Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jeff DeWit resigned on Wednesday over growing controversy involving Kari Lake, a secret recording, and an alleged bribe.
In the explosive recording published on Tuesday, DeWit tells Lake there are “very powerful people” who are willing to pay her not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2024. Throughout the recording, DeWit speaks in vague terms, but at one point he makes the request clear: DeWit tells Lake that powerful people “back east” have requested that he ask her if she can pause her political plans for a sum of money.
Lake, however, repeatedly protests and insists that she will never be “bought” — not even for a billion dollars — because it’s “immoral.”
In a statement announcing his resignation, DeWit accused Lake of releasing a “selectively edited” 10-minute recording of a private conversation that took place at Lake’s home nearly a year ago.
“I said things I regret, but I realize when hearing Lake’s recording that I was set up,” DeWit alleged. “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.”
DeWit explained that, earlier on Wednesday, he was “determined to fight” for his job. But he changed his mind when Lake’s team allegedly threatened him.
“[A] few hours ago, I received an ultimatum from Lake’s team: resign today or face the release of a new, more damaging recording,” he alleged. “I am truly unsure of its contents, but considering our numerous past open conversations as friends, I have decided not to take the risk.”
The admission raises an alarming question: Given that he was already accused of trying to bribe Lake on behalf of an unknown group of power brokers, what could Lake possibly have recorded that is “more damaging” than that?
Lake’s team, on the other hand, denied threatening DeWit.
“No one from the Kari Lake campaign threatened or blackmailed DeWit,” they said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that Dewit hasn’t recognized how unethical his behavior was and still hasn’t apologized to Arizona Republicans. DeWit’s false claims are just par for the course. The Arizona GOP must be relieved to have his resignation. Now we can focus on getting ethical leadership and win big in 2024.”
Still, more questions remain: If the tape is as damaging as it appears to be, why did Lake wait nearly a year to release it? And, naturally: How many other recordings does Lake have?
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