Arizona GOP Chair Asked Kari Lake How Much To Bow Out of Senate Race

The Epoch Times | by Caden Pearson | January 24, 2024

Source: Arizona GOP chair resigns, claiming Kari Lake’s explosive recording was a ‘set up’; Lake campaign fires back | Fox News


theNational.buzz Summary:

  • Kari Lake, a GOP Senate candidate in Arizona, has called for the resignation of the state’s Republican Party chair, Jeff DeWit, after an audio recording surfaced suggesting that powerful figures offered her money to leave politics.
  • The recording reveals Mr. DeWit making multiple offers, including a two-year pause in her political career, in exchange for her stepping away from the Senate race. However, Lake firmly rejects each offer, emphasizing her commitment to standing with President Trump against corruption in Washington, D.C.
  • Lake expressed frustration with the attempted bribery, stating that she couldn’t be bought for even a billion dollars, and described those behind the offer as un-American and unethical.

UPDATE: AZ GOP Chair Resigns Amid Audio Bribes (Jeff DeWitt’s letter of resignation can be read in full at the end of this article. Arizona GOP Chairman resigns: Jeff DeWit was at center of audio recording controversy (fox10phoenix.com)

Arizona GOP Senate candidate Kari Lake called for the state’s Republican Party chair, Jeff DeWit, to resign after an audio recording surfaced of him appearing to present Ms. Lake with an offer of money to leave politics.

The recording, published by The Daily Mail, dates back to last March and features a conversation between Ms. Lake and Mr. DeWit. The audio suggests that the Arizona GOP chair brought an offer from unspecified “powerful people” in exchange for Ms. Lake stepping away from the political scene for two years.

“He’s got to resign,” Ms. Lake insisted during an interview with an NBC reporter on Tuesday night, just before former President Donald Trump’s appearance at his New Hampshire primary victory party.

“We can’t have somebody who’s corrupt and compromised running the Republican Party,” she added.

In the recording, Mr. DeWit is heard suggesting that powerful figures want Ms. Lake to stay out of the Senate race for two years. Ms. Lake, however, vehemently rejects the proposal, emphasizing her commitment to standing with President Trump against corruption in Washington, D.C.

“There are very powerful people who wanna keep you out. But they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is in a big way. So this conversation never happened,” Mr. DeWit is heard saying in the recording.

Ms. Lake responds firmly: “This is crazy though. They should want me. I’m a great candidate. People love me. These people are corrupt.”

As the conversation progresses, Mr. DeWit implies that the motive behind the offer is not control or agenda but the ability to raise money to win elections. Ms. Lake, however, remains resolute, expressing frustration that unnamed figures would attempt to buy her out rather than work with her.

The recording reveals Mr. DeWit making multiple offers, even suggesting that Ms. Lake could take a pause for a couple of years and then resume her political career. Ms. Lake adamantly rejects each offer, stating that the issue is not about money but the good of the country.

After being asked to name her price, Ms. Lake responds that she could not be bought for even a billion dollars. She appears frustrated with the attempt to influence her political decisions and expresses a commitment to standing with President Trump against Washington corruption.

Following the publication of the recording, Ms. Lake said: “I want corruption rooted out of our government. I don’t care if it’s on the Democrat side or the Republican side. We are going to root out corruption.”

She expressed admiration for President Trump, highlighting his resistance to corruption and pledging to give the government back to the people.

Last March, Ms. Lake teased that she had been presented with a bribe on behalf of “some powerful people back east” to stay out of the Senate race. The recording has now been released 10 months later, ahead of the state party’s annual meeting on Saturday.

The Epoch Times could not independently verify the recording and contacted Ms. Lake’s team and the Arizona GOP for additional comment.

Recording: ‘I Can’t Be Bought’

Here is a summary of the audio recording:

“There are very powerful people who wanna keep you out. But they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is in a big way. So this conversation never happened,” Mr. DeWit says in the recording.

Ms. Lake replies: “This is crazy though. They should want me. I’m a great candidate. People love me. These people are corrupt.”

The Arizona Senate candidate expresses frustration that these unnamed figures would rather bribe her to leave politics than work with her “because they don’t own me.”

