The chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, resigned following the emergence of an audio recording in which he allegedly offered money to Kari Lake to dissuade her from entering the U.S. Senate race. Chairman Jeff DeWit termed the audio recording as “deceptive” and accused Lake of orchestrating the exchange to gain control over the state party.
DeWit asserted that the recording, made over ten months ago, was taken out of context and undermined the integrity of private discussions crucial for party leadership.
He claimed that the recording was a betrayal of trust, considering Lake was his employee at the time, and raised legal and moral concerns about her habit of secretly recording personal conversations. DeWit maintained that his discussions with Lake were transparent and aimed at offering perspective, not coercion, based on their friendship.
DeWit admitted regret over some of his statements in the recording but asserted that it was a set-up upon reviewing the tape. He accused Lake of orchestrating the situation to control the state party, alleging that she intended to use the recording later to portray herself as a hero.
DeWit claimed to have received an ultimatum from Lake’s team: resign today or face the release of a new, more damaging recording. Concerned about the contents and based on their past open conversations, DeWit chose to resign in the hope that Lake would cease her attacks, allowing him to return to the business sector.
In his statement, DeWit highlighted his proud support for Trump and his roles as the COO & CFO of Trump’s 2016 campaign, service in the Administration for two years, and return as the COO of the 2020 campaign.
The Lake campaign responded to DeWit’s statement, asserting that the tape spoke for itself, alleging that DeWit attempted to bribe Kari Lake. They emphasized Lake’s ethical stance, rejecting multiple attempts by DeWit to offer money and corporate board seats to dissuade her from running for public office.
The campaign denied any threats or blackmail, expressing disappointment that DeWit hadn’t recognized the unethical behavior and hadn’t apologized to Arizona Republicans. They viewed DeWit’s resignation as a relief for the Arizona GOP, allowing a focus on ethical leadership and a victory in 2024.