Joe Arpaio's Birther Buddies Say They'll Take Recall Effort to Court to Shut It Down
Left to right: Conspiracy-theorist Jerome Corsi, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Julie Wise, James Wise, and Jeff Lichter
The people behind Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "birther" investigation are now trying to tell the Arpaio recall effort that they'll go to court to shut it down if they don't do it themselves.
Spoiler alert: Fat chance, for Arpaio's friends.
Yesterday, a group popped up called "Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results, LLC," claiming it would take legal action against the Arpaio recall effort.
The photo at the top of this post includes all but one of the key people behind this effort.
Thanks to the Arizona Corporation Commission filing for "Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results, LLC," -- which was posted by the Arizona's Politics blog -- we can see that the men on the right, Jeff Lichter (far right) and James Wise are registered as the organization's members.
Wise and Lichter are also "leaders" of the Surprise Tea Party, which successfully asked Sheriff Joe Arpaio to start the "investigation" into President Obama's birth certificate, a completely fraudulent operation carried out by the man on the far left, conspiracy-theorist Jerome Corsi.
Now, the person not pictured is the person these "birthers" have tasked with the legal work -- Larry Klayman, an attorney for Freedom Watch, who happens to be a friend of Corsi's, and a "birther" who once introduced a "birther" affidavit from Arpaio as evidence in an actual courtroom.
Now that we've made it absolutely clear that none of these people has a single shred of credibility, we'll tell you what they want.
They sent a cease-and-desist letter over to Respect Arizona, the group running the Arpaio recall effort, telling them they ought to shut it down.
Why? Because Klayman claims the recall effort is "illegal," "unconstitutional," and a "criminal recall enterprise." Believe it or not, Klayman failed to actually point out where Respect Arizona's doing anything illegal.
Klayman and "Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results, LLC," -- AKA, the birthers -- held a press conference yesterday, and having been fooled into attending a birther-led press conference before, we didn't make that mistake yesterday.
So, thanks to the Associated Press for attending, and discovering that Klayman kept it just as vague at the press conference (read it for yourself, here). In fact, Klayman only mentioned one specific part of the recall effort he finds illegal.
"In arguing the recall effort was unconstitutional, Klayman cited a section of the Arizona Constitution that prohibits the circulation of recall petitions against an official until he or she has held office for six months," the AP reports.
Let's flip open the Arizona Constitution, Article 8, Part 1, Section 5:
5. Recall petitions; restrictions and conditions
Section 5. No recall petition shall be circulated against any officer until he shall have held his office for a period of six months, except that it may be filed against a member of the legislature at any time after five days from the beginning of the first session after his election. After one recall petition and election, no further recall petition shall be filed against the same officer during the term for which he was elected, unless petitioners signing such petition shall first pay into the public treasury which has paid such election expenses, all expenses of the preceding election.
"[H]eld his office for a period of six months," huh?
That seems strange. Arpaio's been in office since 1993, which seems to us to be longer than six months, with the year being 2013 and all.
If that's not clear enough, let's get clarification from Title 19 of the Arizona Revised Statutes:
19-202. Recall petition; limitations; subsequent petition
A. A recall petition shall not be circulated against any officer until he has held office for six months, except that a petition may be filed against a member of the legislature at any time after five days from the beginning of the first session after his election. The commencement of a subsequent term in the same office does not renew the six month period delaying the circulation of a recall petition.
If that's still not clear enough, let's get clarification from Secretary of State Ken Bennett's "Initiative, Referendum, & Recall Handbook" from November, 2011:
Now, we would like someone to prove to us that Klayman didn't obtain a law degree by paying a website $5 so he could print one off from home.
For good measure on the cease-and-desist letter, Respect Arizona's Chad Snow sent a somewhat-unrelated cease-and-desist letter to Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman A.J. LaFaro, ensuring that Respect Arizona's doing everything by the books -- just like some of its members did when they successfully recalled Russell Pearce.
"Our effort to remove recalled-Senator Russell Pearce from office was found to be entirely within the bounds of the law and the Constitution of our State by the Superior Court, Court of Appeals, and Arizona Supreme Court," Snow's letter says. "I can assure you that the current effort to remove Sheriff Arpaio will similarly comply with every requirement of the law and the Constitutionally-guaranteed right of recall of public officials."
Respect Arizona's still in the signature-collecting phase, so we'll keep you posted on any signature counts they release.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.