Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) is dismissing a complaint from Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), who accused the Trump administration of attempting to “sabotage” the United States Postal Service (USPS) ahead of the presidential election.
Brnovich’s office responded to an August 14 letter from Hobbs, who requested the attorney general investigate and determine “whether or not the Trump administration has committed a crime” relating to the reforms postmaster general Louis DeJoy announced.
“In a state where the vast majority of voters choose to do so by mail, attempts to sabotage the USPS just months before an election are most certainly attempts to interfere with the ‘free exercise of the right of suffrage,’” she wrote in the letter:
In Arizona, it’s against the law to “delay the delivery of a ballot.” I’ve asked Attorney General Brnovich to investigate recent changes at USPS, and whether or not the Trump administration has committed a crime. pic.twitter.com/fwEV86RIIT
— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) August 14, 2020
DeJoy said serious changes are crucial to ensure longterm stability for the financially strained institution but recently affirmed that operational changes will not occur until after the general election “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”
Brnovich’s office sharply dismissed the complaints lodged by Hobbs, who accused President Trump of engaging in a “coordinated scheme” to suppress voters by compromising their ability to vote by mail, contending that they are “purely speculative.”
In the August 19 letter, Brnovich’s chief deputy and chief of staff, Joseph Kanefield, wrote:
These allegations are purely speculative, and your letter contains no information or evidence establishing that the delivery of any Arizona ballot has been illegally delayed. As you aptly note, “[m]isinformation is dangerous to the electoral process and undermines voter confidence.”‘ Making accusations of criminal misconduct by the President and other federal officials based on mere conjecture undermines the integrity of our elections and does even more damage coming from a “trusted source” for election information. With tensions rising over the 2020 election, it is critical that election officials across the state work with our office to prevent, detect, and prosecute violations of Arizona election law, and not use the complaint process for political purposes.
Kanefield added that the Election Integrity Unit (EIU) reviewed Hobbs’ complaints and “found them to be grounded in a misunderstanding about the USPS’s organizational structure,” pointing out that the postmaster general does not report to the president but to the Board of Governors. Additionally, the office added that Hobbs has yet to present evidence that presidential actions impacted USPS operations in the Grand Canyon State’s August 4 primary.
“The evidence in Arizona, therefore, does not suggest that there has been or will be voter disenfranchisement as a result of any changes to the postal system,” the letter stated, urging election officials to refrain from spreading misinformation, politicizing administrative processes, and criminalizing funding issues.
“To the extent you may be confronted with other political issues like this one in the future, we encourage you to take steps to maintain, rather than undermine, public confidence in Arizona’s election processes,” Kanefield added.
DeJoy is expected to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday and before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday.