The Arizona Republic reports that two Arizona state lawmakers who were at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are refusing to release emails or text messages related to their trip.
The Arizona Republic asked the state House of Representatives to provide any such messages from Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and then-Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, under public records laws.
But responding through a private attorney, and not the House, the duo said they would not turn over any records that are on their “personal devices,” arguing that these are not public records.
Also noted in the letter is the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the storming of the Capitol. The letter said that even if the lawmakers agreed the records were a matter of public record, “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.”
According to the report, Finchem and Kern had signed a “joint resolution” along with numerous GOP lawmakers at the state Capitol arguing that Congress should reject Arizona’s electoral college votes. Their trip to Washington, D.C., appeared to be related to the effort.
Finchem said he had planned to deliver a letter to then-Vice President Mike Pence and meet with members of Congress, as well as speak at a protest that was also to include legislators from several states.
While the Capitol was under siege, he posted a photo on social media of a crowd on the steps of the building with the message: “What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”
However, the lawmaker claimed that he left the area and was unaware of the Capitol breach until later in the evening, the Republic reported.
The report noted that “A photo from Jan. 6 appears to show Kern on the Capitol steps wearing a coat and tie.”
Despite the fact that both lawmakers signed the letter asking Congress to toss Arizona’s electoral college votes and then traveled to D.C. on the day of the count, their attorney said the two men attended the rally as private citizens.
He also said Kern did not run for re-election — Kern did run for re-election, but he lost — and maintained the lawmaker had “completed his active service as a public official at the time of the riots.”
Image: Arizona state Reps. Anthony Kern (left) and Mark Finchem. (Screengrabs / The Victory Channel ; Crossroads with JOSHUA PHILIPP / YouTube)