularities and allegations of illegal voting, Mayes' office said in a news release. A September summary prepared by the attorney general's Special Investigations Section showed it had not turned up evidence that backed up the claims.

"In each instance and in each matter, the aforementioned parties did not provide any evidence to support their allegations," the previously unreleased summary said. "The information that was provided was speculative in many instances and when investigated by our agents and support staff, was found to be inaccurate."

According to the summary, the agents looked over 638 complaints, which led to 430 investigations into information provided to agents that was "speculative in many instances" and that when investigated was "found to be inaccurate." Only 22 cases were ultimately submitted for prosecutorial review, and at the time of the report, two indictments were obtained stemming from ballot harvesting.

Elected officials who had made public statements alleging voter fraud "did not repeat or make such assertions when questioned by our agents," the summary said.

As he was running for what ended up being a failed bid for the GOP nomination for the Senate, Brnovich issued an interim report in April addressed to then-Senate President Karen Fann, raising concerns about some voting procedures.

Although that report did not find mass fraud or conspiracy in the 2020 election, it outlined his office’s concerns with “serious vulnerabilities” involving certain procedures during the campaign, including the signature verification process and the transportation of ballots from drop box locations.

The interim report left out edits from agents who said they had not found evidence of criminality or fraud, according to a draft of the interim report released by Mayes' office with edits and suggestions made by attorney general’s agents.

Brnovich, who left office last month, did not release the investigative summary of his office's findings that was put together in September.

The Washington Post was first to report on the series of documents released by Mayes' office.

Brnovich did not respond to a message on Twitter seeking comment. He did not respond to questions from the Post, according to the newspaper.

Mayes took office last month after he defeated Republican Abraham Hamadeh, who questioned President Joe Biden’s victory and was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, in Arizona’s attorney general’s race last year.

“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,” Mayes said in a statement. “The ten thousand plus hours spent diligently investigating every conspiracy theory under the sun distracted this office from its core mission of protecting the people of Arizona from real crime and fraud.”