A Pennsylvania Republican who is fighting for an audit of the 2020 election in his state says that Republican leaders are trying to kneecap his efforts.
State Senator Doug Mastriano (R) was removed from his role heading up the audit by the state’s top Republican lawmaker and will now be replaced, the Washington Examiner reports.
Mastriano had threatened to subpoena officials in three counties for election materials after they refused to comply under pressure from Pennsylvania Democrats including Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid, who promised to retaliate and impounded voting machines in Fulton County.
But Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R) said he was frustrated with Mastriano, who he accused of “grandstanding,” and replaced him with state Senator Cris Dush (R), who Corman said was better qualified for an “open, honest review.”
For his part, Mastriano accused Corman of trying to shut down a meaningful audit, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He said that Corman went over his head and stopped a meeting from taking place on Aug. 6 where a vote on subpoenas was planned, and that Corman threatened to fire his staff and take away his committee chair, the Washington Examiner reported.
Mastriano also slammed the “legally questionable” threat from Democrats to decertify voting machines in any county that cooperates with what Democrats are deriding as a “third-party” audit, and said that “unfortunately, it is not just Democrats who stand in the way of this investigation.”
“Without consulting me, Senator Corman called the members of my committee and told them that there would be no vote on the subpoenas,” he said, according to the Examiner.
Audit controversy continues
Before he was dropped, Mastriano had said in a now-deleted video Thursday his probe was being “thwarted” by Republicans, the Examiner noted.
Dush had traveled with Mastriano to Arizona, where the most high-profile audit is taking place in Maricopa County. Democrats and the media have slammed all audits of the 2020 election as an attempt to sow doubts about Joe Biden’s legitimacy with the so-called “big lie.”
In a statement that didn’t mention Mastriano, Dush rejected the claim that Corman was trying to kill off the investigation and took an apparent dig at Mastriano by implying the audit has been a disorganized publicity stunt until now.
“There have been stories that Senate Pro Tempore Corman has moved this investigation to me for the purpose of killing it. The opposite is true. We should have been having hearings and moving toward a more formalized plan to conduct an investigation weeks ago,” Dush said in his statement.
“My team and I are in the process of getting things organized and will work with Senate Leadership to get it done,” he added.