CORRUPTION: Arizona GOP head Jeff DeWit Stepping Down After Leaked Audio Tapes

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DeWit accuses Kari Lake of orchestrating the tapes to take control of the state party

PHOENIX — The head of the Arizona GOP is stepping down after audio tapes with U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake were released, where he reportedly offered Lake money to stay out of this year’s senate race to focus on running for governor.

Chairman Jeff DeWit released a statement Wednesday where he adamantly denied Lake’s accusation, but also announced his resignation.

He accuses Lake’s team of threatening to share another “more damaging” recording if he did not resign.

DeWit says the recorded conversation that was released took place while Lake was employed by his private company, and added, “the ethical breach in her recording of our conversation, while Lake was my employee, raises serious legal and moral concerns.”

He adds that he believes his decision to step down at this point will get rid of the “distraction” it has caused, and that his actions “will always reflect what’s best for Arizona Republicans.”

Lake told KTAR Radio Wednesday that she called on Dewit to resign because the conversation was “disrespectful and unethical.” Lake also told KTAR that she has had a strained relationship with DeWit since the conversation occurred.

DeWit’s Full Statement

In light of the recent revelation that Kari Lake has released a selectively edited audio recording of our private conversation, I must clearly address this deceptive tactic. The recording, from over ten months ago, is not only taken out of context but also undermines the integrity of private discussions critical for party leadership.

As Chairman, my primary duty is to strengthen our party, which often involves challenging dialogues and strategic decisions. These conversations are meant to assess and enhance the viability of our candidates. The truth is, when I took the helm, our party was in disarray – financially unstable, organizationally weak, and lacking in momentum. Today, we have made significant improvements in acquiring a new office headquarters, legal victories for election integrity, and historic fundraising achievements.

Contrary to the notion of me being an enemy of Lake’s, this conversation was recorded while I was actually employing Lake in my private company. In fact, for over a year and a half we had many conversations where I was looking out for her financial interests. The ethical breach in her recording of our conversation, while Lake was my employee, raises serious legal and moral concerns. This act of recording was not just a betrayal of trust but also a violation of the fiduciary responsibilities of an employee. Contrary to accusations of bribery, my discussions were transparent and intended to offer perspective, not coercion. Our relationship was based on friendship, and the conversation that is now being scrutinized was an open, unguarded exchange between friends in the living room of her house. I genuinely believed I was offering a helpful perspective to someone I considered a friend.

Lake has a massive megaphone that I cannot compete with. I am just a business and financial guy that got recruited into this unpaid role that demands the amount of time of roughly two full time jobs – nights, weekends, holidays, and more are all workdays. My motivation for accepting this position was that I wanted to contribute positively, with the primary focus being the betterment of Arizona and our nation through the election of competent individuals. While there is much more that I could express, I must refrain from defending myself, as it could potentially undermine this objective.

Since our conversation where I advised Lake to postpone her campaign and aim for the Governor’s position in two years, she has been on a mission to destroy me. It was a suggestion made in good faith, believing it could benefit both her future prospects and the party’s overall strategy. The release of our conversation by Lake confirms a disturbing tendency to exploit private interactions for personal gain and increases concerns about her habit of secretly recording personal and private conversations. This is obviously a concern given how much interaction she has with high profile people including President Trump. I question how effective a United States Senator can be when they cannot be trusted to engage in private and confidential conversations.

I said things I regret, but I realize when hearing Lake’s recording that I was set up. I believe she orchestrated this entire situation to have control over the state party, and it is obvious from the recording that she crafted her performance responses with the knowledge that she was recording it, intending to use this recording later to portray herself as a hero in her own story.

This morning, I was determined to fight for my position. However, a few hours ago, I received an ultimatum from Lake’s team: resign today or face the release of a new, more damaging recording. I am truly unsure of its contents, but considering our numerous past open conversations as friends, I have decided not to take the risk. I am resigning as Lake requested, in the hope that she will honor her commitment to cease her attacks, allowing me to return to the business sector—a field I find much more logical and prefer over politics.

I am a proud supporter of President Trump, having worked diligently as the COO & CFO of his 2016 campaign, served in his Administration for two years, and returned as the COO of the 2020 campaign. Like many Republicans, I am eager to see him return to the White House, bringing back low inflation, a secure border, and economic growth. President Trump is not only a successful businessman but also a passionate Patriot. We have both faced the challenge of dealing with unauthorized recordings, a situation no one should endure. While I have occasionally critiqued some of his endorsements, my admiration for his character has never faltered. My dedication remains with Arizona Republicans, our commendable elected officials, and candidates who are champions of freedom, as well as my friends in the Trump campaign, united in our goal to reclaim the White House.

Our party’s focus should be unity, integrity, and the selection of candidates who can truly lead and represent our values. We are weakened by internal strife, underhanded tactics, and the erosion of trust. As someone who has dedicated countless unpaid hours to this cause, I hope that every future party Chairman is as committed to steering our party towards a future that embodies our core principles of unity, respect, and professionalism.

In closing, my actions will always reflect what’s best for Arizona Republicans, our commendable elected officials, and our mission to reclaim the White House. This is all such a distraction to that mission that I am doing as Ms. Lake wishes and am stepping down as Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.

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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


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