AP

Arizona AG seeks probe of election integrity group

Oct 14, 2022, 6:40 AM | Updated: 7:44 pm

FILE - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich gestures and smiles during his visit to the Yuma Sun ...

FILE - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich gestures and smiles during his visit to the Yuma Sun in Yuma, Ariz., Thursday morning, June 2, 2022. Arizona's Republican attorney general, Mark Brnovich, on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 asked the FBI and IRS to look into an election integrity group that claimed to have uncovered widespread fraud in the 2020 election but never provided evidence. (Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP, File)

(Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s Republican attorney general, Mark Brnovich, on Friday asked the FBI and IRS to look into an election integrity group that claimed to have uncovered widespread fraud in the 2020 election but never provided evidence.

True the Vote, a nonprofit organization, has raised “considerable sums of money” on its claim that it had evidence of widespread fraud and may have broken federal tax laws, Reggie Grigsby, a criminal investigator in Brnovich’s office, wrote to federal authorities.

Leaders from True The Vote promised repeatedly over the course of a year to provide data supporting their claim that people illegally collected ballots and delivered them to drop boxes during the 2020 election, Grigsby wrote.

The claim was at the center of “2,000 Mules,” a debunked film that was aggressively promoted by former President Donald Trump to back up his claim he lost the presidency because of fraud.

But True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht and contractor Gregg Phillips never provided the data they promised to the attorney general’s office despite claiming publicly that they had, Grigsby wrote. In June, they told state investigators they had given their data to the FBI while telling the FBI that the materials were given to the attorney general’s office.

Representatives from the organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday evening.

Promises to investigate and expose fraud are a big fundraising draw among Trump supporters who believe the former president’s lies about the 2020 election. Several groups, for example, raised more than $5 million for a discredited audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona. That audit was conducted by Trump supporters on behalf of state Senate Republicans.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the 2020 election was tainted. Trump’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts, including by judges he appointed.

The referral to federal investigators is notable from Brnovich, who put his election investigations at the center of his unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate. Brnovich’s campaign struggled after Trump assailed him for failing to arrest people based on discredited claims from the Maricopa County audit and the “2,000 Mules” film.

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