Turning Point Action Official Resigns After Election Fraud Allegation

An Arizona state legislator, 2020 election denier, and prominent leader with Turning Point Action resigned from the organization and withdrew his campaign after allegations surfaced that he forged signatures in his re-election efforts.

Austin Smith has represented Arizona House District 29 since 2023 and is a member of the Arizona House Freedom Caucus, an ultra-right group within the state legislature. He was also a Senior Enterprise Director for Turning Point Action, the campaign arm of conservative youth activist group Turning Point USA.

A lawsuit filed Monday and shared by The Arizona Republic accused Smith of using fraudulent signatures on the petition required to qualify for the Republican primary ballot.

“Several of Smith’s petition sheets bear purported voter signatures that appear to have been written by the same person,” the complaint alleged. “Many of those signatures bear a striking resemblance to Smith’s.”

Smith announced his departure Thursday in a lengthy statement posted to X/Twitter, accusing the person who filed the lawsuit as a Democrat activist who was out to get him.

“With no limit to the length of time that such an investigation might take, and no limit to the number of billable hours I would end up paying to defend myself, those who wanted to do me real harm might well succeed,” Smith said.

Smith did not mention Turning Point Action in his statement, but the Washington Post reported he resigned from his position there the same day he withdrew his campaign. Turning Point Action did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday night.

Fellow Arizona-elected official Clint Hickman, a Maricopa County Supervisor and resident of Smith’s district, said in a statement that he believed Smith should resign in the wake of the allegations.

“This is a man who has lied to the people of Legislative District 29 and the entire state about our election operations for at least three years,” Hickman said. “And now he is accused of lying about the signatures he personally collected to get on the ballot again.” 
This is far from the first time someone who worked with Turning Point has been accused of unscrupulous behavior: Last year’s AmericaFest conference was teeming with antisemitism, and a corporate sponsor of its 2023 Pastor Summit was found to be led by a registered sex offender.

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