Kari Lake has emerged victorious in the political scandal that rocked Arizona’s GOP establishment. Jeff DeWit, the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, announced his resignation on Wednesday amidst controversy involving a bribe offer to Lake, as revealed in recently leaked audio recordings. The recordings captured a conversation between DeWit and Lake.
DeWit, 51, was heard offering Lake a substantial monetary incentive to temporarily withdraw from politics. This exposed the apparent attempt by some Republican elites to manipulate the political landscape, particularly the upcoming Senate race for Lake in Arizona.
In the recording, DeWit said that “very powerful people” were eager to see Lake step back, proposing a financial arrangement to facilitate this. Lake vehemently rejected the proposition. “This is not about money. This is about our country,” Lake said in the recording. “I can be bought? That’s what it’s about?” she shot back.
“I received an ultimatum from Lake’s team: resign today or face the release of a new, more damaging recording,” said DeWit. “I am truly unsure of its contents, but considering our numerous past open conversations as friends, I have decided not to take the risk.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Statement from Chairman @JeffDeWitAZ
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) January 24, 2024
“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,” his statement read. “I genuinely believed I was offering a helpful perspective to someone I considered a friend.”
“I question how effective a United States Senator can be when they cannot be trusted to engage in private and confidential conversations.” DeWit asserted that the conversation was “set up” by Lake to gain “control over the state party.”
“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’s resignation marks a significant fallout from the scandal. His departure opens the door for new leadership and potentially alters the dynamics of the state’s political scene in light of the upcoming Senate race. Lake’s response to the bribe offer has also bolstered her image as a staunch defender of her political beliefs.
Lake told NBC News Tuesday night that DeWit has “gotta resign. We can’t have somebody who is corrupt and compromised running the Republican Party.”
The secret recording of the call between the two was first uncovered by the Daily Mail in which the Arizona GOP chairman asked her how much it would take to keep her from running against Sen. Kristen Sinema (I-AZ).
DeWit, a former state treasurer, has a combative history with Lake. In May of last year, she confronted him in a restaurant, accusing him of failing to support her allegations that she unfairly lost the 2022 gubernatorial race.