FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, March 22, 2013

Housekeeping Note: Change In Comment Settings, Display

This morning, I changed the settings for the display and format of comments.  I did this primarily because there is a good discussion taking place on my post titled "Arpaio Recall Challenge Spurs National Battle Of Birther Heavyweights; Some Upset Arpaio Has Not Filed Criminal Complaint Vs. Obama".I do not wish to get in the way of that discussion by requiring moderation.  (Also, I have seen a no-doubt-temporary dropoff in the amount of spam comments, and Blogger now has a setting where you can require moderation on older posts but not on newer posts.)

To highlight the discussion and promote more commenting, I have also re-placed comments under the post - instead of the previous setting of a pop-up window that had to be clicked to open.

I welcome your comments and civil discussion.  I reserve the right to remove comments, but will only do so if I deem them to be spam/offensive/personal attacks. 

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ex-State Legislator/Birther David Burnell Smith Picks Up the Ball, Files Lawsuit Challenging the Arpaio Recall Effort; Smith: Is "Barack Obama True To His Name, Or Is He a Puppet?"; Also, Some Legal Analysis

Former Arizona Legislator David Burnell Smith - along with out of state attorney Larry Klayman - filed a complaint to stop the effort to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  The legal action not only challenges the constitutionality of the recall, but claims that the recall violates the constitutional rights (due process, equal protection) of everyone who voted in the Sheriff's race last November.

The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court today (and inexplicably listed as a "Lower Court Appeal")LC2013-000137, lists two of the founders of Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER"), Jim Wise and Jeff Lichter, as plaintiffs, along with CPFER itself (for no apparently valid reason).  Besides the Secretary of State (likely unnecessary) and Maricopa County (and officials), the recall committee Respect Arizona ("RA") and the officers who signed RA's organizational documents are listed as defendants.

Earlier today, Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts went after CPFER's general counsel, Larry Klayman, for his "homo" comeback to RA's chairman.  The remark was apparently part of an e-mail chain earlier this week after Klayman sent a final cease and desist demand letter to William Fisher; the e-mail chain was posted today on RA's website.

After Klayman and CPFER posted a plea for donations on national conservative website WND.com, well-known Birther (a term used to describe someone who believes that President Barack Obama misled Americans about his birthplace) attorney Orly Taitz called out the effort and Arpaio's failure to file criminal charges against Obama. In it, Taitz took shots at Klayman and noted, among other things, that he could not file a lawsuit in Arizona because he is not licensed here.

Taitz either did not know or pretended not to know that Klayman could file along with an Arizona co-counsel.  Enter former lawmaker David Burnell Smith.

Smith left office this past January, after failing to make it out of the Republican primary last year.  (Shortly after that primary loss, he made news headlines by being arrested on DUI charges; he handles DUI cases as part of his practice.  The charges were transferred from Scottsdale City Court to another court in December, and it is unclear at this time what the status is in the new court. M-0751-TR-2012024408 )

Almost exactly one year ago, Smith appeared alongside Arpaio at a news conference and gave an impassioned support of Arpaio's investigation of Obama's birth records.  Smith was particularly impressed with the Selective Service registration document that Arpaio showed him, and Smith called for Arpaio to keep pursuing the President.

"Sheriff, stay on him.  Because we deserve an answer.  The people of Arizona deserve an answer.  And, the people of the United States of America deserves an answer as to whether Barack Obum... Obama...is true to his name or is he a puppet."  (The rest of his 100-second statement is in the video embedded below.)

It is worth noting that Arpaio's investigation was done with the support of the same members of the Surprise Tea Party Patriots who are responsible for supporting Arpaio today by hiring Smith (and Klayman) and filing this lawsuit.

Smith did not speak at today's press conference (video below), but Klayman gave a reading from it and a synopsis.

