A Pennsylvania state senator says he’s asking several counties to submit to a “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election and May’s primary election.
Republican Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County said Wednesday that he sent letters to several counties, requesting “information and materials.” Counties were asked to respond by July 31 “with a plan to comply.” Mastriano could theoretically issue subpoenas to holdout counties with a majority vote of his committee.
The audit will be similar to the Maricopa County forensic audit. Other Pennsylvania counties could also be audited.
Senator Doug Mastriano released a statement on Wednesday morning. The Pennsylvania State Senator announced he is initiating a forensic investigation of the 2020 General election and 2021 primary
Senator Mastriano joined the Bannon War Room on Wednesday morning.
Senator Mastriano gave three Pennsylvania counties three weeks to comply. He told Steve he may expand the audit with other counties.
July 3: Big news for Trump in Pennsylvania
Following in the footsteps of Arizona’s Senate Republicans, Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Senate is considering an investigation into how last year’s presidential election was conducted.
Any Senate-issued subpoenas for an Arizona-style “election audit” will face strident opposition from Democrats, legal questions and almost certainly challenges in Pennsylvania’s courts.
Senate Republicans have been mostly silent about their internal deliberations.
Sen. Doug Mastriano, who has talked of his desire to bring an Arizona-style audit to Pennsylvania, led a private briefing Wednesday for Republican senators on his plan.
In Arizona, the state Senate used its subpoena power to take possession of more than 2 million ballots and the machines that counted them, along with computer data.
Mastriano also solicited legal advice from a Philadelphia-based law firm about the Senate Republican caucus using private money to finance consultants and lawyers. The law firm’s response letter, dated Tuesday, was obtained by The Associated Press.
In the letter, the law firm discussed the legality of using money from a private, nonprofit organization “to pay expenses for vendors, including a consultant and counsel” as part of an “oversight investigation” of the 2020 election led by the low-profile committee that Mastriano chairs.
“While we cannot predict how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would decide the issue, in our opinion, to a reasonable degree of legal certainty, Pennsylvania law does not prohibit the Caucus or Committee from accepting or benefiting from such financial support,” lawyer Bruce S. Marks wrote.
The letter said “the purpose of the investigation is to develop legislation which will enhance voter participation and election integrity.”
Mastriano, who chairs the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, could issue subpoenas to counties with a majority vote of his committee. The Democratic bastions of Philadelphia and Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, could be prime targets.
Voting machines, ballots and other election records could be demanded. The process could cost millions of dollars. In Arizona, Senate Republicans kicked in $150,000 to help pay for the audit.
Mastriano traveled to Arizona in June to see the audit there firsthand.
“We’ll bring the information back to the Senate leadership, we’ll back-brief them on the way ahead and then hopefully we can come up with an approach here to make sure every person in Pennsylvania can rest assured they have one vote and it counts,” Mastriano told a radio host from WEEO-FM last month.
Republican consideration of an election audit in Pennsylvania comes as Trump supporters have pushed for audits and reviews of ballots in political battlegrounds.
The official rules of Pennsylvania’s Senate grants its committees broad authority to issue subpoenas to “any public agency” in the state.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said he was unaware of a Senate Republican plan, but questioned whether Mastriano’s committee had authority over the subject matter of elections to legally issue such subpoenas. Traditionally, a different Senate committee has handled election issues.
Senate Democrats can challenge the subpoenas in the state Senate and in court, Costa said.
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- Boris Epshteyn: Audit train is coming to Pennsylvania