The Arizona Home of Representatives on Wednesday expelled a Republican lawmaker who organized a presentation making unsubstantiated accusations that a variety of politicians, judges and public officers of each events took bribes from a Mexican drug cartel.
Rep. Liz Harris, a distinguished supporter of discredited election conspiracies, was kicked out of the Legislature in a bipartisan vote after the presentation by an Arizona insurance coverage agent. The lawmaker’s ouster got here a day after the Home Ethics Committee decided Harris had engaged in “disorderly conduct” in violation of the chamber’s guidelines.
The committee’s report mentioned Harris knew the individual she invited to a legislative listening to in February would accuse her colleagues of felony exercise, that she took steps to cover it from Home leaders forward of time after which misled the committee investigating her actions.
“This comes all the way down to the integrity, for my part, of this establishment and us as leaders,” mentioned Rep. David Livingston, a Republican who voted to expel Harris. “This isn’t private.”
Harris, who was sworn into her first time period in January, didn’t converse forward of the expulsion vote. Instantly afterward, she carried bins to her automobile, positioned them in her trunk with the assistance of a handful of supporters and left. She referred to as the ethics report “a lie.”
“God is aware of the reality,” Harris mentioned, in response to video recorded by a reporter for KPNX-TV. “This was an instance of how you might want to toe the road. When you don’t toe the road, that is what occurs.”
The vote in opposition to Harris comes lower than every week after Tennessee Republicans voted to expel two black Democrats, a choice that made that state a brand new entrance within the battle for the way forward for American democracy. However the Arizona vote didn’t carry the identical partisan and racial overtones, with widespread and bipartisan condemnation for Harris’s actions.
Harris organized a daylong listening to of the Home and Senate elections committees in February. On the finish, a Scottsdale insurance coverage agent, Jacqueline Breger, gave a 40-minute presentation alleging with out dependable proof that two girls engaged on behalf of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel used fraudulent mortgage paperwork to launder cash to a spread of officers.
Arizona Republican lawmakers have given broad leeway for individuals claiming to be election specialists to share unsubstantiated or disproven claims in hearings on the Capitol. However GOP legislative leaders raced to distance themselves from Breger’s claims and pin blame on Harris.
Earlier than she was elected to the Legislature, Harris led a door-to-door canvassing effort looking for proof of fraud following the 2020 presidential election. Her effort drew scrutiny from the U.S. Division of Justice’s civil rights division, which warned about potential voter intimidation.
There was little public dialogue earlier than the expulsion vote. Republican Rep. Alexander Kolodin mentioned Harris “made an error in judgement,” however expelling her would ship the fallacious message.
“It is going to be perceived as setting the precedent that when you rock the boat an excessive amount of, you may be expelled,” mentioned Kolodin, who voted in opposition to expulsion.
All Democrats and about half of Republicans voted to expel Harris in a 46-13 vote. She’s the primary lawmaker to be expelled in Arizona since Rep. Don Shooter was kicked out for sexual misconduct amid the 2018 #MeToo motion. Rep. David Stringer stop the next yr after previous intercourse crimes fees got here to mild that possible would have led to his expulsion.
“There was actual and lasting harm to the lives and reputations of people that didn’t deserve it,” mentioned Rep. Andres Cano, the highest Democrat within the Home. “Most significantly, the integrity of this Home has been jeopardized.”
Harris represented one of the crucial aggressive legislative districts within the state within the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. Each events had been anticipating she would face a troublesome reelection marketing campaign subsequent yr.
By regulation, Harris should be changed by a Republican. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will select from an inventory of three candidates nominated by the Republican precinct committeemen in her district.