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Senate ethics chairs tosses Finchem’s complaint

Follows dismissal of complaints in House

Wearing a face covering and sitting among socially-distanced plexiglass, Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, sits at his desk during the opening of the Arizona Legislature at the state Capitol, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)

Wearing a face covering and sitting among socially-distanced plexiglass, Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, sits at his desk during the opening of the Arizona Legislature at the state Capitol, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)

It doesn’t look like Rep. Mark Finchem will get an investigation into the conduct of Democratic lawmakers who asked the FBI to investigate him.

Sen. Sine Kerr, R-Buckeye, who chairs the Senate Ethics Committee, has concluded that the allegations of the Oro Valley Republican against the senators “do not constitute ‘conduct alleged to be unethical’ under the committee’s rules,” according to Chris Kleminich, an attorney for the Senate.

Her finding, released Monday, is similar to one last week by Rep. Becky Nutt, R-Clifton, who chairs the House Ethics Committee. She said his complaint about House Democrats also did not fit in the role of her committee, saying it involves essentially political matters.

Strictly speaking, Kerr’s response does not end the matter.

Senate rules allow a complaint to go forward if at least two of the other lawmakers on the five-member panel want to go further. But she has given them only until this coming Monday March 1 to respond.

Finchem’s complaint is that the Democratic lawmakers acted improperly by asking both the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice to look into his activities leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as well as what he did in Washington that day. The Democrats charged that Finchem “supported the violent overthrow of our government” and that he participated in the attack on the Capitol.

He has denied those charges.

The Democrats said all they have heard back from the federal agencies is that they got the request.

Finchem said Monday he had no comment “other than 100% of the Democratic senator signed onto a fallacious criminal referral and they can’t have an ethics committee because they have all committed the same violation.”

And what of the fact that the people who chair both ethics panels are Republicans?

“You’ll know when I’m ready to move,” Finchem responded.

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