A Republican member of the Arizona state legislature took more than $6,000 from the Trump campaign in December, as he was pushing fellow state lawmakers to overturn the November election results, the Arizona Republic reported Saturday.
The payment to state Rep. Mark Finchem was disclosed in the Trump campaign’s latest financial disclosure, which listed the money as being paid on Dec. 18, 2020 in exchange for “recount: legal consulting.”
Finchem claims the payment was a reimbursement for “crowd control and security costs” for a meeting held at a downtown Phoenix hotel Nov. 30 with the former president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the paper said.
The payment was made to a company registered to the lawmaker’s house. Records on file with the state show the firm was formed in 2008 to provide “Real Estate Sales & Management,” but it’s not clear what it is currently doing, if anything. The Republic noted that the company was not listed in the legislator’s most recent disclosures, as required, and that Finchem did not answer questions about the omission. The paper also reported that Finchem is, in fact, not a lawyer, but is enrolled at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law.
Finchem was at the US Capitol on January 6 after former President Donald Trump whipped up a crowd of his supporters that went on to storm the Capitol in hopes of preventing President Joe Biden’s electoral victory from being certified. Finchem said he did not enter the building as part of the protests, which left half a dozen people dead and led to Trump’s second impeachment in the days before he left office.
Previously, Finchem has claimed to be part of the Oath Keepers, a right-wing extremist militia that was also present at the Capitol on January 6. In 2014 he sought to recruit new members to the group, according to a Facebook screenshot, and also claimed to be a member of the group in 2014 ahead of that year’s elections.
Accountable.Us, a Washington, D.C.-based progressive advocacy group, told the Republic in a statement that the payment should be explained to understand “how it influenced his official work as a legislator to try and overturn a free and fair election.”