Health care

Judge rules Jan 6 commission has access to Arizona GOP chairman’s phone records

Judge rules Jan 6 commission has access to Arizona GOP chairman’s phone records
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A federal judge ruled Thursday that the selected House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurgency has access to the phone records of Kelli Ward, chairman of the Republican Party in Arizona.

U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa ruled against a motion Ward and her husband filed in February to quash the subpoena. Kelli and Michael Ward, co-owners of a medical practice, argued in their motion that the subpoena would violate their constitutional rights and the confidentiality of their patients.

But Humetewa rejected the argument that the subpoena violates their rights, saying the concerns raised in their arguments are “highly speculative.”

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Kelli and Michael Ward argued that the subpoena could have a chilling effect on the First Amendment right of association for them and the entire Republican state party. They also said the people Kelli called or texted could be contacted by the commission and involved in the “largest criminal investigation in US history.”

Humetewa said in her ruling that the court must assume that the commission will act in a responsible manner and with “sufficient respect” for the rights of the Wards. She also said there was no evidence to prove that passing on the relevant phone numbers would have a chilling effect on their right of association or the Arizona Republican Party.

Kelli and Michael Ward also argued that the phone numbers they would provide could be used to identify their patients and violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which prevents most health care providers from disclosing health information without patient consent.

Humetewa encouraged both sides to discuss how to protect potentially protected health information, but declined to quash the subpoena on that basis.

Both wards were reportedly among members of a string of alternate voters who sought to declare former President Trump the winner of Arizona in the 2020 presidential election, despite President Biden’s victory in the state.

Kelli Ward did not immediately return a request from The Hill for comment via the Arizona Republican Party.

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