If there is one thing many Americans learned after the 2020 election, it is that we need more local representatives like Arizona Republican State House Representative Mark Finchem. Finchem was featured in Wednesday's podcast, Dark to Light with Frank and Beanz. His Legislative District 11 is north of Tucson, covering parts of Pima and Pinal counties, and houses 61 precincts, 34 in Pima and 27 in Pinal, with a total registered voter population of 167,824.
Photo/Mark Finchem/Mary Jo Pitzl/The Republic
Tracy's first question concerned what happened in Arizona on election night when the Presidential race was called before the votes were even counted. The perplexing call by Fox News set in motion a domino effect, effectively resulting in other swing states calling the election for Biden, many say, prematurely. Finchem remembers feeling confused since he had witnessed, preceding the election, obvious enthusiasm in the form of Trump Train type rallies with "miles of cars people lined up with cars and honking and flags, completely festive" and then maybe "a couple of hippies on a corner with a Biden sign." In other words, it wasn't just he who suspected that something was amiss with the way the election was called in the state. Having seen the "shenanigans" that were going on in other swing states, constituents "blew up his phone and email" demanding "not just a recount, but an audit."
Finchem called a public hearing on Nov. 30 after being "slow-walked by the speaker's office." The 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. hearing hosted 160 people in a ballroom at the Hyatt Regency hotel that in non-Covid times holds 800 people. People willingly showed up from across the state to testify, and he never once issued a single subpoena. Former Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis were present with expert testimony from retired U.S. Army Colonel Phil Waldron. Finchem's ultimate goal was to transparently provide an "objective platform where evidence could be presented and could be recorded for posterity on video." Finchem ended up covering the entire $25,000 cost himself. It was this hearing that helped "leadership" in the state understand that the evidence was "substantive and wasn't going away." The state senate soon understood that a forensic audit needed to happen.
In fact, Arizona has been at the forefront of the fight for election integrity. It could well be the state model that opens doors to legitimate forensic audits in other states. Finchem credits the Arizona State Senate, led by Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borelli (R), in concert with GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward who have fought tooth and nail for months for a full forensic audit of the ballots in Maricopa County. Maricopa is the largest county in the state, with 4.4 million people. According to the Navarro Report, reported by UncoverDC on Jan. 15, Biden's margin of victory in Arizona was a mere 10,457 votes, with possible illegal votes tallied at 254,722.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors repeatedly defied Republicans' requests for a forensic audit of the ballots and voting machines. In fact, they were just one vote short of being held in contempt. In a vote on Feb. 8, Republican Sen. Paul Boyer broke ranks with his Republican colleagues, joining the 14 Democrats in a vote against the contempt resolution—a resolution that could have resulted in jail time for the Board of Electors.
The ongoing stand-off between the Senate and the Board of Supervisors was finally broken on Feb. 25 when Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason ruled that the subpoenas issued by the Arizona Senate are "legitimate and enforceable," according to Finchem. Reportedly, 2.1 million ballots will receive a full forensic audit that will probably take as many as 12 weeks to complete. Finchem reports that the Senate plans to perform a full forensic audit, which means "every ballot, every ballot image, every machine, and the software."
There has been much controversy along the way about who will be performing the audit ordered by the Senate. According to Finchem, the Board of Supervisors "did their own 'audit' where they had the two companies that certified the equipment in the first place, come in and examine the equipment, stick drives into it, open it up, run ballots through it. "However," said Finchem, "those machines were under a Senate subpoena, which means they should have been frozen in time, do not mess with them, do not touch them, do not even approach them. So the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, in my estimation, really stepped in it here. We don't know what we will find when we ultimately do the examination."
A summary of the audit posted on Feb. 23 found that the tabulation system and equipment were using certified software, with no malicious hardware and software identified, and that the equipment in question was not connected to the internet.
