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The Inertia

In a complicated series of events taking place over the last few years, former pro surfer Conan Hayes has been accused of sharing sensitive election documents from both Colorado and Michigan to his conspiracy-crazed followers on Twitter. A recent Washington Post report about Hayes’ involvement went live this week (presumably spurred by the raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate), but investigations of Hayes have been documented in both Vice and the Daily Beast in recent months.

Hayes, of course, is part of the Momentum Generation and finished 13th on the 1996 CT. He’s a co-founder of RVCA, which he sold his interests to in 2010 (RVCA has since deleted him from its company history). Hayes is also a serial entrepreneur, having run a children’s sports manufacturing business called C-Preme, post-RVCA. He’s become a “celebrity” conspiracy theorist of sorts, spreading false information about election fraud from his private Twitter account @We_Have_Risen. But, according to new reporting by the Washington Post, he could be in hot water for spreading sensitive documents.

Per the Post‘s report: A Twitter account used by Hayes has posted conspiracy theory material and images purportedly of Dominion voting systems in Michigan. In an affidavit first reported by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, an investigator for the district attorney in Mesa County, Colo. alleged that Hayes worked with local officials there to copy election software in May 2021. Three local officials were indicted on felony charges over the alleged breach. No charges were filed against Hayes.

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According to the Daily Beast (and other reports), Hayes was part of a like-minded club known as the Allied Security Operations Group – a team of supposed “election experts” that was somehow allowed to review 2020 election results in Antrim County, Michigan. But Hayes apparently shared results of that inquiry to his conspiracy minded followers on Twitter, compromising his objectivity. “Hayes’ work as an ‘expert’ in Antrim late last year raised concerns about the plaintiffs’ professionalism, as he appeared to share pictures of his work alongside conspiratorial captions on Twitter,” reads the Daily Beast report. His Tweeting raised concerns from legal experts as well.

“If this is a person who is part of a team of experts who, because of their expertise, have been appointed by the court to conduct some kind of review of voting practices, then regardless of whether it’s illegal, it’s certainly a violation of the professional code of ethics that applies to expert witnesses doing forensic analysis,” University of Buffalo law professor James Gardner told the Beast. “There are professional obligations of impartiality, of professionalism, and somebody who is sharing stuff on social media would seem to have a kind of conflict of interest that would preclude them from serving as a neutral expert.” The report stated that there are indications Hayes worked on similar inquiries in Colorado and Arizona.

Hayes did not comment on the Washington Post story. A cyber sleuth, known as “trapezoid of discovery” on Twitter, reportedly outed Hayes before his account went private.

It’s a complicated tale. But those reports indicate that Hayes may have been one of the people who downloaded sensitive government documents, compromising confidential voter information, not to mention voting machines that will now have to be replaced by tax payers. And he might pay a heavy price for it himself, too.

Read the Washington Post report here, the Daily Beast investigation here, and Vice’s report, here.

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