As Arizona's Politics has previously noted, CPFER is relying on the provision of the State Constitution that calls for a six-month period before a recall can begin.  The provision does not specify whether "held his office" means from the beginning of his first term in office or from the start of the most recent term.  The Legislature enacted a statute that clearly defined it as the former.  The plaintiffs' Complaint pretends that the Constitutional provision is completely clear and that the statute unconstitutionally contradicts it.  The defendants will be trying to convince the court that the statute does not contradict that provision and that, in fact, the constitutional provision actually does seem to indicate that a subsequent term does not restart the six-month waiting period (e.g. 2nd sentence does recognize the concept of "terms" and did not use that in the first sentence.)

When the plaintiffs go on to add the counts about abuse of process and citizens' constitutional rights being violated simply by the conduct and content of this recall, they may be opening themselves up to Arizona's anti-SLAPP ("Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation") statutes.  Other than the standard statutory protections against lawsuits designed to harass/delay/intimidate/etc., the anti-SLAPP provisions specifically address citizens' rights to circulate recall petitions.  The section, A.R.S. 12-752, sets forth procedures for filing a motion to dismiss, and the damages that shall be assessed against the suing party.

(One minor note: the plaintiffs ask for injunctive relief.  However, per the docket and the complaint, it does not appear that they have - yet - filed the proper paperwork to seek a hearing for that.  Arizona law requires that the complaint or a separate affidavit be verified by the plaintiff(s) (not the attorney), and that a notice of hearing be filed (and served).  That has not been done.









(Postscript analysis, 3/22/13, 7:50am:  Thinking about the effects of this lawsuit on the big picture while running this morning and the possible ways this could play out, I kept coming to the conclusion that the lawsuit may actually end up backfiring.  In light of the revelation this week that the recall group was short of money and that it might be difficult to finish the task relying solely on volunteers, this legal action - particularly if the defendants move quickly (they will likely get pro bono legal help) and get a judge to dismiss it and assess legal fees and costs, it may help recall proponents whip volunteers into a righteous frenzy.  Not to mention that it may prompt an influx of donations locally and from around the country.  Also, Arpaio efforts (paid or grassroots) to block the recall volunteers through legal action or by putting out their own "Support Sheriff Joe" petitions or Shadow Army could stir up more publicity for RA.)



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Arizona Senators Vote No On Continuing Resolution Averting Shutdown; Passed 73-26

Arizona's Senators were among the 26 who voted "nay" on the package to continue funding the federal government for the next six months.  The Wednesday afternoon vote result was 73-26, and is expected to win approval from the House of Representatives on Thursday.



John McCain and Jeff Flake were on the losing end of the vote, but were with a slim majority of their Republican colleagues.  The GOP split was 19-26.  Although we have not received any statements from the Senators, it would appear that this Politico story hit on the reason for their opposition when it noted that "billions are shifted within Defense to help the military services cope with depleted operations accounts. But the Army is still left with 14 percent less than it had budgeted for the next six months."



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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Retired Rep. Jim Kolbe Hired By Pima County To Lobby For Federal Funding

Retired Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) has registered to lobby the federal government on behalf of Pima County.  Along with Phoenix-based Capitol Strategies (Stephen and Karen Bloch), Kolbe will work to help implement the county's Aerospace and Defense Corridor and El Corazon de los Tres Rios del Norte projects.

The lobbying registration of Capitol Strategies was noted by Politico earlier today.  It did not note Kolbe's involvement, likely because of Kolbe's "strategic alliance/partnership" with Capitol Strategies.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the one year contract in February, and has agreed to pay up to $110,400 (at $250/hour).

Kolbe represented much of southern Arizona in Congress between 1985 and 2007, and was succeeded by now-retired Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).



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WATCH: Rep. Grijalva Brings Progressive Back To Work Budget To House, Voted Down

(2nd UPDATE, 3:325PM: All 4 of Arizona's Republican Representatives voted for the more-conservative-than-Ryan Republican Study Conference budget/CR amendment.  It was defeated 104-132, with 171 Democrats voting "present".  Arizona's 5 Democratic Representatives split between "no" (Barber, Pastor, Sinema) and "present" (Grijalva, Kirkpatrick).  Please see the Politico link below for more information.)

