What did Joe know, and when did he know it?
Remember when the dirty anti-Saban ad came out a couple of weeks ago, and everyone was wondering who ordered the Republican Party to do it, and who paid for it? What did Arpaio tell Channel 12's Joe Dana about whether or not he had anything to do with the slimy campaign commercial?
"You know what an independent expenditure is?" Joe asked Dana, rhetorically. "You know what that is? Independent expenditure. That's what that is. I have no connection with it, and that's all I'm gonna say."
Now the Yellow Sheet, the Capitol Times' insider-tip newsletter (which, alas, is only for subscribers), has revealed that the mysterious "Sheriff's Command Association," which fronted the AZ GOP some $105K targeting County Attorney contender Tim Nelson and Arpaio-foe Dan Saban, has as its spokesman one Joel Fox, an MCSO Captain, one of Joe Arpaio's political operatives, and apparently a member of Joe's special operations unit.
The Yellow Sheet reports,
"[Fox] also has been a longtime supporter of Arpaio's and even filed the nominating petitions for his 2004 re-election campaign. Three weeks after that election, Fox, a former part-time SWAT team member years earlier, was promoted to lead the SWAT unit, a move that former SWAT team member Keith Frakes told the East Valley Tribune in 2005 was made because Fox supported Arpaio's campaign.
"Weeks later, as Fox led the SWAT team in a raid of a Mesa mobile home, deputies Sean Pearce and Lew Argetsinger were shot. Pearce, who was shot in the abdomen and has since recovered, is the son of Russell Pearce."
Now, do you really think Fox, on his own, handed over $105K to the Republican Party to run some sick ads on Saban, without the knowledge of people like, oh, I dunno, Sheriff's office Chief Deputy David Hendershott, or Joe himself? You'll recall, not long after the ad came out, former County Attorney candidate Gerald Richard told reporters at a Saban press conference that Hendershott had approached him at a law enforcement gathering in July and offered to fork over the sleaze on Saban in an effort to turn Richard to the dark side of the force.
But back to the SCA. Just where did this $105K come from? Sales of pink underwear? Joe's campaign coffers? The fat-ass piggybank on David Hendershott's desk? Sean McCaffrey, executive director of the Arizona Republican Party told me this evening that the Sand Land GOP doesn't know who the members of this bogus SCA group are, because SCA has not yet handed that information over. McCaffrey expressed his extreme frustration over the matter, while admitting that the donation was, "the single biggest check of the election cycle." Well, he says it was more like two checks, but who's counting?
McCaffrey's boss, state GOP chairman Randy Pullen, seemed equally flummoxed in his response to the Yellow Sheet, defending himself against allegations made by the AZ Dems that AZ GOP-ers "may have violated multiple campaign finance laws by funneling illegal contributions into one of the most deceptive campaigns in Arizona." This charge was part of a complaint filed Monday by AZ Dems with Secretary of State Jan Brewer's office.
"You have to read the law, and what the law says," Pullen told the Yellow Sheet. "I didn't do it knowingly. I did it (thinking) that they would submit the names to me, and I said that was fine, just get me the names. Then, I waited five days before I filed the report because they were supposed to give me the names and they didn't give me the names. Finally, I needed to file the report, recognizing that you do kind of get up against a wall. So, their complaint is that I knowingly accepted it, and I didn't do that. They'd have a hard time proving that in a court of law."
I'd argue that what Pullen knew and when he knew it is not quite as important as what Joe, Hendershott and Arpaio's campaign knew and when they knew it. "Independent expenditure" committees, badly veiled though this one was, are not supposed to collude with the campaign they are assisting. And with an Arpaio flunky like Fox now having been outed by YS -- which was informed of his participation by none other than Pullen -- I would say the rancid smell of corruption seems to be wafting down from the 19th Floor of the Wells Fargo building. Same as it ever was...