Many questions remain unanswered Tuesday as to what Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate can accomplish from what they call a “forensic investigation” into last year’s presidential election, now that they have hired a contractor who did not report any electoral experience.
Senate Republicans last week hired the Iowa-based envoy Sage on a $ 270,000 contract to help run the business, fueled by pressure from former President Donald Trump and his allies in a search for fraud in the Battlefield States to substantiate their baseless claims that the election was stolen.
In a brief conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Steve Lahr, president of Envoy Sage, said the company could hire people or contractors with expertise, if needed.
Pressed for details on his goals, Lahr only said his team would review last year’s presidential election and May’s primary elections, analyze Senate GOP online appeal submissions for evidence of “electoral irregularities” and would review “documents relating to the audit of previous elections.”
Ultimately, the company aims to “provide evidence-based recommendations for future elections and voting integrity legislation,” Lahr said.
Lahr described his experience as having conducted investigations and audits, developed “crucial information and intelligence” from “extensive, complicated and sensitive investigative research and multidisciplinary analysis”, both in the military. and as a subcontractor of the Ministry of Defense.
When asked for details, he said most of them were confidential and filed at the highest levels of the federal government and the Department of Defense, and that he could not discuss these contracts.
Lahr’s former company, Silverback 7, had a long list of federal contracts.
Republican-controlled committees in the House and Senate already held hearings on last year’s election last spring and produced reports, as well as laws that Democrats opposed. A bill was opposed by Governor Tom Wolf.
Gregory Miller, chief operating officer of the California-based OSET Institute, which is dedicated to research on election infrastructure and administration, said there was no concept of an established election survey. on what Republicans are leading in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona.
But, Miller said, there are election administrators who have expertise in running elections, information technology companies who can analyze computer and network security, and voting system manufacturers who have knowledge. depth of their equipment and components.
Mark Lindeman, a political scientist who has written and consulted on post-election audits, said many people have experience of working closely with various types of electoral records and equipment, such as paper ballots, vote totals and voting records and records.
“Experience matters because novices may misinterpret routine election quirks as anomalies or evidence of fraud,” said Lindeman, who works for Verified Voting, which advocates election integrity and responsible use. electoral technology.
For example, Lindeman said, the widely discredited Republicans’ election âauditâ in Maricopa County, Arizona, was riddled with unfounded allegations based on fundamental misunderstandings.
âInexperienced partisan consultants tend to draw odious conclusions,â Lindeman said. “They shouldn’t be carrying out serious investigations.”
Lahr said he sees himself as bipartisan and fair and has no preconceived ideas about the task ahead.
However, the man who hired Lahr’s company, Senator Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, signed a letter last year urging Congress to oppose Pennsylvania election votes for Democrat Joe Biden, despite a certified victory of over 80,000 votes.
In a Facebook post on January 1, Dush proclaimed that âthere was no election. There was a scam. “
Even though Republican senators avoid repeating Trump’s baseless election claims of fraud, they have perpetuated the idea that Democrats cheated by distorting Pennsylvania election laws and the actions of courts and election officials leading up to the election of Last year.
Critics within the Republican Senate caucus have suggested that those who want a âforensic investigationâ only want Trump reinstated.
Election administrators say an audit is redundant, given the required audits already carried out by counties and state.
Meanwhile, Trump’s bogus claims of a stolen election have been refuted by the courts, his own Justice Department, and numerous recounts, and no attorney, judge or election official in Pennsylvania has raised concerns about widespread fraud.