By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Phoenix) — Republicans in the Arizona State Legislature on Tuesday hosted a legislative hearing that contrived to present "evidence" of massive voter fraud during the 2020 general election — and Pinal County's chief law enforcement officer was present.
Sheriff Mark Lamb paid a visit to the Arizona State Capitol for the event, in which some of the state's top Republicans welcomed members of the "election integrity watchdog group" True the Vote for a 90-minute panel session on unverified claims the group has made regarding voter fraud in Arizona.
An official press release confirmed Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Elections Committee Chairwoman Kelly Townsend were to attend, alongside Sen. Nancy Barto and Ethics Committee Chair Sine Kerr. Far-right lawmakers from the State House of Representatives, including Walt Blackman, Quang Nguyen, and Arizona Secretary of State candidate Shawnna Bolick, also carved out time to set up the presentation — even as legislators are still struggling to cobble together a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
True the Vote is a conservative "vote-monitoring" group based in Houston. Its stated objective is to restore confidence in the United States electoral process, but in reality, the organization peddles in increasingly-mainstream conspiracy theories centered on the 2020 election.
Many of True the Vote's "findings" appear in the documentary film "2000 Mules," which was released by the Salem Media Group last month and has gone on to gross nearly $1.3 million. Directed by conservative troll and since-pardoned convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza, the film purports to expose the events leading to nationwide voter fraud sufficient enough to hand Joe Biden the presidency in 2020.
"2000 Mules" asserts that True the Vote helped to broker a $2 million deal to acquire trillions of cell phone geolocation data morsels that "prove" rampant voter fraud in swing states. D'Souza and True the Vote say this confirms 200 Arizona ballot workers (among the titular "mules") in Maricopa and Yuma Counties engaged in illegal ballot collection (pejoratively and more-popularly known as "ballot harvesting") by making up to 20 repeated drop box deposits. The film makes this determination despite featuring no surveillance footage of the alleged deposits.
A year-and-a-half later, there remains zero credible evidence that the 2020 election was "stolen" for President Biden, nor was it the subject of widespread fraud. And in fact, former President Donald Trump won Yuma County by over 4,000 votes in 2020.
The panel hearing involving the aforementioned lawmakers began later than intended, as Senator Martín Quezada and his fellow Democrats were forcing a vote on background check legislation in the wake of last Wednesday's mass shooting at an elementary school in rural Texas. The measure, Senate Bill 1546, failed in a 16-13 vote along party lines.
Sheriff Lamb last year defended thousands of Trump's supporters after they besieged the United States Capitol during a proceeding that certified the results of the 2020 election. Lamb has met with Trump on a number of occasions, and he is a frequent speaker at right-wing conventions such as the Conservative Political Action Conference and Turning Point USA rallies.
Lamb has also backed Kari Lake in Arizona's forthcoming gubernatorial election. Lake, a former FOX 10 news anchor with a history of support for Democratic politicians, has reinvented herself as a staunch Trump-aligned Republican who says she would have refused to certify the 2020 election results. Additionally, Lake — who was in attendance on Tuesday — has been vocal about her extrajudicial desires to jail Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, as well as members of the news media.