The former Secretary of State serving as the liaison for the Arizona State Senate Audit, Ken Bennett, will remain in his capacity as liaison after all. This is the second time that Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) has apparently walked Bennett back from the brink of walking away from the audit. Their latest agreement to keep Bennett on was less publicized than the first; no official statements have been put forth concerning the new terms of Bennett’s role. Per their agreement, Bennett will regain access to the audit building and may obtain information from the auditing company, Cyber Ninjas, upon request.

As The Arizona Sun Times reported on Thursday, Bennett has gone back and forth over his decision to bow out of the audit. Bennett relayed those sentiments twice this week: once on Monday, then again on Wednesday. Both times, Bennett discussed stepping down from his role with the radio host James Harris on morning episodes of The Conservative Circus. Both times, Bennett said he was liaison “in name only” because he was repeatedly excluded from overseeing critical aspects of the audit and barred access to the building.

“I cannot put a rubber stamp on a product that I’m being locked out of its development,” said Bennett during Wednesday’s interview. “I’m going to step down today, I’ll issue a statement later for the press […] I’m going to step down as the liaison with the offer and caveat to President Fann that I’m honored and appreciative of her statement yesterday that I will be a vital part of the draft and final reports but I’ve got to have access to the source data and everything that will be the building blocks to that final report.”

Fann asserted consistently that Bennett would remain a part of the audit. Even after Bennett announced that he may step down from his role as liaison on Wednesday morning, Fann stated that afternoon that Bennett would still play a crucial role in the final audit reports.

“The counting of the ballots is complete and they are being returned to Maricopa County,” wrote Fann. “Now we wait for the draft and final reports. Ken Bennett will be an important part of those reports.”

Fann’s understanding that Bennett would remain the liaison reportedly came from texts between the two following Bennett’s promises that morning to walk away.

– – –

Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinnejournalist@gmail.com.
Photo “Ken Bennett” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.