Hannah Klain, daughter of President Joe Biden’s powerful Chief of Staff Ron Klain, recently signed a letter urging the Justice Department to deploy federal monitors to monitor the Arizona State Senate’s audit of 2020 presidential votes in Maricopa County.
The letter, from three groups — the Brennan Center for Justice, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, and Protect Democracy — was sent last week to the Justice Department, expressing concern that the auditors are “engaged in ongoing and imminent violations of federal voting and election laws.”
“[W]e request that you send federal monitors as soon as practicable to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” the letter said. “Ballots that are protected under federal law are in imminent danger of being subject to unlawful voter intimidation as a result of flawed audit procedure.”
Klain signed the letter in her capacity as the Equal Justice Works Selbin Family Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
The letter implied the Arizona state senate’s review of the 2020 presidential election results is illegitimate, using the term “so-called audit” and putting the word “audit” in parentheses. It also complained about the firm commissioned to conduct the work, Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors.
Klain and other co-signers said they believe:
[T]he senate and its agents, including Cyber Ninjas are 1) violating their duty under federal law to retain and preserve ballots cast in a federal election, which are and have been in danger of being stolen, defaced, or irretrievably damaged, and 2) preparing to engage in conduct which will constitute unlawful voter intimidation in violation of the Voting Rights Act and other federal laws.
They claimed the DOJ has the authority to monitor the audit under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, arguing DOJ monitoring is “critical to the protection of civil rights and the enforcement of voting rights and election laws.”
The signees claimed, based on media reports, that after Maricopa County election officials handed over the approximately 2.1 million ballots to the state senate and Cyber Ninjas, “they began exposing the ballots to damage, destruction, and loss, in violation of federal law.”
The letter complained authorized observers to the audit were 70 percent Republican, citing a press conference by senate liaison for the audit and former Secretary of State Ken Ben Arizona nett.
However, the letter did not include Bennett’s statement that state Democrats were trying to keep people from volunteering as observers and his appeal for Democrats to volunteer to be an observer. He said at minute 13:45, “We want as many from all parties as possible.”
The letter said the signees are concerned about “prospective” violations of laws prohibiting voter intimidation due to the audit’s Statement of Work, which includes questioning voters and generating reports on unlawful voters. These tactics could cause “fear,” they wrote.
Just six days after the letter was sent, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division sent a letter to Sen. Karen Fann, the president of the Arizona State Senate.
“The Department has reviewed available information, including news reports and complaints regarding the procedures being used for this audit,” wrote Pamela S. Karlan principal deputy assistant attorney general in a May 5, 2021, letter:
Karlan’s letter echoed the complaints made in Klain’s letter — namely that ballots and other election materials “are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors at an insecure facility, and are at risk of being lost, stolen, altered, compromised or destroyed.”
Her letter also similarly cited Cyber Ninjas’ statement of work, which listed means of which it will verify lawful voter registrations, including by contacting voters. “This description of the proposed work of the audit raises concerns regarding potential intimidation of voters,” Karlan wrote.
“Such investigative efforts can have a significant intimidating effect on qualified voters that can deter them from seeking to vote in the future,” she wrote.
The letter did not mention deploying federal monitors to the audit, but asked for a response to the concerns and to know what steps the Arizona Senate is taking to ensure violations of the federal law do not occur.
A recent NPR article on the letter noted Karlan’s letter “followed a request by the Brennan Center for Justice and voting rights organization,” but did not mention Biden’s chief of staff’s daughter was one of the signatories.
A recent Sunday Times piece touted her father’s power as chief of staff for Biden, noting how “Washington insiders” call him “President Klain.”
The piece continues:
[H]is firm grip on the levers of government has enabled the 78-year-old president to cruise through his first 100 days in office without breaking a sweat. Everybody who is anybody in Washington knows Klain, although few people outside the Beltway — the ring road surrounding the capital — have heard of him. He is a powerful, confident operator who knows the business of government inside out.
“Trusted to exercise power and take decisions, he keeps his boss informed while lifting the burden of office from him,” it read. “He is determined to secure Biden’s place in the pantheon of presidents, with Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, who built the American welfare state.”
Close to Biden, the Klain is a Harvard law graduate who served as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee as a 27-year-old when Biden was chairman, according to the Times.
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