(UPDATE, 2:30PM: The Grijalva Amendment was voted down, 84-327.  Grijalva and Ed Pastor (D-CD7) were the only Arizona Congressmembers to vote in favor.)

The U.S. House of Representatives is debating and voting on various budget and continuing resolution alternatives today.  Among them was the Progressive Caucus' "Back To Work Budget," which was managed on the Floor by Caucus co-chair Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3).

It was voted down, along with the conservative RSC budget alternative (which sounds like an interessting story, as well) this afternoon.  Roll call votes are not yet available from the House.

Here are highlights of Grijalva managing the debate, as put together by the Congressman's office.




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READ: Respect Arizona Not Backing Down On Arpaio Recall In Face Of Legal Challenge

Respect Arizona ("RA"), the group attempting to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, did not directly answer Arizona's Politics' requests for a response to the final demand letter from Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER").  However, they did just send out an e-mail appeal for signatures and funds.  

Not backing down, the e-mail claims that "news of our impending demise, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is greatly exaggerated."  It calls Arpaio "the embarrassing, law-breaking sheriff."  The complete text of the e-mail is below.

CPFER has promised to file its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the recall tomorrow.  CPFER's general counsel Larry Klayman issued a national appeal for funds today, which in turn spurred a public protest from well-known birther attorney Orly Taitz.

Here is the RA e-mail:





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Arpaio Recall Challenge Spurs National Battle Of Birther Heavyweights; Some Upset Arpaio Has Not Filed Criminal Complaint Vs. Obama

The attorney ready to file a lawsuit against those in charge of the effort to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio made a national appeal for funding today, sparking a protest by well-known Obama Birther attorney Orly Taitz.  Taitz urged birthers not to support the pro-Arpaio effort until the Sheriff files criminal charges against President Barack Obama.

Local group Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER") hired nationally-known attorney Larry Klayman to issue a legal challenge to the recall committee, Respect Arizona ("RA").  Klayman told Arizona's Politics on Monday that he would file a legal action on Thursday challenging the recall's constitutionality if RA did not withdraw.

Today, he sent out a fundraising e-mail through the national conservative website WND.com (formerly World Net Daily), along with a donations page on WND's SuperStore.

Klayman's fundraising appeal got the attention of birther attorney Orly Taitz, and she was not happy.    She took to her website to blast WND and Arpaio.  WND was a primary backer (media and fundraising) of the Sheriff's Posse's investigation into the President's birth certificate.  Today, Taitz writes: "Arpaio collected money for over a year and never filed a criminal complaint against Obama. Please, tell WND and Arpaio “we will not donate one cent until we see a criminal complaint signed by Arpaio and stamped by the office of the District Attorney of Maricopa county and the Attorney General of AZ.” "

Taitz goes on to claim that the primary reason people are pushing the Arpaio recall is that they are afraid that the Sheriff will actually go after the President, and that Arpaio has every right and reason to use taxpayer monies to pursue a criminal complaint (based on the information that she gathered and forwarded to Arpaio).

Taitz also took a few shots at Klayman, noting that he is not licensed to practice law in Arizona and will not be able to file suit against RA.

The Taitz blast is the first sign that Arizona's Politics has seen that some birthers have lost patience with  Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse.  Not coincidentally, the leaders of the Surprise Tea Party Patriots who have been instrumental in the Cold Case Posse investigation into the birth certificate are also leading CPFER.





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WATCH: U.S. Airways', American Airlines' CEO's Questioned By Senate Antitrust Committee

The Phoenix-based U.S. Airways CEO Doug Parker and his American Airlines counterpart answered questions yesterday from the U.S. Senate's Antitrust subcommittee (of the Judiciary Committee), and indicated that the merger would not adversely affect travelers in Arizona (and elsewhere).

