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IREHR in Patch: “A dozen Arizona GOP lawmakers follow at least 1 far-right Facebook group” – May 22, 2022

By May 22, 2022May 4th, 2023No Comments2 min read

IREHR’s newest report, Breaching the Mainstream, was cited by Patch.

Kira Lerner, democracy reporter, writes “The institute’s report, titled Breaching the Mainstream, lists all of the legislators identified as being part of far-right Facebook groups and detailed their legislative impact.”

Lerner cites Kelly Townsend’s profile from Breaching the Mainstream, writing “One of the state legislators profiled by IREHR was Arizona state Sen. Kelly Townsend, a Republican from Apache Junction who was a tea party leader before being elected to the legislature in 2012. Townsend, the researchers wrote, has “moved from anti-abortion and Tea Party politics to far-right paramilitary militia groups and efforts to rewrite the U.S. Constitution in the far-right’s image.””


IREHR’s President, Devin Burghart, was quoted by Patch;

“We knew we had a problem on our hands, but we hadn’t been able to quantify the depths of it. This was a first attempt on our part to wrap our heads around it, and it was pretty striking in terms of the various pipelines that have opened up to pump disinformation and far-right ideas into legislatures.” Said Burghart

“It’s a nationwide phenomenon,” Burghart said. “Far too often, people think of this activity as being relegated to the deep South or the Pacific Northwest, but there are legislators in all 50 states who have joined these different far-right Facebook groups.”

Read more here

Laura Gibbons

Author Laura Gibbons

Laura Gibbons is an IREHR research associate.

More posts by Laura Gibbons