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Arizona Republican chair resigns after recording released of alleged bribery scheme

By Stew Davidson
|
January 26, 2024
Jeff DeWit, the now-former chair of the Arizona Republican Party, has resigned after an audio leak suggested he offered current Senate candidate Kari Lake a job or money to withdraw from politics.DeWit's resignation as the chair of the Arizona GOP came swiftly following revelations from the Daily Mail.The leaked audio implicated DeWit in a conversation with Lake, in which he seemed to propose financial incentives or a prestigious job offer in exchange for her temporary withdrawal from the political scene. This controversial revelation has sent ripples through the Republican establishment and has led to intense scrutiny of the party's internal dynamics and DeWit's role in it, as the Mail reported.

Leaked audio sparks political upheaval

The leaked audio revealed DeWit discussing with Lake the possibility of powerful individuals offering her a significant position or financial reward if she chose to step back from the political arena for a two-year period.

This discussion, recorded secretly, has now become the focal point of a significant political controversy.

DeWit, in his statement of resignation, accused Lake of orchestrating a setup by recording their private conversation.

He expressed his initial determination to defend his position but later revealed receiving an ultimatum from Lake's team, threatening the release of another recording that could potentially cause further damage to his reputation.

Resignation amidst escalating tensions

DeWit's association with the Republican Party, particularly his roles in Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns and a senior position in NASA, underscored his prominence within the party.

His leadership in the Arizona Republican Party began in January of the previous year, making his abrupt departure even more significant within political circles.

The conversation between DeWit and Lake, which took place in early March 2023, was not just a casual discussion.

At that time, Lake was contemplating a potential run for the Senate, which she ultimately launched.

The revelations in the leaked audio have shed light on the behind-the-scenes attempts by certain influential figures to sway the political landscape.

Controversy over the recorded conversation

Arizona talk show host Garret Lewis was the one to publicly name DeWit as the individual in the conversation with Lake.

The audio, which the Mail obtained, has DeWit speaking of "very powerful people" interested in keeping Lake out of politics, offering her financial incentives or a prestigious position to ensure her absence from the political arena for a couple of years.

DeWit, in his resignation statement, argued that his suggestion for Lake to postpone her political ambitions was made in good faith.

He believed it would benefit her future prospects and align with the party's strategic goals.

However, he admitted to regretting certain statements made during the conversation and accused Lake of using deceptive tactics by releasing a selectively edited recording.

Response from Lake's camp and public reaction

Lake's senior advisers, Carolina Wren and Garrett, refuted any allegations of underhanded tactics from their side.

They insisted that no threats or blackmail were used against DeWit and called for him to apologize to the people of Arizona. The tape, they claimed, speaks for itself and reveals the true nature of the conversation between DeWit and Lake.

In the contentious recording, DeWit appears to be cautioning Lake, a prominent figure in the MAGA movement and a potential vice-presidential candidate for 2024, about the implications of her political ambitions.

He suggests that powerful entities are interested in sidelining her to pave the way for new leadership, signaling a shift away from Trump's influence in the party.

Tensions and implications for the Republican Party

The conversation reveals not just a proposal, but also the complex dynamics within the Republican Party.

Lake's steadfast refusal to accept defeat in the 2022 Arizona governor race had already positioned her as a controversial figure. Her strong presence on national platforms, like Fox News, where she echoed former President Donald Trump's positions, further heightened tensions within the party.

The new audio recording adds another layer to this narrative, with DeWit urging secrecy and outlining the motives behind the proposal.

He emphasizes the practical aspects of political campaigns, particularly the importance of fundraising and strategic positioning, suggesting a calculated approach to managing the party's future prospects.

Conclusion

  • Jeff DeWit resigned as chair of the Arizona Republican Party following a leaked audio suggesting a controversial proposal to Kari Lake.
  • The audio revealed discussions of financial incentives or a prestigious job offer in exchange for Lake's temporary withdrawal from politics.
  • DeWit's resignation was marked by accusations of setup and blackmail, shedding light on the intense internal dynamics within the Republican Party.
  • The incident raises critical questions about the ethical boundaries of political negotiations and the transparency of party leadership dealings.