Saturday, March 6, 2021

Report: Trump campaign listed payment to legislator’s firm

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PHOENIX (AP) — Former President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful reelection campaign reported it paid over $6,000 to a business belonging to an Arizona legislator who sought to have the Legislature overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state.

The campaign’s latest financial disclosure include a Dec. 18 payment of $6,037 to a professional limited liability corporation belonging to Republican Rep. Mark Finchem for an expense labeled as “recount: legal consulting,” the Arizona Republic reported Saturday.

Finchem, a Tucson-area Republican who is not a lawyer, told the newspaper the payment was reimbursement for “crowd control and security costs” for a Nov. 30 post-election meeting he convened at a Phoenix hotel for presentations by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and others.

Attempts Saturday by The Associated Press to obtain comment from Finchem were not immediately successful. His phone’s mailbox was full and he did not immediately responded to emailed questions.

The corporation listed in the campaign’s disclosure was not disclosed in Finchem’s most recent financial disclosure, which covered all of 2020, the Republic reported.

Accountable.Us, a progressive watchdog group, called for an explanation of the reported payment to Finchem’s firm “and how it influenced his official work as a legislator to try and overturn a free and fair election.”

Republican leaders of the Arizona Legislature rejected Finchem’s idea to have the Legislature convene and appoint presidential electors of its choosing.

Finchem was in Washington on Jan. 6 and said he was to speak at a rally that afternoon but the appearance was canceled. He said he never got close to the U.S. Capitol, did not know it was breached until later that evening and did not witness any violence.

Democratic state Rep. Rep. César Chávez in January filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee alleging that Finchem violated his oath of office by attending the rally.

Chavez said the Trump campaign’s payment to Finchem should raise questions.

“I would hope it at least puts a question in people’s heads — who and what was that for?” he said.

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