Arizona GOP chairman resigns after leaked audio of him offering Lake cash to stay out of Senate race

"I am resigning as Lake requested, in the hope that she will honor her commitment to cease her attacks," Jeff DeWit said.

Published: January 24, 2024 2:39pm

Updated: January 24, 2024 4:24pm

Arizona GOP Chairman Jeff DeWit resigned Wednesday following the posting of a leaked audio tape in which he seemed to offer 2024 GOP Senate candidate Kari Lake money to exit the race. 

"This morning, I was determined to fight for my position," DeWit said in a statement, one day after the audio was released. "However, a few hours ago, I received an ultimatum from Lake's team: resign today or face the release of a new, more damaging recording."

The recording was made in March 2023. The state GOP has been divided over Lake continuing to publicly say – and her continuously filing lawsuits – contending she lost the 2022 governor's race as a result of election irregularities. 

DeWit also said Wednesday: "I am truly unsure of its contents, but considering our numerous past open conversations as friends, I have decided not to take the risk. I am resigning as Lake requested, in the hope that she will honor her commitment to cease her attacks, allowing me to return to the business sector—a field I find much more logical and prefer over politics."

Lake's campaign responded to DeWit's statement on Wednesday, telling Just the News, "The tape speaks for itself: The Arizona GOP Chairman Jeff DeWit attempted to bribe Kari Lake. Thankfully Kari is an extremely ethical person who rejected DeWit’s multiple attempts to offer her money and corporate board seats in exchange for Kari not running for public office. She will be an incredible Senator for Arizonans. 

"No one from the Kari Lake campaign threatened or blackmailed DeWit," the statement continued. "It is unfortunate that DeWit hasn’t recognized how unethical his behavior was and still hasn’t apologized to Arizona Republicans. 

"DeWit’s false claims are just par for the course. The Arizona GOP must be relieved to have his resignation. Now we can focus on getting ethical leadership and win big in 2024," the statement concluded.

Lake said Tuesday night, after the audiotape was posted by the Daily Mail: "He’s gotta resign. We can’t have somebody who is corrupt and compromised running the Republican Party." 

Lake has told Just the News the tape is authentic, and the Daily Mail confirmed its veracity with two sources who also identified the other speaker as DeWit.

A transcript by the Daily Mail of the exchange is below:

"Just say, is there a number at which...." DeWit started.

Lake cut in: "I can be bought? That's what it's about."

"You can take a pause for a couple of years. You can go right back to what you're doing," DeWit said.

Lake repeatedly said she wouldn't do it for millions of dollars or a billion dollars.

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