Three Pennsylvania legislators who traveled to Arizona this week to witness the high profile effort by Donald Trump’s supporters to prove the 2020 election was stolen are refusing to say who paid for their travel, lodging and meals.

The three Republicans -- Sens. Cris Dush and Doug Mastriano, and Rep. Rob Kauffman -- were in Phoenix Wednesday to observe the ongoing audit of election results in Arizona’s most populated county. President Joe Biden won the state by 10,457 votes in November, a slim margin of victory that made Arizona central to former President Trump’s lie that Biden was not the rightful winner of the election.

“Transparency is a must (in) our republic,” according to a statement about the trip that Mastriano, R-Franklin County, released Wednesday.

But when asked to be transparent about who he talked to about the trip, who paid for it and whether that person or group would benefit financially from a similar audit in Pennsylvania, neither Mastriano nor Dush, R-Jefferson County, responded.

Kauffman, R-Franklin County, didn’t directly answer questions from The Caucus, but an aide, Elana Maynard, wrote in an email, “I have been asked to provide the following response to your inquiry: It is not being funded by taxpayer or campaign dollars.”

Spokesmen for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and House Speaker Bryan Cutler -- the General Assembly’s top Republicans -- said their bosses don’t know who paid for the legislators’ travel to Arizona.

If an outside person or group paid for the lawmakers’ trip, they likely would have to say so on their annual financial disclosure forms. But those aren’t due until May 1, 2022, eleven months from now.

Arizona’s Republican Senate leaders hired the firm Cyber Ninjas to conduct their audit, which other elected Arizona Republicans have called “unhinged” and “embarrassing.” A former Department of Homeland Security official told National Public Radio the review was spreading disinformation that undermines confidence in the American democratic system “in pursuit of continuing a narrative that we know to be a lie.”

Mastriano on Wednesday told a right-wing media outlet, The Gateway Pundit, that Pennsylvania should use Arizona as a model for its own audit. He has been a central figure in amplifying baseless conspiracy theories about the security of the 2020 election as he courts Trump’s support for a possible run for governor next year. He also chartered several buses to the Jan. 6 protest against Trump’s loss that led to a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

A group called Audit the Vote PA is collecting signatures calling for an audit of the state’s 2020 results. No evidence of widespread fraud has ever been revealed to suggest vote fraud cheated Trump of victory in the commonwealth. Of the handful of voting fraud cases reported in the state, two involved Republican voters casting ballots for deceased loved ones for the former president.

The House State Government Committee hosted a series of hearings about the election this year. Its chairman, Rep. Seth Grove, R-York County, threw cold water on Mastriano’s call for an Arizona-style review on Thursday.

“The PA House of Representatives will not be authorizing any further audits on any previous election,” Grove tweeted. “We are focused on fixing our broken election law to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

Follow Mike Wereschagin on Twitter @Wrschgn

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