Arizona lawmaker threatens to sue constituents for mentioning he was at the Capitol riot
Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem received $6,000 from Donald Trump’s campaign as he worked to invalidate Joe Biden’s win.
Arizona Republican state Rep. Mark Finchem, currently the only declared candidate for the position of Arizona secretary of state, has threatened to sue a group calling for his recall.
Lawyers for Finchem sent a letter dated May 5 to Rural Arizonans for Accountability, a group of Arizona residents working to file a petition to recall him, demanding they “immediately cease and desist from publishing and retract all false and defamatory allegations contained in materials that you have published in support of your campaign to recall Rep. Finchem.”
The letter refers specifically to the group’s contention that Finchem “played a role in the January 6th attacks on our nation’s Capitol” and that he has “ties to domestic terrorist organizations.”
Finchem was in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and attended the “Stop the Steal” protest against certifying Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election.
Finchem tweeted from the protest that it was “what happens when the people feel they have been ignored” and complained that “Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”
Texts released by Finchem in February show him coordinating his arrival at the Jan. 6 event with right-wing activist Ali Alexander, who helped organize the rally.
Finchem also promoted the rally with tweets using Trump’s language about a “wild” protest. Finchem wrote that he would be in Washington to “fight” for Trump.
Defending his actions, Finchem released a statement on Jan. 12 noting that he flew to Washington, D.C., to give Mike Pence “key evidence of fraud in the Arizona Presidential Election” that he hoped would lead to postponement of the awarding of electors to Joe Biden.
In the statement, Finchem also advances the conspiracy theory that “Antifa infiltrators” entered the Capitol by force, a claim that has been denied by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
On his website Finchem falsely claims that in the 2020 election “Americans witnessed real-time reallocation of votes from one candidate to another, broadcast on national television.”
Multiple videos on Finchem’s site cite conspiracy theories about the election, including false allegations that voting machine evidence was “deleted.”
During the election, Finchem attempted to have the Arizona Legislature appoint its own electors to replace those chosen by the voters who selected Biden for president. Subsequent campaign finance filings show that the time he had been paid $6,000 by the Trump campaign.
Finchem is a supporter of the conspiracy theory-fueled third audit of Arizona’s election results, aimed at undermining the official results showing President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the state.
On Tuesday, Finchem appeared on a talk show promoting the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory. He told the host that he hopes the result of the audit will reassign Arizona’s electors to Trump.
Despite his protests and legal threats against accusations that he has ties to domestic terrorists, Finchem is a self-described member of the fringe Oath Keepers militia.
“I’m an Oath Keeper committed to the exercise of limited, constitutional governance,” he told InMaricopa.com in 2014.
He has also posted Facebook and Twitter messages attempting to recruit people to join the militia.
The Phoenix New Times reported last year that Finchem was affiliated with the extremist group Coalition of Western States, which supported the 2016 armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. He served as the organization’s “Arizona Coordinator.” The coalition has in the past accused the Bureau of Land Management of “federal overreach” and “bureaucratic terrorism.”
Finchem has frequently promoted conspiracy theories and falsehoods in defense of right-wing extremism.
He has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory and falsely claimed that Biden is not the legitimate president.
In 2017, he claimed that the far right was not involved in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, at which a neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, injuring dozens and killing protester Heather Heyer.Finchem instead claimed that fights at the rally were between “two Democrat mobs” and that the event was a psychological operation “to impugn those of us who stand for the rule of law and civil rights.” Echoing Trump, Finchem blamed the “deep state” for the episode.
In 2013, Finchem accused President Barack Obama of installing an “ideological, totalitarian dictatorship.” Three years later, as a member of the Arizona Legislature, he sponsored a bill that would have prohibited the state from implementing executive orders from the president.
This February, Finchem promoted a Facebook hoax that actor Paul Walker was killed by Bill and Hillary Clinton because he was about reveal alleged crimes committed by the Clinton Foundation.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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