Politics

Congressman Andy Biggs Coordinated Efforts With Mark Finchem Before Capitol Riot

Congressman Andy Biggs
Congressman Andy Biggs Gage Skidmore
Right-wing "Stop the Steal" activist Ali Alexander wasn't the only person that Arizona Representative Mark Finchem texted with the day before the deadly January 6 riot at the Capitol.

Text messages show that Congressman Andy Biggs was apparently coordinating with Finchem to gather signatures from Arizona lawmakers who endorsed a slate of fake electors from the state as part of the broader effort to overturn the 2020 election results. It's unknown if that's the same group of fakers who were caught in December sending a letter to the National Archives in Washington D.C. that fraudulently claimed Arizona's electors cast their votes for Trump. The real 11 electors cast their votes a week later for Biden, in accordance with the wishes of a majority of Arizona voters.

Biggs' communication with Finchem sheds more light on his involvement in the events of January 6 and the "Stop the Steal" movement by Trump supporters. Alexander named Biggs in a video as one of several Republican lawmakers who "schemed up" a plan of "putting maximum pressure on Congress" as members  voted to certify the winner of the presidential election. Biggs has denied knowing Alexander or having any involvement in planning the riot at the Capitol.

The new information about Biggs comes from a series of text messages released on Tuesday by Finchem, a Republican who represents Legislative District 11 in the Arizona House of Representatives. In what appeared to be an attempt to clear himself of any involvement in the attack on the Capitol, Finchem released messages to the media showing him communicating with Alexander regarding his appearance for a planned speech at the Capitol on January 6.


The text messages don't indicate that Finchem joined the crowd that breached the Capitol, resulting in the deaths of a Capitol police officer and four rioters. But besides the talk about the rally speech, which he never got to give, Finchem and Ali communicated regularly about social media posts and other "Stop the Steal" events and rallies back in December. Included in this group of messages are texts from Biggs' mobile phone number.

Whether the person using the cellphone actually is Biggs can't be confirmed. Maybe Biggs had someone chat with Finchem on his phone while he played video games. But there's no reason to think the messages sent from Biggs' phone weren't sent from Biggs, and Biggs isn't denying it.

Several phone calls by New Times to the number went unanswered. Daniel Stefanski, Biggs' deputy chief of staff, did not respond to requests for comment on the text messages. Finchem declined to comment further on the text messages, citing "advice from legal counsel," and Alexander Kolodin, his attorney, did not respond to additional requests for comment.

Assuming it's Biggs, the texts show that he asked Finchem for a letter signed by Arizona lawmakers who endorsed the "alternative" electors with the goal to influence U.S. Senators prior to the January 6 certification vote. That would be in keeping with the congressman's subsequent vote against certifying the election results from Arizona even after the Capitol breach.

Arizona Democratic lawmakers have called for federal investigations into Biggs, and a Washington D.C.-based government watchdog group is seeking both ethical and criminal investigations.

In the text exchange, Finchem reaches out to Biggs, who apparently had been trying to get ahold of Finchem.

"Just got on the ground in DC," Finchem wrote. "I understand that you're trying to track me down ... give me a call if you'd like I'm on my way to the hotel to drop my bag."

"I need the letter your members signed re alternative slate of electors," Biggs replied. "A couple senators have asked for it."

Finchem asks him where he should send the document. He notes that the copy he is sending over does not feature "all signatures." The response: "Please get signatures ASAP."

click to enlarge SCREENSHOT COURTESY ALEXANDER KOLODIN.
Screenshot courtesy Alexander Kolodin.
Finchem tells him that the "copy with signatures has already been turned over to the vice president." Biggs replied that he needs that version for "senators."

"I have to tell you I'm very disappointed I was only able to get 25 legislators to sign," Finchem wrote in another text. "Nothing but a damn bunch of coward[s]."

They go back and forth a little more on logistics before Finchem confirms that copies are being sent to Biggs.

"We have a package in the package and are running it back to the office," Finchem writes.

"Thanks brother," Biggs responds.

Finchem signs off, "Happy to be at your service, my friend."
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Josh Kelety is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Inlander and Seattle Weekly.
Contact: Josh Kelety