Rep. Mark Finchem (R-LD11) filed an ethics complaint Tuesday against 42 state Democratic legislators who he contends falsely and maliciously filed a criminal referral against him with the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice in connection to his efforts to address election integrity.
Finchem’s attorney, Alexander Kolodin, tells the Arizona Daily Independent that the representative had no choice but to bring an ethics complaint because by making “the baseless and false report” the Democrats “have purposefully accused an innocent man of serious criminal offences for political purposes and in an attempt to silence a political opponent. This cannot stand.”
In the ethics complaint, Finchem refutes the factual basis of the criminal referral, and accuses the 42 state Democratic legislators who filed it of committing the federal felony of filing a false criminal report.
Last week Finchem was cleared of multiple identical ethics complaints centered on what Democrats called his “advocacy of controversial political opinions” connected to election integrity issues and President Donald Trump’s loss in Arizona.
Finchem’s complaint also contends the named Democrats knowingly spread falsehoods about his actions in Washington D.C. leading to and during the Jan. 6 incursion of the Capitol. He was scheduled to speak at one of several planned, permitted rallies outside the Capitol and along the National Mall but those plans quickly changed as some in the crowd of thousands turned riotous.
After the riot, Finchem insisted he never came within hundreds of yards from the Capitol and in fact had not known for several hours about rioters making it into the Capitol itself.
Also on Tuesday, Finchem released text messages requested by several news outlets related to his activities at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Those messages show Finchem got swept up by the crush of the bodies as he tried to get to his rally venue. Over the next several minutes Finchem exchanged several text messages with rally organizers, who informed him that some attendees were rioting, and that they needed to get him out of the area to safety.
“As can be clearly seen, Representative Finchem was scheduled to speak at a scheduled event outside the Capitol,” said Kolodin. “Representative Finchem was not inside the Capitol during the riots. Indeed, the organizers he was corresponding with, fearing for his safety, asked him to steer clear of the Capitol entirely once the riots started.”
Finchem is calling on Rep. Becky Nutt and Sen. Sine Kerr, the chairmen of the House and Senate Ethics Committees, to recognize that the members who made the complaints against him engaged in conduct meriting discipline.
“The false and baseless reporting of criminal activity to the highest law enforcement official in the nation, and the dissemination of that false report in the media, surely rises to a level of dishonesty and untruthfulness beyond tolerable political puffery,” Kolodin notes. “Worse, it makes a mockery of our criminal justice system and veers dangerously toward the tactics of a banana republic, where politicians use the threat of criminal sanctions in an endless war of attrition.”