Court rejects another request to keep Arizona audit public records private

The Arizona Court of Appeals on Nov. 9 rejected another request by Cyber Ninjas to avoid turning over records related to the consulting firm’s review of the 2020 election on behalf of the state Senate.

In a 3-0 ruling, the judges reiterated the court’s earlier ruling that Cyber Ninjas records are subject to the public records law because the company was performing a core government function on behalf of the Senate. The judges rejected an argument by Cyber Ninjas that their ruling would open the records of any construction company or office-supply provider that does business with the state.

Phoenix Newspapers Inc., which owns The Arizona Republic, brought the public records case against the Senate and Cyber Ninjas.

Two Maricopa County Superior Court judges overseeing the Republic case and a separate suit brought by the watchdog group American Oversight have grown increasingly frustrated with Cyber Ninjas’ refusal to release records. Tuesday’s ruling leaves open the possibility for court-imposed sanctions against Cyber Ninjas if the company doesn’t comply.

The Senate has turned over thousands of documents, but others remain the subject of court wrangling over whether legislative immunity allows senators to keep some of them secret.

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