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3 WA lawmakers attended election conspiracy conference on taxpayer dime

A white man in a navy blue suit with a white button-down shirt and light blue tie. He has brown hair and a brown mustache.
Manuel Balce Ceneta
The Associated Press file
MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell speaks to reporters in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2021.

Documents show three Republican lawmakers from Washington used taxpayer dollars to attend MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell’s election fraud symposium in South Dakota in August.

Public records released to The Seattle Times last week show state Reps. Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls, Vicki Kraft of Vancouver, and Brad Klippert of Kennewick requested and received expense reimbursements from the Legislature for the symposium. The state paid $4,361 in all for their hotels and flights.

Lindell said he'd provide “irrefutable” evidence the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump by hackers. The event, rife with debunked conspiracy theories, produced no such proof.

All three Washington lawmakers have stoked doubts about the 2020 election, claiming widespread fraud and irregularities, despite evidence to the contrary. That misinformation touted by Trump and his allies prompted thousands to storm the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 in a violent but failed effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s win.

Kraft and Sutherland defended their attendance in emails, saying they’ll use information gleaned there to develop election-related legislation.

Klippert, who did not respond to the newspaper's request for comment, sponsored bills during the 2020 legislative session seeking to change the state’s election system.

State House Chief Clerk Bernard Dean said state lawmakers have fairly broad latitude to be reimbursed for travel to events connected to their legislative work. Each member has a $9,000 annual allotment for such travel.

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