Screenshot/Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Forensic Audit Transmittal Letter
Finchem relayed that Senator Borelli told him that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors "notified Senate President [Karen Fann] on Monday that they were sending 17 pallets of ballots and equipment to the State Senate for them to examine." Other than that communication, Finchem emphasized that he is completely in the dark about the choice of auditor and the audit process is completely out of his hands. He sits on the House side of the Legislature, and those decisions rest firmly with Senate President Karen Fann and Sen. Borelli.
In the end, the only thing Finchem cares about is the truth for his constituents. "If we do not fully understand the fraud vectors, the direction from which fraud came into our election, our next election will be plagued with the same garbage." Finchem also said that, if no fraud is found, he will "celebrate."
Sadly, Finchem has been at the center of controversy, having little to do with anything resembling truth. He was sent to D.C. to potentially meet with the Vice President about the alternate slate of Republican Electors sent from Arizona, a meeting that never transpired. Finchem had compiled an "evidence book" showing the best evidence they had, like the "mathematical model presented by Dr. Shiva that was matched to actual voting records in the state of Arizona. That evidence showed that 130 percent of Democrats had a vote—whenever you get over a hundred percent, you've got a problem," said Finchem.
During his visit there, he was invited to a few rallies. One was a Stop The Steal rally in front of his hotel and the other was at the Ellipse. He was also invited to speak at another permitted protest rally on the Capitol grounds that he ultimately never attended because he was warned about trouble brewing there. That invitation led to "accusations by House and Senate Democrats...in the state of Arizona, that I planned the assault on the Capitol, that I implemented it, that I led it, that I somehow was leading an insurrection against the United States government."
Finchem told Tracy and Frank, he has been "harassed.. the Democrats did a criminal referral to the FBI and the Department of Justice, claiming I was all that (a ringleader) and more and then a couple of days later, one of the members filed an ethics complaint [whose] basis for the complaint was 'I have personal knowledge of news articles,' which just demonstrates to me just how... ignorant our legislators are of what evidence is."
The Democrats then immediately sent it to the media, he believes, for "base, political motives," which, in turn, stoked the fire by reporting that he is a "traitor and a seditionist." As his attorney told him at the time, "They accused you of a capital crime that the punishment is death by firing squad. This cannot be allowed to stand."
Notably, the criminal referral was written on official letterhead but was not an official criminal referral. He has sued for defamation, and every member who signed on to the letter will eventually be named in the lawsuit, about 44 Democrats.
The lawsuit claims defamation "because of the allegations and their gravity and the malice that they showed. This was not just a referral to law enforcement to investigate, but they portrayed it on a piece of paper that said Arizona State Legislature. Oddly enough, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House had absolutely no idea that that went out as the Legislature. Then add to that, there were no Republicans who were even aware of it. There was no committee meeting. There was no formal action taken by either body..so what they have done, is they have committed, I'm told, a federal felony—and that is a false police report under color of authority." Finchem added, "I've never been a guy to just sit by let people sit there and kick me," citing his 21 years as a police officer in West Michigan. "Frankly, they picked on the wrong guy this time."
As Tracy commented, the beauty of what Finchem is doing with this lawsuit will be bigger than just defending himself and his colleagues, Electoral College Elector Anthony Kern, Congressman Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Ali Alexander of Stop the Steal. He has applied for 501(c)(4) status for his Guardian Defense Fund featured on his new website FightBack.Network, hoping to raise money for a fund that helps to fight back on behalf of 81 million Americans whose voices have been "ignored." He continued, "We are building a network of people who are dedicated to fight back, whether it is to protest or sending a ten dollar donation...or offering to volunteer skills you might have—I guarantee there is someone in your community who will be fighting this battle just like I am."
Finchem explained, "At the end of the day, this transcends us. If they can get away with it with us, they are going to continue to do it to everybody else...you think it's bad today, wait six months...It is more important that we protect our political franchise than anything else. If that is destroyed. If the opportunity for us to have free speech and free association is destroyed, the vote's not gonna matter... and we are back to Stalin's question of 'Who counts the vote.'"
In the end, Finchem says, in the tradition of the true Classical Liberal, "We need to conserve power to the people...I am a power to the people guy...[we need] to move the power as close to the people as possible."
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