by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 20, 2021) — Shortly before noon on Friday, Pennsylvania Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Adams) tweeted a two-page update on his efforts to launch a forensic audit of the 2020 general election and 2021 primaries in three counties.
A retired U.S. Army Colonel holding four Master’s degrees and a Ph.D., Mastriano chairs the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee.
His news was not positive, as he wrote that the executive branch, led by Gov. Tom Wolf (D), has obstructed an audit of Mastriano’s targeted counties of Tioga, York and Philadelphia “by issuing a threat to all 67 Pennsylvania counties.”
On July 7, Mastriano announced he was launching the audit to focus, at least initially, on the three counties, requesting election-related equipment and materials by July 31.
As The Post & Email reported on July 11, the Pennsylvania Department of State on July 8 directed county elections officials not to “provide physical, electronic, or internal access to third parties seeking to copy and/or conduct an examination of state-certified electronic voting systems, or any components of such systems…”
As Mastriano indicated, the Department of State wrote that counties cooperating with such requests would see their voting equipment termed “no longer secure or reliable to use in subsequent elections.”
“In that legally questionable ‘directive’,” Mastriano wrote in his letter, “they threatened to decertify the voting machines in any county that participated in the investigation, leaving the county (taxpayers) on the hook for millions of dollars to replace machines.”
“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will not reimburse any cost of replacement voting equipment for which certification or use authority has been withdrawn pursuant to this directive,” the memo states.
“If those elections were free and fair, as Democrats insist, Democrats should have no fear of such an investigation — but they were afraid,” Mastriano continued in Friday’s missive. “…But unfortunately, it is not just Democrats who stand in the way of this investigation.”
At least two of his Republican Senate colleagues are also obstructing the investigation, Mastriano reported, one of whom he identified as Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman.
On June 14, 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump accused Corman of “fighting” an election audit in Pennsylvania. “Corman is fighting as though he were a Radical Left Democrat, saying that a Forensic Audit of Pennsylvania not take place,” Trump claimed at the time.
When The Post & Email contacted Corman’s office for comment on Trump’s assertion, the response from his spokesman was, “Hello Sharon, thank you for reaching out. Although we appreciate you contacting us ensure the Senator’s perspective is included, we have no comment at this time.”
A meeting Mastriano’s committee was to hold on issuing subpoenas due to non-cooperation from the three counties was canceled by Corman, Mastriano said.
On page 2, Mastriano claimed that subsequent meetings he held with Corman and Sen. Kim Ward purportedly to “resolve issues” proved fruitless. “We are continuously stone walled,” [sic], Mastriano wrote.
“In the meantime, I’ve been threatened with the loss of my committee chair and likewise threatened that my staff would be fired as retribution for my desire to move forward with a forensic investigation,” Mastriano reported. Further, he said, “Rumors are rife of a plan, on the part of senate leadership, to move the investigation from my committee to a different committee. I don’t know if the rumors are true. If that happens, I have little confidence that a real investigation will ever take place.”
Mastriano expressed his desire to conduct “a full investigation and not a glorified recount.” On that point, he wrote, he is “not willing to budge.”
“It was impossible,” he wrote, “to ignore the rising swell of voices across this commonwealth and country that begged for answers they weren’t receiving.”
Mastriano said he remains steadfast in his belief that “without a forensic investigation of our recent elections,” Pennsylvania voters will lack confidence in the “voting process.” “I can’t think of anything worse than that,” Mastriano concluded the letter.
Update, 2:57 p.m. EDT: Just after publishing this article, The Post & Email contacted Corman’s office for comment responsive to Mastriano’s letter and with several questions. As of the time of this update, we have not heard back from Corman.
At approximately 2:45, Mastriano tweeted that his “entire staff” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital, has been “removed” and “forced to report to” Corman.
“This petty move is unbecoming of a Senate “Leader,” Mastriano concluded his tweet.