HomeTop StoriesAnother MAGA lawmaker is facing election fraud charges

Another MAGA lawmaker is facing election fraud charges

“To protect my family today, I am withdrawing as a candidate.” That is the most important conclusion of a quite a long statement Released Thursday by Arizona state Rep. Austin Smith, who is no longer running for re-election in his district after being accused of forging signatures to get on the ballot this fall.

As AZ Centraal reports:

The signatures on his petitions have also been sent to the attorney general for review.

Smith’s lengthy statement (which you can read below) says this is “foolish” and part of a conspiracy by Democrats who are “dissatisfied with my politics.” He says he is choosing not to run to avoid a legal battle that could cost him and his wife a lot of money, and he says he will make changes in future campaigns to avoid similar legal challenges so that “no one can make up a story.” But he doesn’t actually deny any of the specific claims made in the lawsuit.

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What makes this particularly rich is that Smith, who aligns himself with the ultra-conservative Arizona Freedom Caucus in Arizona, has been a vocal spreader of Donald Trump’s election-related conspiracy theories. Smith even used false claims that fraudulent signatures would swing Arizona’s 2020 presidential race in Joe Biden’s favor. For these views, Smith received support from fellow Arizona conspiracy theorists such as Senate candidate Kari Lake and Representative Paul Gosar, not to mention the founder of TPUSA. Charlie Kirk.

So the claims against Smith have made things quite difficult for Arizona Republicans, some of whom appear to be taking issue with his announcement.

Smith is a member of the far-right activist group Turning Point USA and has resigned as senior director of the organization’s campaign arm, Turning Point Action, the group confirmed Friday. In that role, Smith officially led the organization’s fall election operation. Essentially, Kirk and his friends have tried to raise $108 million from right-wing donors to mobilize Trump voters in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin. So you can understand why it might have been unworkable for Smith to stay in that role. If you’re going to raise baseless allegations of liberal election fraud, as Turning Point and its affiliates have done, it’s best not to let someone who is facing an election fraud lawsuit run your own operation.

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And yet this fiasco should not have happened precisely come as a surprise. Smith is just the latest in a growing list of Republicans accused of election fraud, despite the conservative movement’s alleged anger over illegal election schemes.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com

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