Neither Arizona Senator was on the subcommittee, and no opposition to the mega-merger was expressed by the Senators.  The Democratic chair (Amy Klobuchar, MN) and Republican ranking member (Mike Lee, UT) did, however, ask the GAO (Government Accountability Office for a report on the effects of this (and the previous) merger on ticket prices and service.






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WATCH: McCain To Appear In Upcoming "Locked Up Abroad" Episode About Vietnam War POW Friend

The long-running National Geographic Channel program "Locked Up Abroad" will devote its April 17 episode to the longest-captive U.S. POW (prisoner of war) in the Vietnam War, Ernie Brace.  Arizona Senator John McCain became friends with Brace when they were in adjoining cells there, and will apear in the episode, according to Politico.

McCain is featured in the promo for the program:





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BREAKING, READ: Arpaio Proponents Give Recall Committee 'Til 5PM To Shut Down Volunteers, Withdraw Petition

(UPDATE, 1:30pm: last paragraph updated to reflect signature/fundraising appeal e-mail from RA.)

Supporters of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio who are contesting the constitutionality of the effort to recall Arpaio have issued a final demand to shut down volunteer signature gatherers and withdraw the petition today, or face legal action filed tomorrow.

Earlier, Arizona's Politics had reported on the plan of Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER") to file the lawsuit on Thursday.  This came on the heels of the Monday announcement of Respect Arizona ("RA") - the recall proponents - to stop using paid signature gatherers and use only volunteers to collect the 335,000+ valid signatures necessary to force a recall election.

The three sentence final demand was sent by CPFER's general counsel, Larry Klayman, via e-mail to the listed officers of RA.  It notes the news developments and gives the committee until 5:00pm today to withdraw the petition.  "Otherwise we will proceed accordingly."

The final demand letter was announced at last night's Surprise Tea Party meeting (officers of STPP are also the principles in CPFER) and was provided to Arizona's Politics.



As noted earlier, there were conflicting reasons initially given by recall proponents. Paid circulators were informed that their efforts were no longer being used because of this threatened legal action.  Of course, that did not make much sense given that volunteers were being urged to redouble their efforts.

Arizona's Politics has not yet reached did not receive a personal response from the recall committee; however, they did send out an appeal for money and signatures this afternoon.  (See, bit.ly/AZp496) to see how they will respond to the letter;  In the past, they have flatly disputed CPFER's contention that the Arizona Constitution prohibits a recall effort from starting soon after the Sheriff was sworn into a new term.  Recall proponents have noted that the Arizona Legislature clarified the constitutional provision to note that the six-month waiting period is after the elected official initially assumed the office.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

10 Republicans Vote To Close Debate On Senate's Version Of Continuing Resolution, Averting Shutdown; Arizona's Senators Vote "Nay"

Neither of Arizona's Senators were among ten Republicans who joined Monday with (all but one) Democrats to move to a vote on a Continuing Resolution that could avert a federal government shutdown next week.  The Senate version of the six-month funding plan will now likely pass that chamber Tuesday and likely be considered by the House later this week, according to Politico.

Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) joined 34 GOP colleagues and one Democrat (Jon Tester of Montana) in voting "nay".  However, 63 Senators - including 10 Republicans - voted "aye", just clearing the 3/5 majority needed to close debate and move towards a final vote.

The Senate and the House (each led by a different party) appear to have worked together to come up this plan to fund the government from March 27 - when the previous Continuing Resolution expires - until September 30.  It does not specifically overturn the sequestration cuts, but Politico reports that there is still pressure to make some specific changes to the across the board cuts.






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Monday, March 18, 2013

WATCH: Sheriff Arpaio On Fox News This Afternoon,

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is back at work, which means he is back on Fox News.  He spoke with Neil Cavuto minutes ago about the release of detainees by ICE.


