The three lawmakers who billed Washington taxpayers for a junket to a farcical election fraud-pepetuating conference demonstrated amazing gall. Each deserves a strong rebuke.

The legislators on the far, far right of the Republican House caucus must repay their government reimbursements for hotels and flights to join MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell at his South Dakota conference last August. A renowned Trump supporter, Lindell aimed to spin up nonsense fraud claims into national traction. 

Reps. Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls, Vicki Kraft of Vancouver, and Brad Klippert of Kennewick ought to have known better than to dun the state for trips to this convention of conspirators. Their caucus leader, Rep. J.T. Wilcox of Yelm, should demand they return the payment. So far, he has demurred, and told the Times’ Jim Brunner it “seems like that judgment is up to the voters.” 

Right-wing extremists who attempt to subvert democracy should be met with a firm stand, not a shrug and genuflection toward the ballot box. Washington’s taxpayers must not have their money spent on attempts to undermine democracy.

Though even the sharpest watchers of the state’s $50 billion-plus budget would hardly blink at the $4,361 reimbursement to the three lawmakers, the principle is what matters. There should be no tolerance for any lawmaker feeding the outlandish, debunked narrative Lindell is peddling.

Just one year ago, the horrific storming of the U.S. Capitol proved former President Donald Trump’s whackadoo conspiracy claims are toxic stuff. Yet Kraft and Klippert are running for Congress this year, beneath the same banner of absurdities. Sutherland is up for reelection to the Legislature. 

Voters should speak decisively against each on these grounds alone. Not one penny of public funds needs to feed this attempt to delude the public. After returning the funds, Sutherland, Kraft and Klippert should apologize to their constituents for this abuse of trust.