(The full email is reproduced below.)
This is not the 1st email solicitation from the shadowy "Joe Arpaio Legal Fund"*, but it may be the Melendres v. Arpaio.
However, his Legal Defense Fund pleas had always taken a back seat to his pleas for his campaign account. Now that he has lost his long-term hold on the Sheriff's badge, he can use his fundraising magic for personal use; that takes off the shackles of campaign finance limits.
He urges his fans to make a "sacrificial donation" and (incorrectly) tells them that it is "100% tax deductible. The donation page that a supporter is taken to does not correct that significant error; however, a Google search for the "Sheriff Joe Legal Defense Fund" leads to a page that does inform people that it is "NOT-TAX DEDUCTIBLE" (emphasis added) and that large donations may trigger gift tax liability.
All the pleas emphasize that there are no limits to whom may give or how much, and they only specify that the funds will be spent for his "legal defense" or "to defray any legal expenses". This is very significant because the question of whether Arpaio will have to pay any fines or penalties out of his own pocket is still an open question. Understanding his sizable campaign warchest and his ability to raise funds, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow has previously stated that the Sheriff may have to be found personally liable for any fines, and the ACLU has asked for a $300,000 personal fine.
Not only are Maricopa County taxpayers still paying for some legal fees in the contempt matters and are paying the Court Monitor who is overseeing the MCSO's compliance, but Arpaio is personally represented by a Washington, D.C. firm and the local Jones, Skelton & Hochuli law firm. The civil contempt case is active (Responses to Arpaio's motion to demand the Judge recuse himself were filed today).
The Legal Defense Fund is an opaque entity operated by Summit Group Consulting, the same consulting firm that has run Arpaio's campaigns and made him into an unparalleled fundraising machine. There is no evidence that the fund is incorporated in Arizona (or, elsewhere). No public disclosure of the funds received or expended is required under law, especially once he is no longer holding public office.
It is very likely that any monies raised by the fund and disbursed to attorneys on Arpaio's behalf would be taxable income for the Sheriff. On his personal financial disclosure statement that he signed and filed in May of this year, Arpaio did not divulge receiving any income from this fund, nor did he list any gifts, reportable interests, or personal debts. (The financial disclosure statement is below.)
*aka "Joe Arpaio Legal Defense Fund", aka "Sheriff Joe Arpaio Legal Fund"
Here's the December 16 email:
This may be the last letter I write you this year, so as a personal favor to me please read it all the way through. . .
On Election Night the politically correct, "open borders" left achieved their ultimate goal by defeating me in the most negative, dishonest campaign ever seen in Law Enforcement history!
But they aren't done yet, . They are continuing their sick vendetta against me - now with a costly legal battle that could land me in JAIL. This is just another example of the Left doing all that they can to tarnish my record as a law enforcement official.
>>> Donate $75 >>>
You see, the ACLU has been after me for years on what they call racial profiling. In what was one of their most politically motivated, unjust and deplorable actions in recent memory, the Obama Department of Justice announced their intention to file Criminal Contempt charges against me one day before early voting started. Then, unbelievably, just two weeks before election day they actually filed these charges.
This blatant, politically-motivated announcement had a huge impact on my race, and it is one of the main reasons I lost my badge in what was easily one of the most contentious campaigns in the nation.
Now, the Left is continuing to kick me while I am down by waging a costly legal fight against me. Frankly, there is no way I will be able to afford the legal defense I need on a retired public servant's salary alone.
>>> Donate $75 >>>
I am prayerfully asking that you make a sacrificial donation of ANY AMOUNT you can afford today to the "Sheriff Joe Arpaio Legal Fund." Your contribution is crucial and every dollar you contribute is 100% tax deductible and will go straight toward my legal defense.
, I have spent my entire career defending the constitution and supporting law and order. The Left has been trying to take me out for years, and now that they finally have taken my badge they want to go even father and send me to jail.
I am going to fight this every step of the way because I know that I have done nothing wrong and that JUSTICE will prevail, but I can only do so with a strong legal defense.
>>> Donate $75 >>>
You have been a loyal friend and supporter of mine for many years, and I need you now more than I ever have. My very freedom hangs in the balance.
Please make a gift of ANY AMOUNT you can afford right awayto the "Sheriff Joe Arpaio Legal Fund." Every dollar will go toward my defense.
Thank you for all you do,
- Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County, Arizona
P.S. , it's no fun facing angry, relentless legal persecution, and it's incredibly expensive, too. I can take the harassment, but I sure could use your help with the costs, so please make an immediate contribution of any amount today.
And, please remember, unlike a political campaign, there are no limits to what you can give – and any amount is greatly appreciated!
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