Text messages suggest Donald Trump looked into funding the controversial Arizona election audit

Donald Trump
Donald Trump Getty

Newly-released text messages between a Trump campaign official and the spokesman for the controversial Arizona Senate election audit suggest former President Donald Trump was looking to help fund the very recount his supporters hoped would help overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election.

In an April text exchange reviewed by The Arizona Capitol Times, former Trump campaign official Jeff DeWit and audit spokesperson Randy Pullen discussed possible contributions by Trump to the audit effort.

According to the outlet, DeWit offered to send $US175,000 ($AU237,522) to a so-called “dark money” fund called the Guardian Defense Fund, where Pullen also served as treasurer, and later inquired about contributing on behalf of Trump to another group called Fund the Audit by the America Project.

“So are they ok to donate to? Trump asking,” DeWit reportedly texted Pullen about Fund the Audit on April 28.

It is unclear if Trump ended up contributing to the audit effort.

A representative for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Cyber Ninjas, the group running the much-maligned audit, announced in July it had raised $US5.6 ($AU8) million from five separate nonprofit organizations, including the America Project, but they declined to name original donors. Dark money funds are not required to reveal their donors.

The texts between DeWit and Pullen are part of a cache of documents released Tuesday under court order following a audit-focused public records request by liberal watchdog group American Oversight. Senate attorneys uploaded more than 4 GB of documents during the August 31 deadline, The Capitol Times reported.

When reached for comment by the Capitol Times on Tuesday, DeWit initially declined to comment on the record.

“I’ve been trying to stay really far away from that thing, but man, I don’t want to be on record saying anything,” he reportedly told the outlet.

But 15 minutes later, the newspaper reported DeWit called to backtrack, downplaying Trump’s involvement in any financial interest into the audit.

“I wasn’t referring to Trump himself, but to the broader Trump orbit, as many people were trying to determine if this was a legitimate organization, or one of the hundreds of scam PACs that was trying to make money off the president’s name and likeness,” DeWit said.

DeWit, who also served as state treasurer for Arizona from 2015 to 2018, worked as chair for Trump’s 2016 campaign, before being appointed to chief financial officer of NASA during the former president’s tenure. DeWit resigned from the position in 2020 to become chief operating officer of Trump’s 2020 campaign later that year.

DeWit did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

A Maricopa County judge also ordered the release of audit documents possessed by Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors, but the files have yet to be released as the Arizona Supreme Court is set to review the request later this month.

Findings from the nearly five-month audit were set to be delivered last week, but were delayed after the CEO of Cyber Ninjas contracted COVID-19. Arizona election officials, as well as several local Republicans and Democrats have warned the results “are not worth the paper they’re printed on,” and riddled with un-professionalism and falsehoods.