He denies that it’s about ownership or control but that “they want you to be on their team.”

“But if they’re pushing a globalist agenda, I can’t do that,” she says. “So what do they want? What do they want me to do?” Ms. Lake asks.

“They want you to stay out for two years.”

Ms. Lake scoffs and laughs.

“So, this is what I can offer you … So, the ask I got today from back east was: ‘Is there any companies out there or something that could just put her on the payroll to keep her out?’” Mr. Dewit says.

Ms. Lake says, “This is about defeating Trump, and I think that’s a bad, bad thing for our country.”

“This is about the final death blow to Trump, and I don’t think that’s good for our country,” she adds. “It’s not good for our country, Jeff.”

“It’s not,” he responds, “but at the same time I’m not even sure Trump can win again.”

Mr. DeWit says that in his view, asking Ms. Lake to leave politics is “not really about control or agenda, it’s about the ability to raise money to win.”

“If they’re going to steal the election to make me and our movement go away, I’m not letting them do that. I owe it to the people of Arizona to carry their torch and their voice.”

“Or,” he cuts in, “you don’t go away. But you pause.”

“This is … the battle is right now, Jeff.”

“You pause.”

“No,” she says. “The battle is right now. The battle is right now. And we don’t have time to pause on this battlefield.”

Becoming indignant, Ms. Lake says she’s offended by “whoever these people are … that these people people don’t give a [expletive] about our country.”

Mr. DeWit suggests she sees it as an honor they’re making the bribe, as it “means they know how powerful you are.”

‘Is There a Number?’

As Ms. Lake tries to wrap up the conversation, he makes another offer.

“Just say, is there a number at which … ” he says, before she cuts in, asking: “I can be bought? That’s what it’s about.”

“You can take a pause for a couple of years,” he counters. “You can go right back to what you’re doing.”

Ms. Lake repeatedly rebuffs him and says she wouldn’t do it for a billion dollars.

“This is not about money, it’s about our country,” she says.

Angry, Ms. Lake says: “I’m not going to let these people who hate our [expletive] country tell me not to run. You should call them and tell them to get behind me. I can win and they should get behind me.”

He later pitches the thought that she could have “a bigger voice to fight for stuff,” having already suggested becoming a “talking head.”

“I don’t want to deal with people like this. These people are un-American and I think they’re unethical, and I would be absolutely immoral if I did that. That’s immoral. I couldn’t I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror,” she says.

“It’s just, it’s very powerful people that are willing to … they really want someone different, they want new names,” he says.

Ms. Lake expressed frustration with the bribe, saying she’s offended they’re “trying to buy me out,” and that these people “just don’t give a [expletive] about our country.”

Mr. DeWite responds: “Do you understand though? You should be honored that that means they know how powerful you are.”

“Very few people get this,” he adds.

“I’m [expletive] that they don’t care more about our country,” she says. “It’s all about the mighty dollar to them. And that’s offensive.”

‘The Swamp Doesn’t Pre-Approve of Me’

As Ms. Lake appears to usher Mr. DeWit away, he makes his final pitch, including suggesting that he might be killed if he were to publicly expose the figures behind the bribe.

“You know what it is? The people don’t get to choose their elected officials unless they’re pre-approved by the swamp. And the swamp doesn’t pre-approve of me.”

“You need a strong party to win,” Mr. DeWit counters.

“I think you should go public with this and then say, hey, these people don’t want …” she says, before he cuts in.

“Then I turn my key in my car and just,” he makes the sound of an explosion.

“Tell them I’m not flattered. I’m offended that they …”

“Don’t tell anybody we had this conversation.”

“I’m offended that they don’t care about our country more,” she says.

“I actually wish you just give me a counteroffer this big. Give me a counteroffer.”

“I can’t, I can’t be bought. I can’t.”

“Come on,” he says.

The recording was first reported by The Daily Mail.

The full letter released by DeWit (source: Arizona GOP Chairman resigns: Jeff DeWit was at center of audio recording controversy (fox10phoenix.com))

Jeff DeWit

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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