Tuesday, August 8, 2017

BREAKING: Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio Re-Files His Campaign Committee, Starts With $462k In Bank; "It's Stinky"

Last week, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt and ordered to appear for a sentencing hearing. Now, Arizona's Politics has learned the 85-year old Arpaio re-filed his Elect Sheriff Joe Arpaio campaign committee the day after the contempt hearing ended.

Arpaio terminated his campaign committee on July 7, after losing his bid for a 7th term as Sheriff last November.  That termination (below) explained that he had had $462,049.01 left in the bank. Arizona law gives a candidate several options in how to dispose of surplus funds; Arpaio chose to transfer it to a new version of the "Elect Sheriff Joe Arpaio" committee.

The paperwork for that new committee was posted yesterday afternoon by the Maricopa County Elections Department, although it was apparently filed on July 7. The next election for Maricopa County Sheriff is in 2020. (Sheriff Paul Penzone filed his new paperwork
on July 12, and has $25,100.92 in the bank as of July 1.)

The former long-time Sheriff signed on again as Chair of the new "Elect Sheriff Joe Arpaio" committee. Arpaio has until early 2020 to make up his mind about whether he wants his name on the primary election ballot, but this new filing keeps his options open and allows him to collect and spend money for a campaign.*

In an apparent clever attempt to avoid questions about trying to re-take his office, Arpaio's new Statement of Organization suggests that it is for the now-nonexistent "2016 election cycle."

Chandler attorney and election law expert Tom Ryan told Arizona's Politics that the new filing "is stinky."
"In the kindest words, it's sloppy to identify it as for the 2016 cycle. More likely, it is highly disingenuous given his past misconduct. Talk tough and later say he wasn't aware."
The new Statement of Organization is signed by both Joe as the "candidate" and "chairperson", and his wife Ava, as Treasurer. In another sloppy-at-kindest move, the phone number listed by the Arpaios is disconnected and the email address listed is inoperable.

If he decides to, there is little doubt that the 6-term former Sheriff could raise money for a campaign. Arpaio collected - and, spent - more than $13 million in his 2016 campaign committee.

Supporters of the self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" claimed that the criminal contempt verdict was a "complete travesty of justice" James Fotis - who now claims to have raised/donated at least $300,000 to pay Arpaio's legal bills - and Arpaio's legal counsel said that an appeal would again be filed to seek a jury trial. (Courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled against Arpaio's pleas for a jury trial.)

On Thursday, Judge Susan Bolton held a 24-minute telephonic conference with attorneys for both sides in order to discuss procedures leading up to the October 5 sentencing.

*Although he wrote that the new committee is for the 2016 cycle, that is nonsensical and expressly counter to Arizona statutes. The freshly-amended laws required all committees active as of election day, 2016, to terminate; reading the new Statement of Organization as applying to the 2016 election cycle would be a Groundhog Day-esque attempt to set back the clock and would nullify the (required) Statement of Termination filed for the 2016 committee.

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