Were Mark Finchem and Anthony Kern involved in Capitol riots? Arizona lawmakers refuse to release phone records
'If they committed no crimes, then why would they fear criminal prosecution? Could it be that they are LIARS?' a tweet read
The investigations on the January 6 Capitol riots threw new developments into the light. Arizona legislators, Rep Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and then-Rep Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, who was at the Capitol on the day of the riots have reportedly disagreed with sharing e-mails or text messages about their travel to Washington DC.
az central reported that the Arizona Republic asked the state House representatives to provide any such messages from Finchem and Kern under public records laws.
Both representatives have responded via a private attorney stating they would not turn over any records that they say are on their "personal devices" and also said they weren't public records. This led to several theories on social media as people speculated if the duo had something to hide.
"@girlsreallyrule [email protected] @lorax58 @JaniceGW @wildwillow65 @AuthorKimberley Wonder will the FBI, investigate these two activities at the Capital. They won’t release there phone records, why what are they hiding?" read one of the tweets.
This was seconded by another, who wrote: "If they committed no crimes, then why would they fear criminal prosecution? Could it be that they are LIARS?"
Another comment read: "Sometimes I am embarrassed to be an Arizona resident, then I remember I didn’t vote for any of these people."
"So @AZGOP members in DC during the #CapitolRiots think they're above the law, huh? Wonder what they're hiding? "The Arizona Republic asked...to provide any such messages from Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and then-Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, under public records laws," one of the tweets said.
If they committed no crimes, then why would they fear criminal prosecution? Could it be that they are LIARS?— Pot Stirrer (@sarahlew15) January 27, 2021
Sometimes I am embarrassed to be an Arizona resident, then I remember I didn’t vote for any of these people.— T (@azmomofgirls) January 27, 2021
So @AZGOP members in DC during the #CapitolRiots think they're above the law, huh? Wonder what they're hiding?— ☆Andraste🔮Triformis☆ (@TriformisMundus) January 27, 2021
"The Arizona Republic asked...to provide any such messages from Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and then-Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, under public records laws." https://t.co/zTutIG5Ma1
The report also added the ongoing investigation by the FBI and said while the lawmakers agreed the records were public, "the threat of criminal prosecution gives rise to certain Constitutional rights that may overcome the duty to disclose otherwise public documents under Arizona’s public records law."
Arizona courts have said records on a public official's private device can be looked at as a public record if they have any relation to public business and with the device being used for a public purpose.
Earlier this month, House staff had advised lawmakers to use personal phones for official work as these would have to be handed over if records were requested. Finchem and Kerr were in DC on the day of the storming signing a joint resolution with many public legislators. They argued Congress must not accept Arizona's electoral college votes. Finchem said he has planned on meeting and delivering the letter to Mike Pence, the then-Vice President. He also said he was due to speak at a protest which included several legislators from other states.
Finchem was also active on social media at the time where he posted an image of the riots while he actually denied that he had witnessed any form of violence and had exited the place.
He also added he was unaware of the riots till later in the evening. Meanwhile, Kern was spotted on the Capitol steps. The duo's lawyer, Alexander Kolodin stated the two had attended the rally as private citizens.
These developments further fuel theories of Capitol riots being an inside job. Earlier, New Jersey Rep Mike Sherrill claimed she witnessed lawmakers providing "reconnaissance" tours just a day before the Capitol riots that saw Trump supporters storm into the building.
In a Facebook Live Video, billed as an address to her constituents about the House's efforts to hold former President Donald Trump accountable for inciting the riot, Sherrill recollected what she saw on January 6.