Despite some initial concerns on the right that she may not be sufficiently conservative for her new role as GOP conference chair, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) declared her support for the ongoing audit of contested 2020 election results in Arizona, a position she made clear during an Fox News interview this weekend.
Speaking with Sunday Morning Futures host Maria Bartiromo, Stefanik expressed her belief that officials in Washington are working to stop the review from proceeding, saying, according to the Daily Mail, “The Biden Department of Justice is trying to block that audit. That is unconstitutional, from my perspective. Our states, constitutionally, are responsible for writing their state’s elections law.”
At issue is a detailed examination of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, a part of Arizona that typically trends Republican, but which, in the 2020 election, went to Joe Biden. Former President Donald Trump and his supporters have long claimed that such an unexpected outcome was the result of widespread fraud.
The potential interference from D.C. referenced by Stefanik relates to a letter sent by deputy assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to Karen Fann, the Republican president of the Arizona Senate.
In the communication, Karlan cautioned Fann that the act of providing the designated audit firm with the election materials needed for the review could constitute a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1960, as NPR noted.
During her chat with Bartiromo, Stefanik reiterated her belief that the audit should continue, saying, “I support the audit. Transparency is important for the American people. And again, this should be a non-partisan issue, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent or conservative, transparency is important. And the audit was passed by the Arizona State Senate.”
Trump, for his part, has maintained his position that the Arizona audit has the potential to reveal “massive fraud,” and that “at some point it will be impossible for the weak and/or corrupt media not to cover” it.
In the meantime, longtime Trump supporter Steve Bannon has filled the void by giving the audit nearly nonstop coverage on his War Room video podcast, as ABC News noted, and by suggesting that electoral wrongdoing set to be revealed will “lead to Georgia, and it’s going to lead to Michigan.”
Though Rep. Stefanik may not have built the most conservative voting record throughout her tenure in Congress, voting in line with Trump only 78% of the time during his presidency, on this issue there can be no mistaking that she is fully on board with the the former commander in chief on this particularly polarizing issue.