GOP-controlled Arizona House expels Republican for inviting ‘conspiracy theorist’ to committee hearing

Rep. Liz Harris (R) was expelled following a bipartisan vote in Arizona’s House of Representatives on Wednesday after she invited a purported conspiracy theorist to testify during a February committee hearing on election integrity.

(Video Credit: ABC15 Arizona)

The House of Representatives in Arizona is currently controlled by Republicans. The body voted 46 to 13, passing a resolution in favor of giving Harris the boot for violating House ethics rules by inviting Jacqueline Breger to testify at the February hearing. She accused Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and other politicians of criminal activity, including the acceptance of bribes from a Mexican drug cartel. She also claimed that the crimes were overseen by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, according to Fox News.

In March, an ethics complaint was filed against Harris by a Democrat House member who asserted that she personally invited Breger. The Democrat representative accused Harris of engaging in the “disrepute and embarrassment of the House of Representatives,” and that she “allowed the impugning of other members” in violation of House rules.

Three Republicans and two Democrats sit on the House Ethics Committee in Arizona. They unanimously ruled that Harris violated ethics rules. That led to a full vote on the House floor culminating in her removal.

The panel released a report on Tuesday stating that Harris “committed disorderly behavior” and damaged “the institutional integrity of the House.”

The ethics committee also noted that Harris was “not surprised or upset” by Breger’s testimony and that she expected the presentation would be shut down, according to a review of text messages she exchanged with Breger that came to light during the investigation, NBC News reported.

According to the committee’s report, Harris stated during testimony in defense of her conduct that she believed Breger’s presentation would be narrowly focused and that she had directed Breger “not to impugn any legislator” or refer to “any religious institution.”

When Harris was confronted by local reporters over being removed from her position in the House of Representatives, she called the report a lie. She appeared to be carrying her belongings as she left the capitol.

“I stand on honesty and integrity. The report is a lie,” she told a reporter who asked for her reaction to the vote. She would later go on to claim that the vote was “an example of how you need to toe the line.”

“If you don’t toe the line, this is what happens,” she commented, evidently referring to the other Republicans who voted for her removal.

“This is the people’s House,” she proclaimed while pointing back at the building. She then got in her car and drove away.

Arizona Rep. Lupe Diaz, who is also a Republican, voted to expel Harris, according to CNN, stating on the House floor, “We need to have integrity in the institution, and I do not take this vote lightly. I do vote yes.”

In a statement, House Democratic leader Andrés Cano called Harris’ actions “reckless and unbecoming of any elected official.”

“The defamatory allegations that Representative Harris invited her guest speaker to make are patently absurd, but there are many people who believe them. They believe the lies, and they continue to threaten retribution because we dispute them,” Cano contended. “They believe those lies because a State Representative, Liz Harris, platformed and legitimized them in a televised legislative hearing.”

Republican State Rep. Alex Kolodin, who voted against Harris’ expulsion because he believes it sets a bad precedent, told NBC News that while Breger’s presentation was “improper,” he wanted to respect the voters.

“The voters of her district knew what they were electing,” Kolodin remarked. “They knew she was going to go down and do some controversial and inflammatory things, and it’s not my place to second-guess the wisdom of the people who put her in office.”

He defended Harris ahead of the vote, “They [the public] will perceive that they don’t have a true voice in this body because when they elect somebody to rock the boat, and she does it … admittedly in the wrong way … a way that should have been better considered, that that member will be expelled. So, in order to protect this body, to preserve public trust and confidence in us and more importantly in the legislature as a means for being the peoples’ voice, and bringing about real change, I do sadly but resolutely vote no.”

When the resolution was passed, a voice off-camera yelled, “Shame on you. Shame, shame, shame!” The Arizona Legislature live stream was then cut off.



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