Arizona Sheriff Arpaio uses taxpayers' money to send birther investigators to Hawaii

Meanwhile, Arizona’s secretary of state backs down, saying President Obama was born in Hawaii and can be on the ballot. Photo: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio AP

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012 — Arizona secretary of state, who had courted birthers by threatening to keep the President off the ballot, has backed down and put President Obama on the ballot for November’s election.

Meanwhile, Super Birther Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio sent a “Threat” investigator and a deputy sheriff to Hawaii to track down more information on President Obama’s birth certificate and he paid for the trip with taxpayers’ money.

However, Ken Bennett, Arizona’s secretary of state, said that Hawaiian officials had sent him the necessary information “that satisfied our requirement and has therefore provided his office with a verification of birth for President Obama,” thus clearing the way for president to be on the upcoming election ballot.

Still one must also wonder if Bennett, as the co-chair of the Romney for president campaign in Arizona, might have received a little pressure from the Romney camp to knock it off and quit playing the birther card.

Cold Case Posse’s Charges

But Sheriff Arpaio is far from crying uncle in his crusade to prove President Obama is an illegitimate president. After his news conference back in March when he unveiled his latest findings dug up by his “Cold Posse,” which he insisted proved that the long form birth certificate released by the President is computer-generated forgery, has now sent a two man team to Hawaii to dig further.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that sheriff’s deputy Brian Mackiewcz and posse member Michael Zullo were in Hawaii on Monday, demanding official confirmation that Hawaii has on file the president’s original birth certificate. The two men showed identification that they were from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office located in Phoenix.

They were further authorized by the Sheriff of Maricopa to be there as part of “an official investigation.” Zullo, who is a member of the Cold Posse vigilantes, showed a business card identifying him as being with the Threats Management Unit of the sheriff’s office as well.

What makes the whole investigation even more outrageous is that the Hawaiian trip, including airfare, hotel room and meals, was paid for by taxpayers. And what is the Sheriff’s response now that he has been caught?

Nice work, if you can get it

“It’s one deputy, so what? We have security issues, too, that I can’t go into. For six months we were not spending any money. When you’re doing investigations sometimes things change, you put more resources into it.”

Who Funds the Cold Case Posse?

So far the Cold Case Posse admits to spending $40,000 for its investigation, funded by donations. Arpaio says he expects to get more private donations to reimburse the Hawaii expenses. Are the birthers ready to cough up more dollars for a bogus investigation? Never underestimate the fringe.

And what was the deputy doing there in the first place?

“He’s not going to make any arrests,” Arpaio said. “I didn’t say we’re going to keep using him. We’re not going to use him constantly. He’s not assigned to it. For this trip I feel it’s important to have a deputy there. He’s just a liaison to give advice if needed. He’s not doing anything. The posse’s been doing the research. I’m not going to say what other trips they’ve been taking, but they haven’t had a deputy with them.”  Hmmm, so there have been other trips as well, Sheriff?

And what’s with the guy from the Threats Management Unit?

What Security Issues?

Arpaio only said it was because of “security issues” that he couldn’t go into. It’s all hush-hush, you know. Bet the taxpayers would want to know what kind of “threat” their tax dollars were thwarting. The last time the Threat unit was involved was when the Sheriff went after Arpaio’s opponent in the 2004 Republican primary for sheriff. The challenger later sued Arpaio.

And so the birther saga goes on…and on. Obviously Sheriff Arpaio is disappointed that Bennett caved and will allow the President a place on the ballot. But that will not dissuade him. Worse, the whole embarrassing kerfuffle has not convinced Mitt Romney not to seek the Sheriff’s endorsement, just as Arizona Republican candidates across the state do, genuflecting before the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in the America.

The rest of us are patiently waiting for the wheels of justice to slowly grind forward, finally putting an end to the petty tyrant’s reign. Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, stymied in trying to work with the sheriff’s office, felt forced to implement the rarely used power of suing the sheriff over alleged civil rights violations, including the racial profiling of Hispanics.

And what does Sheriff Arpaio have to say about that turn of events? Basically, thumbing his nose, he said, “I will not surrender my office to the federal government.”

Meanwhile, Sheriff Arpaio has some taxpayers to answer to, and ten to one they will expect him to knuckle under to them and return their tax dollar spent on the wild goose chase to Hawaii.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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