Less than a day after a bombshell recording of a conversation in which he seemingly attempted to bribe Kari Lake to stay out of politics for two years surfaced, Arizona Republican Party Chair Jeff DeWit has resigned, and had some harsh words for Lake in his resignation statement.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Statement from Chairman @JeffDeWitAZ
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) January 24, 2024
DeWit admits that the conversation between himself and Lake occurred, but says that the recording that was released was “selectively edited” and “taken out of context.” He says that Lake worked for him in his “private company” at the time and the conversation was one between an employer and employee, and that the release of the recording was “not just a betrayal of trust but also a violation of the fiduciary responsibilities of an employee.”
It seems odd to claim that a conversation in which he told Lake that “there are very powerful people who want to keep you out” of the U.S. Senate race and, that she could basically name her price to stay out of politics for two years, and which he begged her to not disclose to anyone because he feared he’d be targeted for a car-bombing assassination — and in which she was being offered generic positions in companies that were not his — has something to do with her fiduciary responsibilities to his company, presumably Superfeed.
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.
Or, is DeWit’s allegation here that if Lake’s recording somehow harms his business because it showed potentially illegal actions by the owner, that’s a breach of fiduciary duty? That’s an interesting argument.
DeWit says that Lake’s team sent him an ultimatum Wednesday morning that unless he resigned by the end of the day, “a new, more damaging recording” may be released. He says:
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.
Assuming that the full context of the recording already released and any future recordings don’t change the current view that it’s an overt attempt to threaten/intimidate/bribe, is it an attack to bring that information forward? Or is it simply holding people accountable?
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.
Yes, we are weakened by internal strife, underhanded tactics, and the erosion of trust, but many would submit that it’s the underhanded tactics of the “very important people back east” causing the internal strife and erosion of trust. Until those very important people figure out that the people outside of Washington, D.C., are sick of their shenanigans and refuse to go along with them, the Republican party nationally is going to continue to be massively divided, as we’re seeing in the battle between the elite donors who back Nikki Haley and just about everyone else.
DeWit’s deflection cannot be taken seriously by any thinking person. One can conclude that those very important people have been blowing up his phone with all sorts of ultimatums and threats. While what DeWit did – and his statement Wednesday – is vile, he can start to fix the situation by coming clean about who those very important people are.