(embedding not working properly, click on picture below to go to the video)






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BREAKING: Opponents of Arpaio Recall Going Forward With Threatened Lawsuit On Thursday

Arizona's Politics has learned that the Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER")the Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results - the committee opposing the recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio - plans to file its promised legal action against the recall committee for allegedly violating the Arizona Constitution on this coming Thursday.

Attorney Larry Klayman represents CPFER, which sent the Respect Arizona committee - the group attempting to recall Arpaio - a cease and desist letter in February.  In that letter, they promised action if efforts were not terminated by March 12.  That was extended to March 19.


Today, Respect Arizona announced that it was halting paid petition-circulating efforts, yet continuing volunteer efforts.  Conflicting reports have surfaced as to whether it is because of a money crunch or because of the threatened legal action.


Klayman e-mailed Arizona's Politics this afternoon to inform him of the Thursday filing "with press conference to be announced".  His comments were in response to the question: "Are you going forward with a suit tomorrow, in light of the apparent money troubles of the recall people - and, that they're proceeding with volunteer efforts?"



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Arpaio Recall Effort Out Of Money, Will Push On; Or, Is It Related To Threat Of Legal Action?

The Recall Arpaio committee, formally titled "Respect Arizona", announced today that they were out of money and switching to all-volunteer efforts (rather than hybrid paid-and-volunteer).  The news was broken by Phoenix New Times' columnist Stephen Lemons Channel 12's Brahm Resnik, and expanded upon by the Republic's Laurie Roberts.  However, one paid petition circulator has informed Arizona's Politics that the reason given was the impending threatened lawsuit against the recall proponents; that report has not yet been confirmed.

It seems surprising that the announcement comes so soon after they gleefully claimed that they were more than one-third of the way to the 335,000+ valid signatures they need to place the Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio back on the ballot.  That press conference and the attention it received surely would have resulted in money flowing in, and earlier pledges of money being turned into cash.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the day that the Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results - the committee opposing the recall - has promised to file legal action against the recall committee for allegedly violating the Arizona Constitution.

(corrected at 3:07pm to reflect New Times being first to break story)





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READ: Arizona AG Tom Horne's Closing Statement To U.S. Supreme Court


Here is Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's rebuttal argument to the U.S. Supreme Court this morning in the Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona oral arguments.  He was able to get in this "closing statement" uninterrupted by the nine Justices - which is somewhat unusual in these arguments and unlike the preceding 55-odd minutes of today's arguments.

The basic issue in this case is whether Arizona's law requiring people to present proof of citizenship when registering to vote - for national and local elections - is permitted when the federal law simply requires the registering person to affirm that they are a citizen eligible to vote.  Horne says that the legislative history in Congress' debates of the NVRA and HAVA does not prohibit Arizona from requiring additional "information".

(The transcript below is from the U.S. Supreme Court, and contains some apparent, minor errors.)

MR. HORNE: Thank you, Your Honor, and I'll apologize in advance for talking really quickly. The -my friend says in discussing Section 7(b)(1) that it would not be rational to require only the signature. But that's exactly what they did. All they required was the signature, and 7(b)(1) has nothing to do with that; 7(b)(2) requires a signature. So what the EAC chose to do under 7(b)(1) was exactly nothing, zero, which -which emphasizes the point that this is the responsibility of the States, and that's how they understood it.
With respect to the license having -- we cited ARA Section 28-3173, an Arizona statute in our reply brief that provides that you -- you must renew every 12 years. So by 2004, the problem that my friend spoke about was completely erased. Everybody had a new license which would be sufficient for this purpose, 100 percent.
They admit that we can reject applications by reference to other -- by reference to other documentation but they try to draw a distinction between that and asking the person to write down the driver's 
license number. But there is nothing in the statute that justifies that distinction. A reference to criminal history has nothing to do with whether or not there is a distinction with respect to citizenship between looking at other documents and asking the person for their driver's license numbers. In both cases it's something outside of the form and they have admitted we can go outside the form.

