Private company pledges to protect voter information

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The company president hired by state Senate Republicans for $270,000 in taxpayer money to conduct their election investigation vowed on Tuesday to be fair and protect sensitive voter information, but declined to discuss company procedures.

Steve Lahr, the founder of Iowa-based Envoy Sage LLC, touted his more than three decades of experience during a Tuesday media call with State Senator Cris Dush, of R-Clinton County. , chairman of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, which is pushing the investigation, but declined to provide details.

“Our function here is to provide the committee with clarification, facts and analysis,” Lahr said.

Lahr said his firm’s efforts would focus on the integrity of the 2020 general and 2021 primary elections, voter submissions made online about possible election irregularities, documents related to the audit of previous elections and making recommendations on possible election integrity legislation.

Citing the Democratic court’s challenge to a subpoena from Dush’s committee seeking voter information from the Pennsylvania State Department, Lahr said he would not discuss his company’s proceedings.

On several occasions, however, Lahr referred to his company’s handling of classified documents and personal information using protocols that meet Department of Defense standards.

“I have been conducting complex research, investigations, audits and analysis for over 35 years. This experience was first gained in the military and then in the private sector,” Lahr said. “In both areas, I have built and led teams that have been successful in delivering crucial information and intelligence.”

Asked about his company’s experience with elections, Lahr declined to answer, instead pointing to his company’s classified work for the military and handling sensitive information.

Continued:Will Pennsylvania Republicans issue subpoenas for voter information? Why the effort is on hold

Why Republicans want an election audit

In his opening remarks, Dush said Pennsylvania is “at a crossroads” when it comes to votes trusting election results.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that people can have confidence in our elections and its process and we must earn their trust,” he said.

“To do that, we need to know where the weaknesses and strengths in our system are and make the appropriate changes to address those weaknesses.”

But Dush declined to answer questions about how Envoy Sage was selected or what action would be taken if the company identified any issues.

And Lahr did not respond to questions about the number of employees at his company or who would work specifically on the election investigation, saying only that his company has the flexibility to add people if the need arises. feel.

Continued:Hearing Pa.: What we know as Senate Republicans investigate presidential election

GOP links?

Sen. Cris Dush (R., Jefferson), who resumed and renewed the election investigation in August after it had been dormant for months, said any legislative fixes to the voter registration system will come after the end of the investigation.

As Democrats described the election survey as a partisan Republican lark designed to please former President Donald Trump, who lost Pennsylvania last year, Lahr also faced questions about the donations he has facts in the name of Republicans.

The Associated Press reported that Lahr made donations to the Republican National Committee in Congress and Republican U.S. Senator from South Carolina, Lindsay Graham.

Lahr said he has endorsed Democratic and Republican candidates in the past and worked for Democratic and Republican administrations.

“I consider myself to be bipartisan and just, and I will continue to conduct myself as such,” he said.

Continued:Pennsylvania lawmakers think they’ve found a way to avoid another constitutional amendment snafu

“Costly Witch Hunt”

Democratic Leader of State Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, speaks during a meeting of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

On Friday, Democratic Senate Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County criticized Republicans for initially saying a contractor would not be hired until the legal challenge is settled.

He hit out at Republicans for withholding envoy Sage, as well as blocking Democrats on Dush’s committee from participating in the selection process.

“This is an action in bad faith by the Senate Republican Caucus,” Costa said. “They agreed to wait, then hired their own company to carry out this wasteful, costly, political witch hunt.”

Costa said he finds it “particularly troubling that they’re accelerating this Trumpian sideshow” the same week Senate Pro Tempore Chairman Jake Corman of Center County announced his candidacy for governor.

“That’s not good government,” Costa said, “that’s bad politics.”

Continued:Here’s why state senator Doug Mastriano says Pennsylvania’s election audit ‘has stopped for now’

JD Prose is a reporter for the State Capital Bureau of the USA TODAY Network. He can be contacted at jprose@gannett.com.


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