Oro Valley Republican Mark Finchem has been cleared of 82 ethics complaints that were filed against him after he was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and praised the rioters who stormed the building and disrupted Congress in the deadly siege.
House Ethics Committee Chairwoman Becky Nutt on Friday released a letter saying the committee would take no action on the complaints, which have centered around Finchem’s involvement in the rally-turned-coup attempt.
Nutt’s decision was first reported by 12 News.
Finchem was at the Capitol when Trump supporters engaged in a violent insurrection aimed at 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.
State Rep. César Chávez, D-Phoenix, filed an ethics complaint about the tweet, arguing that it showed Finchem participated in the insurrection. In the following four weeks, the committee received 81 more complaints.
“Most were notarized, but the vast majority appeared to be form letters,” Nutt wrote. “More to the point, none of the complaints offered any facts establishing that Representative Finchem actually ‘supported the violent overthrow of our government’ or directly participated in the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol.”
The letter goes on to say that the complaints amount to “an objection to Representative Finchem’s advocacy of controversial political opinions.”
Finchem has been on the forefront of the controversial #StopTheSteal movement, as the Arizona Mirror previously reported. Ali Alexander, a #StopTheSteal organizer has said that “Arizona started with one man: State Representative Mark Finchem.”
Complaints made about Finchem apparently also wrapped in other lawmakers.
Rep. Bret Roberts, R-Maricopa, was mentioned in a complaint in which a constituent said that comments he made about the 2020 election aimed to disenfranchise voters and that he engaged in a disinformation campaign.
“Even if this were true, it too would amount to controversial political advocacy, which falls outside this committee’s purview,” Nutt wrote in her dismissal letter.
In Finchem’s very first tweet using “#StopTheSteal,” he also used the hashtag “#bretroberts,” according to a download of Finchem’s tweets obtained by the Mirror.
“AZ Legislature must be called back into special session to hold a hearing, take evidence and make a decision on whether fraud corrupted our 2020 elections. It is our Article II Section 1 plenary duty to act. #stopthesteal #bretroberts,” the Nov. 19 tweet says.
Nutt also mentioned a complaint that claimed Reps. David Cook and Walt Blackman, Republicans from Globe and Snowflake, respectively, were present in Washington D.C. Both lawmakers told Nutt saying they were not, she wrote.
“I therefore conclude that none of these complaints warrants any action at this time,” the letter says.
Democratic lawmakers in the Arizona legislature are currently trying to expel Finchem 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.