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Lin Wood bounces back on the ‘audit’ group he supports after discovering no voter fraud in New Mexico’s Otero county

A shady “audit” of the 2020 presidential election came to an end soon, with the company behind the recount delivering thousands of dollars and announcing the finding of “no election fraud.”

Now, the company’s allies are accusing the company of “underwriting” the audit and labeling each other as liars and pedophiles.

Despite overwhelmingly voting for Donald Trump in 2020, Otero County, New Mexico has become a hub for conspiracy theorists who have falsely claimed that election fraud led to Trump’s re-election. elect. Three Otero County commissioners (one of whom would later be convicted for his role in the Capitol riots), hired the firm EchoMail to do the “audit” of the county’s 2020 election. . That audit was conducted under state and federal oversight after EchoMail’s CEO and allies were found to have promoted extravagant election conspiracy theories. But after a financial dispute with the county, EchoMail cleaned up early.

“EchoMail has fulfilled their obligations under the Contract and found no Vote Fraud as a result of their services,” an attorney for EchoMail told The Daily Beast via email.

EchoMail founder and CEO Shiva Ayyadurai, a popular right-wing election supporter, earlier in 2020, falsely claimed election fraud when he lost the Massachusetts Senate primaries. . After Trump’s defeat in November, Ayyadurai and EchoMail were hired to work on a tumultuous audit of the election of Maricopa County, Arizona. Although that audit backed President Joe Biden’s victory in Maricopa, EchoMail released a report claiming to have found discrepancies in the vote. Actual election experts in Arizona denied those claims, writing that they revealed Ayyadurai’s “lack of knowledge” about local election procedures.

Undeterred, Ayyadurai offered her services in Otero County in early 2022 and won a contract worth nearly $50,000 to do the work of checking the district’s ballots.

That contract was quickly cast into doubt. New Mexico’s state auditor, Brian Colón, opened an investigation into whether the sale was in the best interests of the taxpayer. He and other officials also kept an eye on one of EchoMail’s close allies: a sales-conspiracy Telegram group called the New Mexico Auditing Force (NMAF), which sometimes appears to act as part of EchoMail extension.

Two NMAF leaders presented on behalf of EchoMail at an Otero County committee meeting, where they also laid out a plan for NMAF members to “cover up” the county’s voter rolls by knocking on doors and Ask the people for their 2020 vote count.

Although the NMAF claimed their knocks would be nonpartisan in nature, the tactic soon got the group into legal trouble. Locals accused the NMAF of intimidation and masquerading as county officials. Those allegations prompted rebuke of state officials and another round of investigations.

“ Ayyadurai’s departure from Otero District seems to have fueled a lucrative partnership.”

Other residents of Otero County pointed to violent rhetoric from NMAF members. One of the group’s leaders, David Clements, has repeatedly called for the death of those he believes are involved in “treason”. “I want arrests, I want prosecutions, I want teams fired,” Clements said at an event about this year’s audit.

In March, the House Oversight Committee cited those comments when it announced an investigation into EchoMail’s work in Otero County. In a response letter, EchoMail denied having a relationship with NMAF — a complaint the Oversight Committee described as dubious, noting that NMAF leaders used EchoMail’s name to request records. state profile, have repeatedly described themselves as working with EchoMail and have listed EchoMail’s address as their own. (A recent draft resolution, signed by all three Otero County commissioners but never ratified, also describes NMAF and EchoMail as business partners working “in the process of implementing Election Audits.” 2020 is directed by this committee.”)

The Oversight Committee has asked EchoMail to forward contact with NMAF and county officials. At the end of March, the company refused to do so.

But two weeks after Congress’s March 31 deadline for the documents, EchoMail began withdrawing from Otero County, a new settlement showed. The document details a financial dispute between EchoMail and Otero County. (The three Otero County commissioners, the county’s manager, and its chief financial officer did not return requests for comment.)

Under the original agreement, Otero agreed to pay EchoMail $49,750: half upfront and half upon completion of the contract. The county sent EchoMail its first $24,875 payment at the end of February. By March 17, EchoMail asked for the rest of its money — a sticking point for the county, which said EchoMail hadn’t even earned its first payment yet.

“The county believes the value of services received from EchoMail is $9,750,” the settlement said. “EchoMail disputes this claim.”

The financial dispute escalated to April 15, when Otero County refused to make another payment and asked EchoMail to return $15,125 from the first pay. On April 28, the two sides settled, provided that EchoMail returned the cash and the payment “would not be considered an admission of liability by either Party”.

The settlement reaffirmed the results of EchoMail’s audit. “That is the position of EchoMail, they have fulfilled their obligations under the Contract and found no Vote Fraud as a result of their services,” the document reads.

News of the settlement was slow to reach EchoMail allies.

On Tuesday, Clements described Ayyadurai as having “cooperated with the NM Audit Force” in Otero County, but recently severed communication with the NMAF.

“After not receiving word from Shiva for a long time, I fear the worst,” Clements wrote on Telegram. “However, I was eventually able to speak with his attorney Tim Phelan. I gather from that conversation that Shiva will not be communicating with anyone involved in the audit due to a congressional subpoena for any and all communications between members of the group. audit. “

Clements, Ayyadurai and EchoMail did not return requests for comment. Phelan, an attorney for EchoMail, told The Daily Beast that “Mr. Clements is not a contractor or employee of EchoMail, nor a ‘colleague’ of Mr. Ayyadurai. Any statements attributed to this office must come directly from this office and not a third party to be considered reliable, accurate and trustworthy. “

Although EchoMail’s audit came at the expense of taxpayer Otero, Clements and other Ayyadurai allies have been promoting their own outside fundraising for the stunt. The most prominent of those fundraisers came from the “FightBack Foundation,” a conservative group run by conspiracy-inflating lawyer Lin Wood. Wood claims to have raised more than $50,000 for the Otero County audit.

But Ayyadurai’s departure from Otero County appears to have fueled a lucrative partnership, with Wood accusing Clements of misrepresenting Ayyadurai’s work.

“#FightBack’s commitment to help Otero is based on David stating that Shiva will be running that audit and is the right person for the job,” Wood wrote in a Telegram post on Tuesday. “Then Shiva bailed.”

Wood (who did not respond to a request for comment) has announced that Clements and another ally, far-right podcaster Joe Oltmann, will be leaving FightBack’s board. Wood also accused Clements of being affiliated with freemasons (a egregious sin in certain conspiracy corners on the Internet) and of writing a cryptic post urging followers to research the “Red Shoe Club,” a reference to a bogus conspiracy theory that claims people in red shoes secretly torture children. Wood’s fans were quick to share a photo of Clements wearing red shoes.

Clements denied the allegation. “I have made every effort to answer questions regarding my fiduciary duty to ensure financial transparency on behalf of #FightBack,” he wrote on Thursday. “I have been tacitly accused of being a free traitor, a thief, a liar and a pedophile, with absolutely no evidence, from the person I love.”

He added that the NMAF still intends to present its audit findings to the Otero County committee. Despite EchoMail’s findings that there was no voter fraud, Clements wrote that he believes the district’s voting machines “do not deserve to be used in Otero County.”

The Otero County Commission is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the audit’s findings.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/lin-wood-turns-on-audit-group-he-backed-after-it-finds-no-election-fraud-in-new-mexicos-otero-county?source=articles&via=rss Lin Wood bounces back on the ‘audit’ group he supports after discovering no voter fraud in New Mexico’s Otero county

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