Hobbs Orders Ethics Probe Into Former Arizona AG Over Handling of 2020 Fraud Claims


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs has ordered an ethics probe into the state’s former Republican attorney general, claiming he sat on a report that allegedly debunked many claims of election fraud in 2020.

“Recent reporting and documents released by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has exposed what is likely unethical conduct by former Attorney General Mark Brnovich,” Hobbs’ general counsel, Bo Dul, wrote to Chief Bar Counsel Maret Vessella in a letter Friday obtained by The Washington Post.

“This conduct – which is harmful to our democracy, our State, and the legal profession itself – appears to have coincided with the time in which Mr. Brnovich and other attorneys in his Office were actively negotiating and then participating in a diversion agreement with the State Bar in regard to File No. 20-2188 and related matters,” the letter says. Dul went on to press the State Bar to “carefully review” files that were published on the state attorney general’s website and “take any appropriate action.”


Documents related to the investigations into the handling of the 2020 election were released by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat who won a narrow victory over Republican Abraham Hamadeh after a recount of votes in December.

The release of the documents took place on Wednesday, Fox News noted.

“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.”

According to the Post, such documents showed Brnovich kept private a March 2022 report stating that “virtually all claims of error and malfeasance were unfounded.”

During his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in the GOP primary, he released an interim report in April that claimed his office had found “serious vulnerabilities.” However, it was later revealed that he had omitted edits made by his own investigators that refuted these allegations, the reports noted.

Brnovich responded to the report that Hobbs’ administration is probing his actions.

“Katie Hobbs is wrong,” he said in a statement, dismissing the allegations.  “This is another misguided attempt by her to defame and cancel a political opponent instead of addressing the serious issues facing our state.”

Mayes stated that her office had invested over 10,000 hours investigating voting irregularities, including claims of illegal voting by prominent election deniers. However, a summary prepared in September 2022 by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AAGO) Special Investigations Section concluded that none of these parties had provided any evidence to support their allegations, according to Fox News.

“The information that was provided was speculative in many instances and when investigated by our agents and support staff, was found to be inaccurate,” she said.

Mayes went on to claim that complaints and allegations submitted to the Arizona Attorney General’s office by members of the public “were also largely unsupported by factual evidence or found to be mischaracterizations when researched by agents and support staff.”

“These allegations included the counting of duplicate votes, satellites controlled by the Italian military changing votes to favor President Biden, bamboo ballots, and dead people voting in numbers that affected the outcome of the election, among others,” her office noted further. “And while a small number of cases were submitted for prosecution review due to these investigations, these numbers align with historical trends. They do not indicate widespread fraud or conspiracy related to the 2020 election.”

“Voter fraud is rare, and instances should be handled according to applicable laws when they do occur,” Mayes noted last week in a statement. “But it is time to work together to defend American democracy and uphold the rule of law. It’s time for the divisiveness to stop, and it’s time for our country to heal.”


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