Audio appeared to reveal Arizona's GOP chairman bribing Kari Lake into staying out of politics.
Lake quickly called for him to resign, and on Wednesday, he did.
He also claimed that Lake threatened to release more damaging audio, which her campaign denies.
The chairman of the Arizona Republican Party resigned on Wednesday, alleging the GOP Senate candidate Kari Lake all but forced him into doing so.
On Tuesday, the Daily Mail published a 10-minute audio recording in which Jeff DeWit, the party chairman who's served for just under a year, appears to bribe Lake into staying out of politics for two years.
"Soo the ask I got today from back East was, 'Is there any companies out there or something that could just put her on the payroll to keep her out?'" DeWit says, according to the audio. "You can take a pause for a couple of years. You can go right back to what you're doing."
Lake, apparently recording the in-person interaction herself, can be heard repeatedly rejecting the entreaties, saying she wouldn't even do it for $1 billion.
The recording purportedly took place in March 2023, before Lake had announced her campaign for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
Lake later told NBC News in Hampshire — where she was attending the election night party for former President Donald Trump — that DeWit should resign.
"He's got to resign," said Lake. "We can't have someone who is corrupt and compromised running the Republican Party."
Kari Lake calls for @AZGOP Chair Jeff DeWit to resign after release of audio in which he can be heard bribing Lake to not run for the U.S. Senate in exchange for a potential job (and its salary): https://t.co/8tF4sodXf3 pic.twitter.com/4XBSzoVyYL
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) January 24, 2024
In his resignation statement, DeWit said that the audio recording raised "serious legal and moral concerns" and that he was "looking out for her financial interests."
DeWit also said the recording "confirms a disturbing tendency to exploit private interactions for personal gain" and that it raised questions over whether she could be "trusted to engage in private and confidential conversations" as a senator.
And he claimed that Lake had threatened to release even more damaging audio.
"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."
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) January 24, 2024
It is not immediately clear who will succeed DeWit as chair.
In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesman for the Lake campaign denied DeWit's account, saying that "no one from the Kari Lake campaign threatened or blackmailed DeWit."
"The tape speaks for itself," the spokesman said. "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."
Despite losing the 2022 gubernatorial campaign to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs — and continuing to contest the results of that election — Lake is all but certain to be the party's nominee for Senate in 2024, where she will face Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego and potentially Sinema as well.
Read the original article on Business Insider