(The Hill) – The Republican-controlled Arizona House on Wednesday voted to expel a GOP lawmaker from the state-level chamber after she invited a guest speaker before a committee to make unvetted criminal allegations against elected officials.
“This is a sad day for our institution. But it is a necessary day. There has been real damage done to the lives and reputations of people who did not deserve it. More importantly, the integrity of this House has been jeopardized,” said the statehouse’s Democratic Leader Andres Cano on behalf of his party. The Hill has reached out to the Arizona House Republicans for comment.
The Arizona House voted 46-13 on Wednesday to expel Rep. Liz Harris, just a week after the GOP-controlled Tennessee House controversially voted to expel two Democratic representatives who had participated in a protest against gun violence.
The Arizona House Ethics Committee determined that Harris broke state rules by inviting constituent Jacqueline Breger to give a presentation that alleged schemes of “money laundering, drug trafficking and sales, public corruption, bribing of public officials, and election fraud” by public officials, government employees and others, according to a report shared by Arizona Public Media.
Speaking at a joint hearing on election integrity before the House and Senate Special Joint Elections Committee, Berger made the allegations based on purported results of an investigation from a law firm at which she worked. Though Harris denied knowing about the allegations in advance of the presentation, the Ethics Committee’s report determined she did.
The resolution to expel reads that Harris “undermined the public’s confidence in this institution and violated the order and decorum necessary to complete the people’s work in the State of Arizona.”
“I’m not alone in believing that it was irresponsible and bad judgment for Ms. Harris to invite a person to present unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations in a legislative forum,” Republican Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma said in a Monday statement shared by local outlet 12News.
“That evidence is clear — a member of this House plotted, and then repeatedly lied to advance false and defamatory allegations in a televised legislative hearing. She lied about her role in this effort to mainstream a conspiracy that a federal judge had already labeled as ‘delusional,’” Cano said.