Randy Parraz and his posse of activists from Citizens for a Better Arizona want Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to come clean on using taxpayer money for an investigation into President Obama's birth certificate.
Dressed in Hawaiian garb, members of CBA were at Arpaio's executive office on the 19th floor of the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Phoenix today, demanding that the sheriff face some of the taxpayers' footing the $10,000 bill for sending an MCSO deputy to Hawaii as part of the birther probe.
At first, Arpaio claimed no taxpayer money was going to be used in investigating the often-debunked Tea Party-inspired conspiracy theory.
But that quickly changed when the sheriff sent MCSO Deputy Brian Mackiewcz to Hawaii on the taxpayer's dime, accompanying "cold-case posse" volunteer and lead birther investigator Mike Zullo.
"This is about a sheriff's betrayal of taxpayers," Parraz said at the press conference. "So we're waiting for him to retract that statement...that no public money was used for this investigation."
Saturday afternoon Channel 12's Brahm Resnik reported that for the deputy's 9-night stay at Honolulu's Ala Moana Hotel, the bill came to $1,323.
Resnik also reported that the trip should have been cleared with the county manager, as is required for county trips outside the continental U.S.
Last month Arpaio's office sought to cover the $10,000 tab with private donations, but the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted down the proposal. Parraz and his group were at the forefront in voicing opposition to the sheriff's scheme.
"[Arpaio] should say 'I'm proud of spending public money on this investigation,'" Parraz stated. "If he's not proud of that...then he shouldn't be doing this type of work."
Still, it seems unlikely Arpaio will stop trying to prove that Obama's birth certificate is a forgery.
In fact, tomorrow, in a press conference timed to coincide with the start of a racial profiling trial against Arpaio in federal court, the MCSO is scheduled to release details on what Mackiewcz and Zullo supposedly uncovered in Hawaii.
CBA isn't just calling out Arpaio on the issue, the group also is demanding that key Arizona elected officials say where they stand on the sheriff's birther madness.
The group has sent a short survey to elected and appointed officials such as Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, state Senate President Steve Pierce, Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, to name a few.
The survey asks officeholders if they approve of Arpaio's soliciting private donations for the investigation, as well as the sheriff's use of public money for the probe. The questionnaire also asks public officials if they believe this kind of investigation is within Arpaio's jurisdiction.
Parraz wants answers from the politicians by Friday, otherwise Parraz says CBA will assume that the official supports Arpaio's outrageous Tea Party antics.
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