Former Georgia Representative Vernon Jones confronted a reporter in Arizona after she questioned the funding of the Arizona audit.
How we got here: Senate Republicans in Arizona who authorized the inquiry allocated only $150,000 in state funds to pay for the audit, which could only cover a fraction of the projected cost. The rest of the money needed for the audit is believed to come from private donors as some GOP members and conservatives have launched fundraising campaigns to support the effort.
The story: This week, Jones, who is challenging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, visited Arizona to tour the 2020 election audit taking place there.
He later held a press conference where a reporter, identified as Jen Fifield, asked him if he would support such an audit if it was entirely funded by Democrats.
The reporter previously pointed out that not much is known about the private funds that are covering the costs of the inquiry, said that Republicans are fundraising for it, and even singled out OANN anchor Christina Bobb as one of the people who is trying to raise funds for the audit.
“So this is being fundraised by private entities, we don’t know who is paying for this audit. They won’t be clear about that. Many Republicans have announced they’re fundraising for it, including OANN anchor Christina Bobb,” Fifield began.
“So you’re bringing the media into it now? Jones asked.
“No…” Fifield said.
“But you did say OANN right? So you’re bringing the media into that now?” Jones interrupted.
“I was just trying to give you an example,” the reporter told Jones.
“But you brought the media into it so that makes it an open game for you,” Jones noted.
“Sure… the funding is unclear … We know that there’s Republican sources…” Fifield continued.
“It’s unclear? So you’re asking me an unclear question? So is it clear who’s funding it?” Jones asked.
“Sir, I’m not done. Can I finish my question?” Fifield asked Jones. She continued: “We know that Republicans are recruiting for the counters and Democrats have said they don’t want to be involved in this audit … So knowing that if Democrats were doing that on the other side, fundraising and recruiting, would you support an audit that was just Democrats doing it?”
Jones highlighted that political candidates largely depend on such fundraising campaigns to cover the costs of their political endeavors. He specifically pointed to Stacey Abrams and asked the reporter how she fundraises.
When the reporter said she does not cover Abrams or Georgia, Jones pushed back, saying that Abrams “is national” and claiming that she is “fundraising from George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, and all those others who were directly involved in a lot of this foolishness going on around in the country.”
He then said: “And you haven’t researched that yet? That’s because you have an angle.”
Fifield said she was covering the Arizona audit and that she is “trying to get opinions” on it.
Wll, why did you ask me who’s funding it then?” Jones asked.
“I was setting up my question,” Fifield said.
“So let me say this whoever’s funding it, is it taxpayer’s dollars? Have you done your research?” Jones pressed.
“There is $150k coming from taxpayer money,” Fifield told him.
“Taxpayers. So private money is private money. They can do what they want. Have they broken the law?” he asked. “Ma’am, I’m just asking you have private investors who invested in this, have they broken the law?
Fifield then looked at Bobb, who was present at the presser, but Jones continued: “No don’t look at her, look right here. have they broken the law? all I’m asking ma’am I want to be very respectful, here is my question, when you mention who’s funding this audit if it’s private dollars is that illegal?
“If private money is paying for a public audit, I don’t know if that breaks any laws or not,” Fifield said.
“If private money paying for a public audit? Next question,” Jones responded.
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