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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Arizona House Republicans expel one of their own

Representative Liz Harris at the March for Life in Phoenix. Lawmakers had accused her of making a mockery of Arizona’s Legislature.

By Neil Vigdor

Arizona’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives took the rare step earlier this week of expelling a GOP lawmaker who earlier this year had arranged testimony from a conspiracy theorist falsely accusing top state officials of bribery and other misconduct.

Rep. Liz Harris, an election denier who has expressed support for QAnon and has aligned herself with Mike Lindell, the MyPillow founder who has pushed election conspiracy theories, was overwhelmingly removed from office by her colleagues.

The House voted 46-13 to banish her, easily surpassing the necessary two-thirds threshold. The action was taken after an ethics complaint was filed against Harris by a Democratic lawmaker. Twenty-nine Democrats joined 17 Republicans to vote for expulsion, while all 13 nay votes came from Republicans, including Harris. One Democrat did not vote.

Harris, from Chandler, became just one of a handful of Arizona lawmakers to be expelled. She did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Lawmakers had accused Harris of making a mockery of Arizona’s Legislature by inviting Jacqueline Breger, a Scottsdale, Arizona, insurance agent and conspiracy theorist, to testify during a February hearing about election oversight.

At that hearing, Breger falsely claimed that Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who was elected governor in November, and several other public officials and judges had accepted bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Critics described Breger’s more than 40-minute presentation as a publicity stunt and said that Harris knew ahead of time that it would be laden with wild and baseless conspiracy theories. The swing state has been a hotbed of election denialism and unsuccessful Republican lawsuits contesting results, including a legal action by Kari Lake, who has refused to accept her November defeat in the governor’s race.

Election deniers have zeroed in on Arizona’s most populous county, Maricopa, where Election Day glitches last fall disrupted some ballot counting. An independent report released on Monday found that heavy paper and longer ballots contributed to those problems.

On Tuesday, the House Ethics Committee determined that Harris had violated legislative rules by inviting a witness to present false testimony. In addition to the bribery accusation, the witness also claimed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had control over state agencies.

The ethics panel stopped short of recommending a specific punishment for Harris by the House, in which fellow election deniers have wielded significant power and orchestrated a partisan review of the 2020 election results in Arizona.

Arizona was a key battleground in 2020, when it helped Joe Biden secure the presidency, and again in 2022, when Sen. Mark Kelly’s reelection helped Democrats gain outright control of the Senate.

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