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AZ GOP lawmakers targeted by Dem group for ‘extremist ties’

By: - October 23, 2018 2:09 pm

Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, and Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley. Photos courtesy Gage Skidmore

The Huffington Post yesterday reported on how D.C.-based groups that help elect Republicans to state legislatures across the country are silent when GOP lawmakers voice racist views and embrace extremist groups. Among them are two Arizona legislators.

HuffPo singled out Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, and Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, for their ties to radical groups.

Thorpe in 2017 introduced aggressive immigration legislation that sought to enable local law enforcement agencies to ask suspected undocumented immigrants about their immigration status. The measure was drafted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which seeks to curtail all immigration, whether legal or illegal.

FAIR was founded by eugenicist doctor John Tanton, and its policies aim to preserve white superiority in America. “All of Western Civilization is running at sub-replacement fertility, and will within a generation or two disappear into the history books. It looks as if Western Civilization, as attractive as it is in certain respects, is simply unable to meet the evolutionary test of reproductive success,” Tanton wrote in a 1997 letter to Peter Brimelow, founder of a white-supremacist website.

Finchem, meanwhile, is a member of the Oath Keepers, a national anti-government, right-wing militia founded in 2009 that regularly traffics in conspiracy theories, including a recent one alleging that there was a child-sex ring being operated near Tucson.

HuffPo noted that the Republican State Leadership Committee, a political organization designed to assist Republican legislative candidates, gave $25,000 to the Arizona Republican Party between 2014 and 2016, but has not denounced Finchem or Thorpe (or any other GOP candidates) since their “extremist ties have been exposed.”

Forward Majority, a super PAC working to elect Democrats to state legislatures across the country, called on the AZGOP and a political committee backed by House Speaker JD Mesnard, to sever ties with Thorpe and Finchem.

“Rep. Bob Thorpe introduced legislation written by an out-of-state white nationalist organization and Rep. Mark Finchem is a member of an organization that formed a militia to fight for the KKK and neo-nazis, and called for John McCain to be ‘hung by the neck until dead,’” said Ben Wexler-Waite, Communications Director for Forward Majority. “There is zero excuse for the Arizona Republican Party and Arizona House Republican Committee not to condemn and pull funding from Mr. Thorpe and Mr. Finchem.”

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications. He has also served as the editor and executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.