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Arizona governor calls for ethics review of former Attorney General Mark Brnovich

The governor's office alleges that "likely unethical conduct" took place during Brnovich's investigation into 2020 election fraud claims.

PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs is calling on the Arizona State Bar to investigate former Attorney General Mark Brnovich over "likely unethical conduct," after documents from his election-fraud review showed he concealed significant findings.

A letter to the State Bar from Hobbs' general counsel, Bo Dul, included a link to investigative documents from Brnovich's election review. The documents were released Wednesday by Brnovich's Democratic successor, Kris Mayes.

"I urge the State Bar to review these files and take any appropriate action," according to Dul's letter.

The Washington Post was the first media organization to report on the letter, on Saturday. 12News obtained the letter through a public records request to the governor's office.

Already, eight Bar charges have been filed against Brnovich since the documents' release by Mayes.

"The State Bar has received charges against Mark Brnovich related to the election audit issue. The charges are in the prescreening process.  There is no further public information available," Bar spokesman Joe Hengemuehler said in a prepared statement.

A Bar charge is the first step in investigating potential violations of Arizona's Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys.

A Bar charge could lead to a formal complaint against the state's former top prosecutor and possible discipline by the State Bar.

Whatever the outcome, the process could take many months.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Brnovich dismissed Hobbs' letter.

“This is another misguided attempt by her to defame and cancel a political opponent instead of addressing the serious issues facing our state,” Brnovich said.

The two-term Republican left office in early January. 

Brnovich has previously said that he was proud of his office's work on election integrity. 

Dul's letter to the State Bar noted that Brnovich's election review appears to have overlapped with his office's negotiations with the State Bar over separate allegations of ethics violations. 

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Here are the three big takeaways from the documents Mayes released:

1. In March 2022, Brnovich's Special Investigations Section submitted a report debunking virtually all claims of wrongdoing in Maricopa County's conduct of the 2020 election. That report was never made public.            

2. In April 2022, an email from chief special agent Reginald Grigsby was forwarded to Brnovich's chief of staff. The email included several refutations of claims in a draft "interim report" that Brnovich was preparing for Republican Senate President Karen Fann. Fann had authorized the Senate's partisan election review of the 2020 results. 

The investigators' refutations weren't included in the final report to Fann later in the month. That report cited "serious concerns" with the 2020 election.

3. In September 2022, Grigsby authored an "Election Review Summary" that was sent to the chief lawyer for the AG office's Criminal Division. 

The summary covered 430 investigations that entailed more than 10,000 hours of work.     

The memo debunked the "high-profile matters," such as allegations resulting from the Cyber Ninjas election review. 

You can read the full letter from the governor's office below:


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