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Advocates want Cyber Ninjas, which led Ariz. ballot review, barred from federal work

The Arizona Senate hired the firm to do a partisan review of the 2020 presidential election results in a key county

Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, a company hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 8, 2021 in Phoenix. (Courtney Pedroza for The Washington Post)

PHOENIX — Four voting and democracy advocacy groups in Arizona are asking federal officials to ban Cyber Ninjas, the company hired to conduct the partisan ballot review of 2020 election results in Maricopa County, and its CEO from doing business with the federal government.

Citing work that fell below election-auditing standards, a refusal to abide by a court order to produce public records tied to the review, the promulgation of conspiracy theories and federal scrutiny tied to the operation, the advocacy organizations on Monday asked the Interagency Suspension & Debarment Committee to consider the company and its CEO Doug Logan for “debarment.” The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law sent the letter on behalf of the groups.

Suspension and “debarment actions” are intended to protect the government’s business interests from potential harm caused by poor performance or poor business integrity.

The federal government has previously awarded contracts to Cyber Ninjas, including with the Federal Communications Commission between 2016 and 2018.

“If Cyber Ninjas is permitted to continue engaging in publicly-funded operations, the company will continue to undermine confidence in our federal elections,” said the letter, obtained by The Washington Post.

“The damage Cyber Ninjas has already wreaked under its Arizona State Senate contract, along with the potential for future harm should Cyber Ninjas continue to operate as a federal government contractor, necessitate debarring Cyber Ninjas,” the letter added.

The action was requested by two nonpartisan groups, All Voting Is Local Arizona and Arizona Democracy Resource Center, and two liberal organizations, Living United for Change Arizona, and Mi Familia Vota.

Logan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Logan and Cyber Ninjas representatives have stood by the Florida-based firm’s work. In January they said the business was shutting down and laying off its workers, news that came as a judge ordered the company to pay $50,000 each day in fines until it complied with public records requests involving the ballot review to media and oversight groups.

Logan told the Associated Press he planned to start a new company and hire some Cyber Ninjas employees; the status of those plans is unclear.

Either way, the groups are seeking to make the case to federal officials that Cyber Ninjas’ work on the state-funded ballot review should disqualify it from meeting basic government-contracting standards, like being financially sound and “responsible.”

During the review, for example, tabulation machinery was left unsecured, prompting a need to replace them; the firm failed to meet its own timelines; and ballot counters erroneously had blue pens, which can alter the ballots.

The groups also questioned Logan’s own integrity and business ethics, citing his “embrace of election conspiracy theories.”

Logan made clear on social media he viewed the 2020 election results as fraudulent and claimed the election was rigged. He also wrote a document posted on former Trump attorney Sidney Powell’s website that he has said was written to help U.S. senators who planned to object to certification of electors from certain states on Jan. 6, according to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Logan had no previous election auditing experience but was hired to conduct the exercise by the state’s GOP-led Senate.

“Doug Logan’s involvement in the Arizona Senate’s audit in spite of his inability to lead an impartial audit exemplifies his own lack of the integrity and business ethics necessary to be deemed presently responsible,” the letter said.

For months, Trump hailed the review as a legitimate effort to investigate his unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud. Election experts assailed it as a deeply flawed partisan process intended to deepen doubt in the democratic process.

At its conclusion, it found no evidence of such fraud but cited flaws in the election process. It found Joe Biden won by a slightly larger margin than the official election results.

The Jan. 6 insurrection

Congressional hearings: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held a series of high-profile hearings to share its findings with the U.S. public. In what was likely its final hearing, the committee issued a surprise subpoena seeking testimony from former president Donald Trump. Here’s a guide to the biggest hearing moments so far.

Will there be charges? The committee could make criminal referrals of former president Donald Trump over his role in the attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview.

What we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6: New details emerged when Hutchinson testified before the committee and shared what she saw and heard on Jan. 6.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6.