by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, Arizona Mirror
September 1, 2022
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters has hired two fake electors, according to his campaign finance reports.
Gregory Safsten has been paid $29,350.80 so far by the Masters campaign as a “campaign consultant.” Safsten was one of 11 people who signed a bogus document claiming former President Donald Trump won Arizona’s Electoral College votes in the 2020 election.
The fraudulent elector document was organized by the Arizona Republican Party on behalf of Trump’s campaign, which encouraged similar efforts in other battleground states that Trump lost as part of a plan to let congressional Republicans reject Joe Biden’s win and install Trump for a second term. Safsten was the executive director for the AZGOP at the time.
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Masters has also paid Mesa resident Lori Osiecki, who was one of a different group of 11 fake electors. She helped create a copy of the “certificate of ascertainment” that each state submits to cast their electoral votes. Osiecki and the others, who identified themselves as “The Sovereign Citizens of the Great State of Arizona,” sent signed, notarized certificates to the National Archives purporting to be electoral votes for Trump and they also sent a copy to the Secretary of State’s Office.
The state seal was on the cover sheet of the documents, as well as at the top of each subsequent page. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sent a cease-and-desist letter to Osiecki demanding that her group no longer use Arizona’s state seal. The state requires people to get the secretary of state’s permission to “use, display or otherwise employ any facsimile, copy, likeness, imitation or other resemblance” to the state seal, which Hobbs said the group didn’t do.
Hobbs also referred the matter to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation. Using the state seal without authorization is a class 3 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Masters’ campaign has paid Osiecki $500 in “salary” and $250 for “mileage,” according to FEC filings. His campaign refused to comment on Safsten or Osiecki, instead attacking the Mirror and his opponent Sen. Mark Kelly.
“Must have missed about the story you wrote about how Mark Kelly appears in photos with child molesters (Navarette) and known anti-Semitic (Ilhan Omar),” Masters spokeswoman Katie Miller, who is married to former Trump advisor Stephen Miller, said in an email. She was referring to former Democratic state legislator Tony Navarrete, who was arrested in 2021 for molesting a teen boy over several years. He is awaiting trial on seven felonies.
In response to a follow-up question, Miller asked to speak off-the-record. When the Mirror said it was only willing to speak to her on-the-record, she lashed out.
“You’re phoning it in as a reporter instead of doing any actual work,” Miller said.
Masters’ campaign also is connected to other known purveyors of former President Donald Trump’s Big Lie, despite his campaign’s recent shift away from such language, as reported by CNN.
Former One America News host and Trump attorney Christina Bobb was paid more than $1,400 by the Masters campaign for “media consulting fees.”
Bobb was part of the legal team directly involved with the efforts to overturn the election results and made baseless claims on air during the “audit” effort about both the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection.
During the Arizona “audit,” Bobb had special access to the proceedings, and she frequently used her time on OAN asking viewers to donate money to an organization she ran that paid to give lawmakers “tours” of the “audit” floor. The organization she still runs helped raise $605,000 for Cyber Ninjas to conduct the partisan election review.
Masters has been attempting to soften his tone on abortion and election fraud, even going as far as removing a section from his website that claimed that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump.
“We need to get serious about election integrity. The 2020 election was a rotten mess — if we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today and America would be so much better off,” Masters’ website said on August 1, the day before the primary.
“We need to get serious about election integrity,” is all that remains of that statement now.
Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.