Like many, I have been alarmed by the widespread claims that mistakes and fraud had “stolen” the election from President Donald Trump.

I worked for the people of Washington for more than 35 years as a state employee. As such, I was subject to Revised Code of Washington 42.52: Ethics in Public Service, which barred me from lying when acting in an official capacity. To my knowledge, employees of every public institution in the state are subject to this or a functionally similar law.

No one making claims that the election was stolen from Trump has produced evidence of anything more than limited ballot counting mistakes. Indeed, U.S. Attorney General William Barr reported that the Department of Justice had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have [affected] a different outcome in the election.”

Many of those making claims of election theft are state or federal legislators speaking in their official capacities. One of the great things about our country is our unrestricted freedom of speech. But when did that right come to include the right to make knowingly false statements to the people you represent? When did freedom of speech become the freedom to lie?

Steven V. King, Olympia