A Republican lawmaker who has boosted election conspiracy theories and QAnon fantasies was kicked out of the GOP-controlled Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday for bringing a pair of conspiracy theorists into the chamber.State Rep. Liz Harris was officially removed from the chamber when members of her own party voted in favor of a resolution to expel her for ethics violations. Harris had invited a pair of conspiracy theorists to give unsworn testimony in front of a joint hearing of the state House and Senate’s election committees on Feb. 23. She claimed the testimony would help “figure out what it is we need to do to ensure that the voters of Arizona are confident for all future elections.”
In reality the testimony quickly went off the rails when the conspiracy theorists accused Democratic and Republican lawmakers, judges and other officials of being involved in a wild variety of schemes including bribery, money laundering, and election fixing, all of which were tied up with Mexican drug cartels and the “Mormon mafia.” John Thaler, a lawyer with a suspended license, and Jacqueline Breger, a Farmers Insurance agency owner and Thaler’s girlfriend.The pair claimed that together they investigated the bogus allegations and the same false claims were cited in a court case involving a child custody case between Thaler and his ex-wife. The allegations were also being discussed in certain online conspiracy groups for months before Harris contacted the couple. The baseless allegations caused turmoil within the Arizona GOP, and Harris faced huge backlash from within her own party as a result of the hearing, despite the fact that she herself has been one of the main promoters of the baseless accusations around the 2020 presidential election and was one of the leading voices pushing the bogus Maricopa County recount in 2021.Harris’ group, called the “Voter Integrity Project,” knocked on people’s doors to check if voter rolls were accurate and produced a report that was widely derided for making false and bogus allegations about “ghost voters.”
Her convictions about election conspiracies ran so deep that when she secured victory in her own race for a seat in the Arizona House last November, she claimed she would not vote during the legislative session unless the election was redone. She voted dozens of times after taking up her seat.Harris has also boosted QAnon conspiracies on numerous occasions, including posting an image of a shirt with the QAnon slogan on her official campaign Facebook page and posting videos from a QAnon influencer on her personal page. In the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Harris also boosted several QAnon theories that former President Donald Trump would miraculously return to office, including one that predicted it would happen on March 4, 2021—which it didn’t. On election conspiracy groups online, Harris has been hailed as a hero and her expulsion held up as further evidence that she was telling the truth all along.One of her most prominent supporters is Kari Lake, a former news anchor and failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate who continues to claim she won her election in November. “All they’ve done is make her an icon now,” Lake told Steve Bannon’s War Room show. “She’s going to be an icon. If they think they’ve made her lose power, I think Liz Harris is going to gain power from this move.”
In an appearance on Lindell TV hours after she had been expelled, Harris said she would not be running for office again. “With the state of affairs, who would have a desire to re-enter that atmosphere?” Harris said, ruling out another campaign.Later on Wednesday, during an appearance on a podcast hosted by election conspiracist Joe Oltmann, Harris defended the evidence Thaler and Breger gave in February and outlined her plans to dive even deeper into these conspiracy theories now that she’s out of the House.“I feel like a weight has been lifted, and now I can go and do my research,” Harris told Oltmann. “I have a proprietary database that goes back to 2004 so I can find how these fraudulent documents tie into fraudulent voters. Can you see how excited I am?”Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.