Arizona's Mark Finchem has raised nearly $10,000 from Oath Keepers
Mark Finchem has received nearly $10,000 in donations from people linked to the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers, according to an Arizona Mirror analysis.
The Mirror compared campaign finance records for Finchem’s campaign for secretary of state with names in a leaked database of Oath Keepers members that was published by the journalism collective Distributed Denial of Secrets.
The leak contains emails, chat logs, members and email lists for the Oath Keepers, and has been used by journalists and researchers to expose the organization’s ties to law enforcement and elected officials across the country.
Finchem, the Republican nominee for secretary of state who has been open about his membership in the Oath Keepers, shows up in the data, listing his address in Oro Valley.
Finchem has received campaign contributions from Oath Keepers in Arizona and across the nation. Contributions have come from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Montana, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
The Mirror also analyzed campaign contributions to Adrian Fontes, Finchem’s Democratic opponent, and found no contributors on the Oath Keeper membership roster.
The Oath Keepers are an anti-government extremist group whose members were deeply tied to the violent riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The leader of the organization, Stewart Rhodes, has been charged with seditious conspiracy and he spoke of “Civil War” prior to the day’s events. Another 10 Oath Keepers, including one from Arizona, are also facing charges for seditious conspiracy and other crimes.
Finchem declared his membership in the Oath Keepers in a 2014 candidate questionnaire, writing that he was an “Oath Keeper committed to the exercise of limited, constitutional governance.” His Twitter bio previously also urged users to join the group.
The Mirror reached out to Finchem asking if he was still a member of the organization, if he adhered to its beliefs and if he was in connection with any of its members, but did not receive a response.
In total, the Mirror found $9,760 in campaign contributions from 40 individuals who either appear in the database or are affiliated with the Oath Keepers. The Mirror verified the names by cross-referencing donor names and addresses against the leaked database, which included names and addresses of Oath Keeper members.
This list also includes State Sen. Wendy Rogers of Flagstaff, who contributed $35 and has spoken to the group. Although she has never publicly declared her membership in the Oath Keepers, her name also appears in the database.
“Every time I get attacked for being an Oath Keeper (someone who defends their oath to the United States Constitution) or liking some based individual, it makes me want to say it more just to break the conditioning,” Rogers wrote in a February Telegram post.
The Arizona chapter of the Oath Keepers has recently made headlines for working alongside an organization named Lions of Liberty to conduct “Operation Dropbox,” an effort to surveil every election drop box in Yavapai County.
The group, however, ceased their activities due to legal threats by groups who sought injunctions against them for doing their activities asking all members to “stand down.”
Finchem has long been a proponent for watching of drop boxes and polls, and in a recent interview pushed for people to download a smartphone application that encourages users to take photos and videos of alleged election fraud to create a “national database.”
“You can take a picture of a fictitious ballot, you can do video of somebody who is walking up to a ballot box and stuffing it with ballots, you can take a picture of their license plate on their car,” Finchem said. “Everyday citizens, if you see something, take a picture and say something.”
This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.