Arizona Democrats Call for Federal Investigation into Local GOP Lawmakers' Role in Riot

Arizona Democrats Call for Federal Investigation into Local GOP Lawmakers' Role in Riot
Gage Skidmore
In a letter directed to Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and FBI Director Christopher Wray Tuesday, Arizona Democratic lawmakers called for a federal probe into the potential role of local Republican elected officials in fomenting last week's riot at the Capitol.

"This was an attack on our country. As the full extent of the insurrection unfolds, we fervently urge you to investigate the federal and state lawmakers directly involved, as well as those who, through words and conduct, aided and abetted sedition, treason or any other federal crimes," the letter states. "The events of January 6 were not spontaneous, nor were they the random acts of a diffuse handful of unconnected individuals. For weeks prior to the breach, a group of Republican Arizona legislators and legislators-elect publicly advocated for the overthrow of the election results which encouraged precisely the kind of violent conduct that we witnessed."

The letter, which was dated January 12 and signed by all members of the Democratic caucuses of both the Arizona House of Representatives and the State Senate, called out several local GOP lawmakers by name: State Representative Mark Finchem (LD 11 – Maricopa), former state Representative Anthony Kern, Congressman Paul Gosar (4th District – Prescott), and Congressman Andy Biggs (5th District – Mesa).

The Democratic lawmakers cited social media posts from Kern — who posted a photo from the rally on Twitter and wrote, "D-Day in DC to support Arizona's and America's duly elected President Donald Trump! #StoptheSteal" — and Finchem, both of whom were in Washington, D.C. on the day of the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. Finchem has publicly admitted to being there but denies any involvement in the violence.

As for Congressmen Gosar and Biggs, the Democrats pointed to claims by Ali Alexander, a convicted felon who helped organize the protests seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, that Gosar and Biggs helped plan the insurrection at the Capitol.

"They did all of this in public. What they did outside of plain view we do not yet know. But there is evidence to indicate that Arizona Representatives Mark Finchem, Anthony Kern, Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs encouraged, facilitated, participated and possibly helped plan this anti-democratic insurrection on January 6," the letter states. "We the undersigned members of the Arizona Legislature, urge you to fully investigate the extent of their involvement."

The national press offices for both the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice did not respond to New Times' requests for comment on the letter.

Read the full letter below:

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Josh Kelety was a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Inlander and Seattle Weekly.
Contact: Josh Kelety