A Republican lawmaker in Arizona was ousted Wednesday after she invited a voter denier to testify with unsubstantiated allegations that multiple elected officials were involved in bribery schemes that affected the results of the 2020 and 2022 elections.
Rep. Liz Harris was ousted in a 46-13 vote, surpassing the two-thirds majority needed for removal.
An ethics panel released a report Tuesday saying she «committed disorderly conduct» and damaged «the institutional integrity of the House.»
The House ethics panel launched an investigation into Harris, prompted by a complaint from a Democratic lawmaker, after she invited insurance agent Jacqueline Breger to promote a series of unsubstantiated allegations at a televised congressional hearing on the election.
At the February 23 hearing, Breger claimed that “bribery and infiltration have been used to affect the outcome” of the 2020 and 2022 elections, pointing the finger at state officials such as Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, according to the committee on ethics. report.
Breger also claimed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “controls[s]” government agencies and was “an integral part of laundering activities,” according to the report.
Harris, who was a member of the Municipal Oversight and Elections Committee, had proposed the joint hearing with the Senate Elections Committee.
The ethics committee said Harris was «neither surprised nor upset» by Breger’s testimony and expected the presentation to be cancelled, according to a review of text messages she exchanged with Breger that were revealed in the course of the investigation into the case. panel.
According to the committee’s report, Harris said in testimony defending his conduct last month that he believed Breger’s presentation would have a narrow focus and that he had directed Breger «not to impeach any legislator» or refer to «any institution religious».
Breger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Speaking to reporters after Wednesday’s ouster vote, Harris said: «I stand for honesty and integrity. The [ethics] report is a lie.»
Efforts to contact her for further comment Wednesday night were unsuccessful.
The Tennessee Legislature last week expelled two black Democrats, Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson, for protesting gun violence. Both state representatives have since been reinstated. It is unclear if Harris will seek to rejoin the Arizona House of Representatives.
in a statement On Wednesday, House Democratic Leader Andres Cano said Harris’s actions were «reckless and unbecoming of any elected official.»
“The slanderous accusations that Representative Harris invited her guest speaker to make are patently absurd, but there are plenty of people who believe them. They believe the lies and continue to threaten reprisals because we disputed them,” Cano said. «They believe these lies because a state representative, Liz Harris, raised and legitimized them in a televised legislative hearing.»
Conspiracy theories have plagued Arizona in recent elections. In last year’s gubernatorial race, Republican Kari Lake repeatedly promoted false claims of voter fraud and then failed in a legal battle against Hobbs. Two years earlier, President Donald Trump and his allies pushed voter fraud claims in the state, prompting a Republican-led ballot review in Maricopa County.
State Rep. Alex Kolodin, who voted against ousting Harris, told NBC News that while Breger’s presentation was «inadequate,» he wanted to respect voters.
«The voters in his district knew what they were choosing,» Kolodin said. «They knew she was going to go down and do some controversial and inflammatory things, and it’s not for me to question the wisdom of the people who put her in office.»