Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem

Wearing a face covering and sitting among socially-distanced plexiglass, Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, sits at his desk during the opening of the Arizona Legislature at the state Capitol, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)

(The Center Square) – An Arizona state lawmaker says his fellow statehouse Republican colleague violated his oath of office when he allegedly participated in the rush on the U.S. Capitol. 

State Rep. César Chávez, D-Phoenix, filed a complaint with House Ethics Committee Chairwoman Becky Nutt on Thursday, saying Oro Valley Republican Mark Finchem supported a violent attempt to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote.

“These domestic terrorists did not like the outcome of the free and fair election on Nov. 3, 2020, and rather than simply protesting the election outcome – political speech that is protected by the First Amendment – they stormed the Capitol Building, killing one police officer and injuring countless others, and hunted for members of Congress with assault-style weapons and zip-ties that would serve as makeshift handcuffs,” Chávez wrote. “And all the while, Representative Finchem was there encouraging their efforts and was even scheduled to speak at the rally. Such behavior makes him unfit for office.” 

Finchem didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday but had released a statement on his involvement Monday, saying he flew to Washington D.C. to deliver evidence to Vice President Mike Pence showing fraud had taken place in the Arizona election and to ask him to consider postponing the award of electors to Joe Biden. 

“Media reports that I was ‘leading the march’ or somehow ‘leading an assault on the Capitol’ are wildly fictitious and a slanderous fabrication,” he said. “The closest I ever came to the Capitol building was about 500 yards away. The fact that I was late to the venue by over an hour destroys the hyperbolic assertion that I was in any way a leader of the event.”

Finchem repeated a widely-debunked rumor that Antifa, a radical leftist group, were the individuals who really infiltrated the Capitol. 

“I did not learn of the Capitol penetration until shortly before 5:00 pm EST when I was about to record a podcast interview. I was told that individuals believed to be Antifa had breached an area of the Capitol building that was out of my view, around the corner from where I was located. I have since been told by investigators, that through the use of facial recognition software, the Antifa link was confirmed.” 

The complaint comes a day after Arizona Democrats wrote the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation asking them to investigate U.S. Rep’s Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and state Representatives Anthony Kern and Finchem in their alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 events. 

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.