Arizona state House member expelled over cartel bribing claims

 April 13, 2023

An Arizona state lawmaker has been expelled over claims concerning cartel bribes.

Republican state Rep. Liz Harris was removed in a 46 to 13 vote in the GOP-led House.

The vote

“The overwhelming vote against Harris came at the recommendation of the House Ethics Committee, which ‘unanimously’ ruled she had broken House rules and engaged in disorderly conduct ‘damaging the institutional integrity of the House,’ the Arizona Mirror reported.

“Harris's expulsion was over her invitation of real estate agent Jacqueline Breger to a Feb. 23 joint House and Senate elections committee meeting. Breger testified that many state officials had accepted bribes from Mexican drug cartels,” it added.

The GOP response

"On a personal note, the only thing that we have done here is our word and our ... integrity," Republican House Speaker Ben Toma said following the vote.

"And when that is clearly crossed when ... you can no longer count on someone's word or integrity, they can no longer be an effective legislator; we cannot represent the district well, they cannot ... be part of anything significant,” he added.

“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,” AZ Family wrote.

“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.’”

Vacancy after vote

The vote took effect immediately, leaving one vacant seat in the state’s House of Representatives. The District 13 seat will select three finalists to fill the seat, with one finalist selected by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to serve until the 2024 election.

The unified vote by members of both parties showed that the moves by the state lawmaker had gone too far, leading to swift action to remove the elected official from office.

The people of her district will have the final say during the next election of who will represent their voice as Arizona continues to have ongoing disputes with elections and lawmakers.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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