The Republican nominee for secretary of state in Arizona is a self-proclaimed member of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers who repeatedly shared anti-government conspiracies and posts about stockpiling ammunition on social media.
CNN’s KFile team uncovered previously unreported posts from Mark Finchem, an Arizona state representative who won his party’s nomination with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, on several social media websites linked from his since-deleted former Twitter account.
The posts included a Pinterest account with a “Treason Watch List,” and pins of photos of Barack Obama alongside imagery of a man clad in Nazi attire making a Nazi salute; Finchem also shared photos of the Holocaust claiming it could happen in the United States.
The Oath Keepers, of which Finchem self-identified as a member since 2014, is an anti-government, far-right militia composed of former and active military and law enforcement that purports to defend the US Constitution. The group is perhaps best known for providing security for the January 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally preceding the Capitol riot. Eleven members, including its leader, were charged by the Justice Department with “seditious conspiracy” related to the Capitol attack.
Finchem, who attended the January 6 rally before the attack on the US Capitol but has denied he participated in the riot and has not been charged with any crimes, campaigned extensively on the false claim the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. If Finchem wins his race against Democrat Adrian Fontes, a former county clerk of Maricopa County, Arizona, Finchem would be tasked with running the state’s elections in 2024. In Arizona, the secretary of state is second in line to the governorship.
Finchem said CNN is not credible and declined to comment.
A ‘Treason Watchlist’ on Pinterest
Finchem’s most extreme content came on the social media platform Pinterest, which allows users to save, categorize and share posts called pins into digital mood boards. While Finchem has some light-hearted and conventional boards on food, fashion and dogs, he also has a board titled “Treason Watch List,” featuring photos of Jesse Jackson, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and former Secretary of State John Kerry.
In another board labeled “Thought Provoking,” Finchem pinned a number of extremist posts, comparing Democrats to Nazis and invoking the Holocaust to argue against gun control, along with posts calling for stockpiling ammunition.
After this story’s publication, Finchem removed the “Thought Provoking” board from his Pinterest account, but the ‘Treason Watch List’ board remains live.
One pin compared Obama to Adolf Hitler with a cartoon featuring the former president raising his arm while speaking and a cartoon of a Nazi just behind him in similar fashion saying “tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.” Another pin shared by Finchem showed hundreds of boxes of stockpiled personal ammunition saying “you need to be prepared.”
Another of Finchem’s pins, arguing against gun control, depicted Jews being rounded up by Nazis saying, “What makes us think IT CAN’T HAPPEN IN AMERICA?”
Yet another pin showed an image saying “a war in America” will have “no rules of engagement.”
Other posts Finchem pinned on his “Thought Provoking” board included conspiracy theories that the Mexican Army was making incursions into the United States in preparation for a full-scale invasion and repeated anti-Muslim posts arguing Sharia law was coming to the US soon.
Finchem was linking to his Pinterest account in Tweets from 2012 to 2015.
Elsewhere on the internet, CNN’s KFile also found that Finchem said he learned about the Tea Party – a conservative movement that began following the backlash of Obama’s election – website from “a fellow intel operator in the desert southwest.”
On Twitter, he shared conspiracies that multiple ships docked at a Virginia naval station might be a target for a second Pearl Harbor-type attack. He said Satan ruled the United States and said gun ownership should be mandatory. In one post, he called for the impeachment of Obama, who was then President, for letting his daughter go on vacation in Mexico.
Ties to Oath Keepers
Finchem described himself as a member of the Oath Keepers in 2014, saying he was “committed to the exercise of limited, constitutional governance.”
In September 2014, Finchem promoted an Oath Keeper meeting on Facebook, and later that same year shared a blog post from the Oath Keepers website. A defunct campaign Twitter account for his state representative races also included “Join Oath Keepers,” in the bio.
Finchem also has political ties to prominent Oath Keepers. Former Sheriff Richard Mack, who previously sat on the board of the organization, endorsed him for secretary of state, according to Finchem’s Facebook post.
CNN’s Sam Woodward contributed to this story.
This story has been updated to reflect that Finchem removed a board from his Pinterest account after publication.