Washington, D.C. — Government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report revealing the top corporate donors of politicians in Southwestern states pushing for election audits and peddling baseless 2020 election conspiracies, including those connected to extremist groups and with histories of anti-vaccine rhetoric.
The report focuses on state representatives in the Southwest who, in light of the Maricopa County ‘audit,’ have joined far-right state-level officials across the country requesting the Arizona-style audit be conducted in their home states at taxpayers’ expense. Accountable.US called on the corporations and trade associations that have supported the campaigns of these representatives to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars to explain whether these extreme values align with their own.
“These fringe representatives are willing to undermine our democracy just to score political points with the twice-impeached former president by keeping his Big Lie alive,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “They would rather fan the flames of insurrection by spreading unhinged conspiracy theories than accept the will of the people. It is clear that no amount of evidence that the election was fair will satisfy those who are acting in bad faith. The question is: why haven’t the corporations that have supported these anti-democratic representatives in the past condemned their rhetoric?”
While their demands are outlandish, this isn’t the first time these state-level officials have put their constituents on the backburner to spread harmful conspiracy theories:
- Jim Marchant: Former Nevada assemblyman and current candidate for Secretary of State, Marchant has branded himself as an election denier, questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election and calling for an audit of the state’s election results. Marchant joined other election conspiracy theorists in a rally outside the Nevada State Capitol protesting the 2020 election results, claiming the election was stolen from both him and former President Trump, going as far as saying his own loss in a race for a Congressional seat, despite the margin being over 5-percent, was fraudulent. Marchant is scheduled to attend a QAnon fundraiser in October of this year. Despite his extremism, Marchant has received contributions from several major Las Vegas resorts and companies: $15,000 from Las Vegas Sands, $12,000 from Keystone Corporation, and $12,000 from Venetian Casino, among others.
- Mark Finchem: Despite claiming he didn’t get within 500 yards of the Capitol, video footage shows Representative Finchem at the Capitol’s east steps after the building had been breached on January 6. Finchem discussed the events of January 6 on his personal newsletter, claiming “ANTIFA infiltrators” were responsible for the violence and had been identified by “facial recognition.” Finchem identified as a member of the Oath Keepers, classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-government extremist group. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Finchem made a comparison of potential “mandatory mask and vaccines” requirements to violations of the Nuremberg Code, and expressed skepticism of COVID-19 vaccinations, calling them “experimental, potentially deadly gene therapy,” and said he was “not one of the lab rats.” Finchem also reposted a message seeming to call for the execution of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, saying “hang all these bastards treason” in response to a post claiming Secretary Austin had instituted Critical Race Theory in the military. In 2017, Finchem referred to the incidents at Charlottesville as a “deep state” operation.
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE.