Joe Arpaio Scores Measly $20K with Joe PAC

Former Valley reporter turned Gotham journo Nick Martin reports today on the TPMMuckraker blog that Sheriff Joe Arpaio's political action committee Joe PAC has scored only a little over $20,000 since its inception.

When Arpaio's campaign guru Chad Willems of Summit Consulting announced Joe PAC's formation in September, his press release stated that the PAC's purpose was to "support candidates and causes that promote border security, and combating illegal immigration."

But, as Martin points out, Arpaio's been focused more on fundraising for his own already-bloated war chest. As I reported in January, Arpaio's latest campaign finance report for his re-election effort shows that he had $3.4 million cash-on-hand as of December 31.

Though substantial, that's far less than the $6 million figure Arpaio and Willems had been bandying about for months. That $6 million includes receipts going all the way back to 2008, and counts a rollover of $67,257 from the 2008 re-election campaign.

In reality, Arpaio has only about $600,000 more than the $2.8 million cash-on-hand he had as of the end of 2010.

Certainly, Willems and Arpaio wanted to give the impression they had millions more in the bank, though they'd been careful in parsing their words. You'd think it would be enough to brag about having $3.4 million, but $6 million sure sounds better.

Most of the money Arpaio has raised has been from out-of-state donors, the large majority of them retirees. 

I was able to eyeball this well enough when I reported on it, but the Arizona Republic later did the spreadsheet work, noting that the outside cash totaled more than 80 percent of receipts. 

Arizona ranked second in contributors, California was number one.

Martin observes in his article that, "A little more than half the cash went to a Virginia company called Campaign Solutions, which Joe PAC paid for fundraising help."

Willems tells Martin that he raised the $20K for Joe PAC with little effort, barely lifting his pinkie ring to do so.

And that's true, as he farmed all the work out to a Virginia firm.

You may recall Willems as he ran ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce's disastrous effort in the 2011 recall election in Legislative District 18, where now state Senator Jerry Lewis prevailed, though he was heavily outspent by the Pearce team.

With this in mind, I sent Willems a New Times Christmas card in December, offering him kudos on his fantastic work for Pearce, and hoping he would repeat the job for Arpaio in 2012.

Still haven't heard if Willems got that card. 

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