Calls for investigations grow over Katie Hobbs' alleged use of Twitter censorship, 1A issues
"What else did Katie Hobbs have removed?" asked Christina Bobb, attorney for Donald Trump for President 2024. "And how much censorship took place under her office?"
As Arizona certified its election on Monday, calls for investigations into Secretary of State Katie Hobbs have grown since her office allegedly flagged a Twitter account for review, which led to two tweets being removed.
An email surfaced on Saturday that showed Hobbs' office flagging a Twitter account on Jan. 7, 2021 for review. The message emerged during discovery in a First Amendment lawsuit filed in May by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry against President Joe Biden alleging collusion between the administration and Big Tech in a sprawling censorship enterprise.
Under the subject line "Election Related Misinformation," Hobbs' communications director cited two tweets from an account that were of "specific concern to the Secretary of State."
In explaining the reason for the state intervention to seek suppression of the offending speech, the comms director said only:
"These messages falsely assert that the Voter Registration System is owned and therefore operated by foreign actors.
"This is an attempt to further undermine confidence in the election institution in Arizona."
The email was sent to the nonprofit Center for Internet Security, which forwarded it to Twitter. "Both Tweets have been removed from the service" Twitter replied in an email copied to the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Hobbs' communications director didn't respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Lake's campaign Twitter account replied to the account that originally posted the email, saying they would "potentially" pass the email "along to the attorneys."
The campaign account then tweeted on Sunday regarding the email from the secretary of state's office:
"This certainly didn't stop with private citizens
"Did @katiehobbs work to censor @KariLake?
"Did she interfere against @bgmasters?
"How about @AbrahamHamadeh?
"What about her primary opponents?"
Christina Bobb, attorney for Donald Trump for President 2024, asked on Real America's Voice's "War Room" TV show Monday: "What else did Katie Hobbs have removed? And how much censorship took place under her office?"
While noting the email was from before both Hobbs' and Lake's bids for governor were announced, Bobb said, "I also expect this probably wasn't the only email that [Hobbs' office] sent."
Hobbs should have noted when she announced her candidacy for governor "that she was censoring people," Bobb added.
"She had the opportunity — she could've made an open platform," Bobb continued, "a website, saying, 'This is where all of the censored information is going,' so at least people can see what she's censoring and make their own decisions about what should and should not be censored. But they didn't do that, they kept it hidden and they violated, I would say, the First Amendment of many of their constituents by requesting that they be silenced, potentially campaign contribution violations.
"We don't know yet — the investigation is still going — but if she was censoring people who were promoting Kari Lake, then that's certainly a campaign violation because it's effectively the opposite of advertising, right? She's suppressing advertisements of her opponent, and she would receive some benefit for that."
The Twitter account of Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, who was the GOP secretary of state nominee, was suspended just before Election Day, but was then restored the same day by new Twitter owner/CEO Elon Musk.
Finchem retweeted a post that asked if Hobbs "was the one who got @RealMarkFinchem banned 4 weeks ago during the campaign season, her replacement."
Meanwhile, GOP attorney general nominee Abe Hamadeh's campaign account tweeted Sunday about an investigation into Hobbs.
"The Secretary of State was working with the federal government and Big Tech to silence free speech and political dissent in an election that she was on the ticket for," the account alleged. "This needs to be fully investigated."
Also on Sunday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called for a federal investigation into the alleged censorship by Hobbs.
"The SOS of AZ and Gov candidate, Katie Hobbs, used the power of the AZ SOS to collude w/ Twitter to unconstitutionally violate 1st Amendment rights of Americans for her own political gain," she tweeted. "This is communism and Hobbs can not be governor. I'm calling for a Federal investigation."
On Monday The Republican Party of Arizona joined the call for a state investigation of Hobbs, tagging Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
".@GeneralBrnovich we hope you are taking a serious look into @SecretaryHobbs," the party tweeted.
"At a minimum, Arizonans deserve to know what accounts/tweets were censored.
"The First Amendment was created to protect citizens against the government, Not the other way around."
Hobbs certified the 2022 Arizona midterm election on Monday, after all but one county certified by the state deadline last Monday.
Cochise County didn't certify last Monday, but was then sued by Hobbs' office to certify. On Thursday, a judge ordered the county to certify, which they did before the end of the day. Hobbs is now asking Brnovich for an investigation into Cochise for not certifying the election by the state deadline.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors certified "under duress" on Nov. 28th after being informed by Hobbs' office that they could be referred for felony prosecution if they didn't certify. The county wanted to delay certification following widespread reports of Election Day problems in Maricopa County.
At least 72 vote centers in Maricopa County experienced issues on Election Day, from ballots rejected by tabulators to improper checkout procedures and hours-long lines for voting, according to reporting by Republican election observers filed with the Arizona attorney general's office.
The attorney general's office raised concerns regarding the county's administration of the Nov. 8 election in a Nov. 19 letter to the Maricopa County Attorney inquiring into the widespread irregularities reported in the county on Election Day. The letter gave a deadline of Nov. 28 for the county to respond.
"The Elections Integrity Unit ('Unit') of the Arizona Attorney General's Office ('AGO') has received hundreds of complaints since Election Day pertaining to issues related to the administration of the 2022 General Election in Maricopa County," Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright wrote.
"These complaints go beyond pure speculation, but include first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa's lawful compliance with Arizona election law," she said.
On Nov. 27, the county replied to the letter, saying that it followed the law on Election Day and the election problems were "regrettable." The county insisted, however, that "every lawful voter was still able to cast his or her ballot."
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to certify its election on Monday, after listening to a flood of voter complaints regarding issues they experienced trying to vote on Election Day.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- lawsuit filed in May
- email document
- Lake's campaign Twitter account replied
- retweeted a post
- Abe Hamadeh's campaign account tweeted
- tweeted about a federal investigation
- The Republican Party of Arizona tweeted
- Cochise County
- investigation into Cochise
- certified "under duress"
- 72 vote centers in Maricopa County
- letter to the Maricopa County Attorney
- county replied to the letter