Arizona House Rep. Liz Harris ousted for violating ethics rules
Harris had invited a conspiracy theorist and election denier to a recent hearing.
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The Arizona House voted Wednesday to expel Rep. Liz Harris (R-District 13) for violating ethics rules. Just before noon, the House voted 46-13 in favor of expulsion. The House needed a two-thirds vote to expel Harris and they got more than that as 18 of 31 Republicans joined the 28 Democrats on the floor in voting for expulsion. “Lying and deceiving is wrong. It just comes down to that simple principle,” said Rep. David Livingston, a Republican from Peoria. On Tuesday, the House Ethics Committee released a report saying Harris broke ethics rules when she invited a guest that made unsubstantiated claims at a February joint committee hearing.
Harris’ guest Jacqueline Breger alleged that high-profile politicians, including Gov. Katie Hobbs and House Speaker Ben Toma, took bribes from a Mexican drug cartel. All five ethics committee members made it clear in the report that what happened under Harris’ watch was unacceptable. “I could have guessed it would go this way,” Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D-District 21) said. “But you just never know.”
When Stahl Hamilton filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Harris on March 6, she did so because she thought Harris’ actions posed a threat to Arizona’s democracy. “Guests who came in and immediately impugned leadership,” she said. “Sitting judges, our governor, our secretary of state, the speaker of the House, and the entire Church of the Latter Day Saints. Those are not allegations you take lightly.”
The House Ethics Committee (composed of three Republican representatives and two Democrats) unanimously agreed, saying that Harris violated House rules by inviting Jacqueline Breger to that February meeting. In addition, they said Harris lied when she claimed she had no idea Breger would say what she did. As a result, the ethics panel found that Harris violated House rule number one, which prohibits disorderly behavior that could damage the House’s institutional integrity. “To go down a trail of conspiracy theories that were thrown out of court, it’s very dangerous,” Stahl Hamilton said.
The expulsion vote took effect immediately, leaving a vacancy in the state house. Republican Precinct Committee members in District 13 will now select three Republican finalists to fill Harris’ seat. The committee will have a decent size. “This is not a handful of people. In all likelihood, it’s going to be 40, 50, 60 people. Could be a lot more. I think that the decision to expel,I know that there are a lot of precinct committeemen that are not happy with it,” said Sen. J.D. Mesnard, a Republican from Harris’ district. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will select one of the three finalists to serve the remainder of Harris’ term in office. That person will be up for re-election in November 2024.
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