The Pennsylvania state senator who is behind the push for a potential “forensic investigation” of the 2020 presidential election results is now alleging that his Democratic opposition is issuing a “threat” to every county in the commonwealth as a response to his plan.
Last Wednesday, state Sen. Doug Mastriano made a request for “information and materials” from three counties for his push for an audit. On Monday, he then released a statement that accused Democrats who are working to “obstruct” his audit plan of having “issued a veiled threat,” and of using “scare tactics.”
“What we are seeing is a convergence of scare tactics from [the] Wolf Administration and the Attorney General to intimidate county officials and obstruct a forensic investigation,” he went on to claim. “Governor Wolf and AG Shapiro are standing in the way of the constitutional authority of the General Assembly. For people who once lectured the state about transparency and accountability, we all ask, what do they have to hide?”
According to the current set of results, Joe Biden ended up winning Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes. The audits that were completed by election officials have thus far shown no signs of widespread fraud.
Mastriano has sent letters in his role as the chairman of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee to Philadelphia County, York County, and Tiago County. He also set up a deadline of July 30 for these counties to comply with his request, saying that he will pursue subpoenas if they refuse.
The planned election investigation, which will also look at the 2021 primary, is similar to the forensic audit wrapping up in Maricopa County, Arizona, a Senate-led investigation that has attracted complaints from both local and federal officials. The Justice Department is poised to crack down on Arizona’s investigation before auditors release their findings later this summer.
Pennsylvania acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenreid said in a directive last Thursday that complying with Mastriano’s request could result in a decertification of the equipment and said the state “will not reimburse any cost of replacement voting equipment for which certification or use authority has been withdrawn pursuant to this directive.”
Mastriano, who has said Trump encouraged him to run for governor in 2022, argued that the memo amounted to a “threat disguised as a ‘directive,'” and he questioned whether Degraffenreid was acting “outside of the scope of her constitutional powers.”
A spokesperson for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf told the Washington Examiner that his office “will stand up to any attempt to disrupt our electoral process and undermine our elections,” while Pennsylvania’s Department of State warned counties against allowing “third-party entities” access to voting machines.
Mastriano then went on to issue a sharp rebuke Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, also a Democrat, who previously accused the state senator of “pay[ing] homage to former President Trump and further spread[ing] misinformation about our elections.”
“Attorney General Shapiro has made numerous tv appearances and social media statements to threaten costly legal action and make baseless claims about how much an investigation would cost to taxpayers,” Mastriano went on to say. “Perhaps the AG’s time could be better spent on important law enforcement issues rather than nightly CNN/MSNBC appearances, childish name calling, and tweets of incessant broad, yet empty platitudes.”
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