Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp ruled Monday that the Republican-led Arizona State Senate hand over the records of their 2020 audit, according to The Washington Examiner.
The judge asked for all the materials related to the Maricopa County audit, which is believed to be a win for critics of the hotly contested review.
“The documents, sought by left-leaning watchdog group American Oversight, are subject to Arizona’s public records statute and must be provided to the organization ‘immediately,'” according to the Examiner’s report.
This ruling was the result of a suit brought by American Oversight brought against Republican state Senate President Karen Fann in May which also listed state Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen and the state Senate itself as additional defendants.
Because of the structure of that suit, the plaintiff was able to invoke the Arizona Public Records Law which gives access to communications and other records between the Senate and its lead audit contractor, Cyber Ninjas.
Representatives for the state Senate argued in their motion to dismiss that the information in the documents included details about donors who funded the audit, and they were not subject to public disclosure rules.
Kemp denied their request, however, as well as their motion to dismiss the suit altogether on July 14:
“Nothing in the statute absolves Senate defendants’ responsibilities to keep and maintain records for authorities supported by public monies by merely retaining a third-party contractor who in turns hires subvendors,” Kemp wrote.
“Defendant Fann has the authority, and the statutory obligation, under the [Public Records Law], to compel [Cyber Ninjas] and its subvendors to produce all internal emails and correspondence outlined in the proposed order.”