Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, during a Dec. 5 appearance on Fox’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, called “frightening” a recent report alleging that the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, under Governor-elect Katie Hobbs, colluded with Twitter to censor free speech.
“It is frightening what’s happening with Twitter,” Lake said. “This is a propaganda arm of our government.”
The bombshell revelation erupted on social media on Dec. 3 and came from documents filed (pdf) in the case Missouri v. Biden on Aug. 21, where Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt alleges Big Tech censorship at the behest of the Biden administration. One example of the hundreds included in the evidence was from Arizona’s Secretary of State office to Twitter requesting that specific tweets be removed as early as January 2021.
Many prominent Republicans took to Twitter to voice their outrage over the report, including Trump attorney Christina Bobb, who called the news “Unreal.”
The heavily-redacted document shows an email exchange originating from the communications director at Hobbs’s Arizona Secretary of State’s office on Jan. 7, 2021, to a contact at the Center for Internet Security (CIS), a nonprofit cybersecurity organization. There, the email’s author flagged a Twitter account for review under the subject line “Misinformation Reports.” Included in the email were links to two tweets that were “of specific concern to the Secretary of State” because they were “an attempt to further undermine confidence in the election institution in Arizona.”
CIS then forwarded the email to a contact at Twitter, saying: “Please see this report below from the Arizona SOS office. Please let me know if you have any questions.”
The Twitter contact responded with, “We will escalate.” Seven hours later, the same contact at Twitter replied to CIS, writing, “Both Tweets have been removed from the service.” Also copied on the response was a redacted employee at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
This documented incident didn’t happen during Lake’s gubernatorial run; she announced her campaign in June 2021, but the evidence raises questions in Lake’s mind about how Hobbs handled her election process as Arizona’s secretary of state while also running her own campaign for governor.
“At one point, my Twitter page got taken down because they didn’t like one of the tweets I put up during the election,” Lake told Fox News. “It makes me wonder who was behind that.”
Hobbs, as Arizona’s secretary of state, serves as the state’s top election officer. Lake, who has long contended that Hobbs should have recused herself from that position while also running for governor, went to Twitter on Sunday, calling the revelation of the secretary of state’s alleged collusion with Big Tech to censor free speech “Conflict of Interest, Coercion, Corruption.”
Despite officials in Arizona certifying the gubernatorial race results on Dec. 5 with Hobbs as victor, Lake refuses to concede the election, citing election fraud, and she pledged to Tucker Carlson’s audience to keep fighting.
“We’re going to be drawing up some lawsuits in our election because we won’t have elections that are run like they’re run in third-world countries,” she said.
“The people have had enough,” she said. “We are sick of Katie Hobbs’s office and the secretary of state’s office, and what they’ve been up to.”
Hobbs’s Office Defends Request for Tweet Removal
The office of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, now governor-elect, has defended its decision to ask Twitter to censor two tweets in early 2021 in a statement to local media outlets.
According to Tucson.com, Hobbs’s communication officer Murphy Hebert sent an email on Jan. 7, 2021—just one day after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach—to CIS identifying two tweets that were critical of Hobbs. Herbert described CIS as a “clearinghouse” that election officials from across the country use to combat what they believe to be misinformation.
In the email to CIS, Hebert included the screenshots of the two tweets and wrote, “Reason: These messages falsely assert that the Voter Registration System is owned and operated by foreign actors. This is an attempt to further undermine confidence in the election institution in Arizona.”
According to a Daily Caller report, both tweets identified by Hobbs’s office were authored by the Twitter user “@normal_every.” One of them read, “Is our entire election system foreign-owned?” and the other included images of “a tender submitted by Sutherland listing two subcontractors for the project.” Additionally, the posts tagged several prominent officials including former Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
The news outlet explained that the tweet referred to Sutherland Global Services Inc., a New York-registered corporation owned by Indian-born businessman Dilip P. Vellodi, “which Arizona had contracted to help set up a voter database that is maintained and controlled by the state.”
The tweets were deleted and the account remains suspended, according to the Daily Caller.
Arizona Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones defended Hobbs’s office’s actions in a statement that was published on the Arizona Family news site on Dec. 5. “It is standard practice for government entities, organizations, and corporations alike to report content on social media that violates a platform’s terms of service,” she said.
Bones went on to explain: “It’s the Secretary of State’s job to make sure that voters are informed about how to vote and how our election system works. One of the ways we do that is by working to counter disinformation online that can confuse voters.”
NTD has reached out to Twitter for comment.