With respect to legislative history, Your Honor, I think the key thing -- Mr. Justice Breyer, in your question was, it's only in one place. There are a lot of other places that go the other way. So we cannot conclude from that one place what the majority of Congress expected.
With respect to HAVA, in HAVA, the Congress had another opportunity to expressly state that the State could not look to external evidence and ask for additional evidence, and they chose not to do that. And so I would say that HAVA is further evidence that Congress was not choosing to prohibit us from asking for additional information to fulfill our function, if it's necessary, of being sure that the applicant is eligible to vote.
With respect to the Siebold case, the court in Siebold specifically said there will be no preemption
unless there is a direct conflict and only to the extent of that conflict, and in that connection -- one last sentence, Your Honor -- if there are two plausible interpretations, ordinary principles of Federalism say one should not choose the interpretation that results in preemption, and the same thing applies with respect to the canon of constitutional accordance.

Thank you, Your Honor.





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READ: Supreme Court Transcript Of Today's Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council Oral Argument

The U.S. Supreme Court today heard oral arguments from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and  the attorneys for the challengers of Arizona's requirement for proof of citizenship in order to register to vote - and, for the U.S. Solicitor General.  Here is the 60-page transcript of the argument.





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Saturday, March 16, 2013

WATCH (and READ): Ad Attacking McCain's Immigration Reform Stance, Based On Population Control Of "Aliens" (Legal and Illegal) (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Arrived back in Arizona last night just in time to catch the tail end of a provocative ad on the late news, targeting Arizona Senator John McCain's immigration reform position.  I was not able to look it up until this morning, and here is what I found.

(The video and audio text of the ad is below.)

The issue advocacy ad is sponsored by the well-established Californians for Population Stabilization group, which has been attacking the immigration debate from the population control angle since 1986.  (They claim they split off from the Zero Population Growth organization because the latter was focusing on "politically safer" aspects.) They caused a minor burst of attention during the 2012 GOP primary Presidential debates when they ran an ad attacking illegal and legal immigration, and they advocate for population control by "promoting replacement-level fertility and replacement-level immigration." (I'm not sure of the logic of the latter, even.)

Now, they are crossing state borders to try to rally opposition to the immigration reform plans being formulated by Arizona's Senators (and six other Senators from both parties and other states).  Using the provocative words "amnesty" and "illegal aliens", and hitting the emotional issues of jobs and Social Security benefits, the ad aims straight at the audience that most of the Republican party had been wooing before the 2012 elections.

The ad is running on the ABC, NBC and CBS network affiliates in Phoenix:
 Californians for Population Stabilization receives an average of $1.2 million in funding each year from various individuals, and is promising to run similar ads in other markets.   




Audio Text (transcribed by Arizona's Politics):  This is an S.O.S. from the people in California to our neighbors in Arizona.  Save our states.  Your Senator, John McCain, wants to bring in millions more immigrant workers to take our jobs.  He wants more green cards, and amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, giving access to Social Security benefits paid for by all of us.  Call Senator McCain now, at 602-952-2410.  Tell him to stop his mass immigration amnesty plan.  Paid for by Californians for Population Stabilization.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

READ: Sheriff Arpaio's Wife Stands In For Fundraising Purposes; "Get Well...Poor Guy"

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has his wife, Ava, out front fundraising for him while he is at home - recuperating from his broken arm and "doing his job".

The fundraising e-mail - disguised as a "Get Well Card" - is reproduced in full below the jump.  Ava rails on against those trying to recall the sixth-term sheriff, as well as the "political shenanigans" of the Obama Administration and the man who "threatened to kill my husband because he does not like Joe's fight against illegal immigration."

She says the get well wishes "really lifts his spirits and means so much to him."  The e-mail does not request any financial support.

But, of course, once you "submit" your best wishes to Arpaio (at a special "get well" page), you are taken to a donation page.  The "Elect Sheriff Joe Arpaio" committee was formed in January - before the recall effort was announced - for his 2016 re-election campaign.