Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Aug. 17, 2022

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In Our View: Kraft’s claims of fiscal responsibility a lot of fluff

The Columbian

There seems to be some dissonance between what state Rep. Vicki Kraft says and what she does.

Kraft, a Vancouver Republican, has represented the 17th Legislative District since 2017 and is leaving the Legislature after this year’s session to run for Congress. She long has touted her conservative credentials.

On her campaign website, Kraft boasts of receiving an award from the American Conservative Union Foundation and writes, “In 2020, according to their scores, I had the most conservative voting record in the entire House of Representatives in Washington state.”

She also writes: “I have continually worked for more limited, accountable government …” and “we need to limit spending at this critical time, recognizing money does not grow on trees and you can’t continue spending what you don’t have.”

In the 2020 Voters’ Pamphlet, she asserted, “I have fought to improve fiscal responsibility.” In 2018, during her first reelection campaign, it was, “Two years ago, I made a pledge to bring leadership, integrity and accountability to government.”

Kraft should reassess her claims of fiscal responsibility, integrity and accountability. She also should recognize that because money doesn’t grow on trees, you shouldn’t use it to stuff pillows.

Last summer, Kraft used taxpayer money to attend a three-day “Cyber Symposium” hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in South Dakota. The confab promised to provide “irrefutable” evidence that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Donald Trump. It failed to do that. One cyber expert in attendance tweeted, “He gave us experts NOTHING today, except random garbage that wastes our time.”

Since November 2020, Lindell has repeatedly echoed Trump’s lies about a fraudulent election. He also has pushed conspiracy theories regarding the election and has insisted that Trump is on the verge of being reinstated to the presidency. The promised date for that resurrection keeps changing.

It is one thing for a civilian to believe such baseless claims. It is quite another for an elected representative to believe them — and to make you pay for her to hear them.

Kraft joined two other Republican legislators from Washington in Lindell’s echo chamber. The lawmakers then requested and received reimbursements from the Legislature.

The total — $4,361 for hotels and airfare — does not amount to much when the state government has a budget of nearly $30 billion a year. But for a lawmaker who professes to be fiscally responsible, the hypocrisy is daunting.

Kraft, who reportedly spoke at the conference, told The Seattle Times she attended “to learn more about what a full forensic audit process looks like, how hackers could hack into an election system and to meet other legislators working on this issue. The conference helped me accomplish these objectives.”

Those are important objectives. But we’re guessing there are better ways to achieve them than following the lead of Lindell, who claims he has spent $25 million of his own money on efforts to overturn the election. Meanwhile, investigations, audits and court decisions in multiple states have found minimal voter fraud.

We also are guessing that Kraft would have a different outlook if Democratic lawmakers spent taxpayer money on pointless, partisan claptrap.

Republicans undoubtedly are hoping that their attendance at the conference will help them with voters. But selling your integrity for such a gain is a steep price to pay for a fiscal conservative.

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