Pa. GOP lawmaker — and Trump ally — Mastriano initiates ‘forensic investigation’ into state elections
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams.
(*This story was updated at 11:26 a.m. on Wednesday, 7/7/21 to include the text of the letter that Sen. Doug Mastriano sent to county officials)
A Republican state senator close to former President Donald Trump has announced he will pursue a legislative audit of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.
Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, said Wednesday that he had sent letters to “several counties” asking for “information and materials” needed to conduct a “forensic investigation” of the 2020 general election and the 2021 primary.
“This investigation is not about overturning the results of either election,” he wrote in an opinion piece sent to Pennsylvania news outlets. “The goals are to restore faith in the integrity of our system, confirm the effectiveness of existing legislation on the governance of elections, and identify areas for legislative reform.”
Mastriano, who has promoted false claims of a stolen election, did not respond to a request for comment.
In the op-Ed, the central Pennsylvania lawmaker did not specify which counties he had requested information from.
However, he set a July 31 deadline for the counties to respond with a plan to comply. The counties also represent “different geographical regions” and “differing political makeups,” Mastriano said in the opinion piece. He added that it will be a “balanced investigation.”
A forensic investigation of our election results and processes for the 2020 General Election and the 2021 Primary will go a long way to restore trust in our system.https://t.co/mIL0lqhYIr
— Senator Doug Mastriano (@SenMastriano) July 7, 2021
Mastriano is the chairman of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, a seldom-used committee that typically does not handle election issues. It had only met once this year before Mastriano’s announcement.
Mastriano also chaired the committee during the 2019-20 session, and the committee met just three times, holding votes on regulatory issues. Though unmentioned in Mastriano’s release, all Senate committees have subpoena power.
The audit comes after a months-long campaign by Trump, who amped up baseless claims of voter fraud after his loss in the 2020 election. Trump has pushed for similar audits to be conducted in swing states across the country.
In May, Mastriano joined by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin, and Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, toured the Arizona facility where a GOP-backed audit was being conducted.
After colleagues visit Arizona, top Pa. Senate Republican weighs election audit; House GOP says no
“The damage to our election process will not be undone with the passing of time. I believe the only way to restore confidence in our commonwealth’s election process is to undertake a forensic investigation. By doing this, faith in our election system will be restored,” Mastriano said.
He added: “The people of our commonwealth should have confidence that their vote counts. It takes accountability and transparency to ensure that our elections are free and fair.”
First elected in a 2019 special election, Mastriano has built a reputation as a popular grassroots conservative for his vocal opposition to Gov. Tom Wolf during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also was among Trump’s loudest supporters as the former president cast doubt in the 2020 election.
Mastriano was photographed outside the U.S. Capitol on the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection, but has said that he did not participate.
Mastriano requested a taxpayer-funded hearing on election fraud that featured Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani in Gettysburg. He also attended the Jan. 6 rally that ended with the storming of the U.S. Capitol, although Mastriano said he did not enter the building.
Mastriano has also taken steps to run for governor, including holding small, grassroots events across the state. He’s also claimed Trump has encouraged him to run, a claim Trump’s own advisers have pushed back on.
Read the letter that York County received from Mastriano’s office:
York RFI and Exhibit a Letter by jmicek on Scribd
Originally published at www.penncapital-star.com,by Marley Parish