Democrats on Monday introduced a resolution to expel a Republican state lawmaker for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, his ties to extremist groups and for spreading misinformation about the election.
Those things make Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, unfit to serve in the Arizona Legislature, said Rep. Athena Salman, D-Tempe.
Finchem was at the Capitol when Trump supporters engaged in a violent coup attempt, in the hopes of stopping Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory, that left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. On his Twitter page, Finchem posted a photo he took of the Capitol after rioters and protesters had breached the inner areas of the Capitol grounds.
“What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud,” he wrote, praising the rioters.
Finchem has since deleted his Twitter account. He did not respond to a request for comment.
State Rep. César Chávez, D-Phoenix, filed an ethics complaint about the tweet, arguing that it showed Finchem participated in the insurrection. The House Ethics Committee has not acted on the complaint.
Salman said that legislative Republicans, who control the House of Representatives by a single vote, have shown they won’t hold Finchem accountable.
“The majority party has failed to take the most minimal action,” Salman said at a press conference Monday. “Due to their inaction, Representative Fincehm has tried to hide his actions.”
Salman brought up recent news that Finchem was paid $6,000 by the Trump campaign for “recount: legal consulting” after the election and has battled the release of records requested by the Arizona Republic in relation to the Jan. 6 riots. Finchem, a licensed real estate agent, is not an attorney.
An Arizona Mirror analysis of tweets from Finchem’s now-deleted Twitter account found that the lawmaker used the hashtag “#StopTheSteal” a total of 62 times from Nov. 19 to Jan. 6.
“I demand his immediate expulsion,” Ret. Lt. Col. Dana Allmond said at the presser. Allmond, a West Point graduate who resides in Finchem’s legislative district, said the Republican lawmaker poses a “clear and present danger” to the country and Arizona’s legislature.
The resolution is unlikely to succeed because it can’t advance without GOP backing. Republicans would have to first consider it in committee, and then allow it to come to the floor for a vote. Were that to happen, Finchem would only be expelled if two-thirds of the House voted for the resolution.
“There is a line between First Amendment speech and inciting the overthrow of a free and fair election,” Salman said.
Salman’s resolution also notes Finchem’s ties to the anti-government extremist group the Oath Keepers. Three members of the group have been indicted for conspiracy related to the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the group has been preparing for a civil war since before the November election.
Finchem also has ties to Washington lawmaker Matt Shea who was accused of domestic terrorism by his state’s legislature for his role in armed standoffs in Oregon, Nevada and Idaho. Finchem was a part of an organization called the Coalition of Western States that Shea used to work behind the scenes to feed information to the armed men, the Washington report claimed.