| Arpaio |

Len Munsil Wasn't Criminally Investigated by Sheriff Arpaio's Office After All; Statement Attributed to Deputy was Incorrect

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The Maricopa County Sheriff Office took two months to produce a report about a stated criminal investigation into former gubernatorial candidate Len Munsil -- and it turns out Munsil was the victim, not the alleged perpetrator.

We didn't mean to mislead you. The 1,022-page report on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office released in May states specifically that: "Allegations against Munsil included illegal transfer of funds, lying in political campaigns, and telemarketing issues."

The so-called Munnell Memo report says that the info came from MCSO Sergeant Brandon Luth, one of the former supervisors of Arpaio's disgraced Maricopa Anti-Corruption Enforcement Team.

On the same we published the above-linked blog post, we put in a records request for documents related to these supposed Munsil allegations. We also made repeated calls to Munsil, none of which were returned.

Today, the sheriff's office released what we thought would be the Munsil report. Instead, it ended up being the case file for a criminal probe of possible campaign-finance violations that may have benefited then-Governor Janet Napolitano, who ran against Munsil in 2006.

That probe, which began on January 5, 2007, went nowhere -- which isn't surprising, because it was based on the same complaint about Napolitano's campaign that was rejected by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission five months before.

The case concerned independent expenditure committees funded by liberal groups -- with conservative-sounding names, no less -- that were said to have been working on behalf of Napolitano in violation of campaign laws. Munsil called the tactics "dirty" and "deceptive."

He was right about that. But the Clean Elections Commission found no evidence of coordination between Napolitano and the committees.

In the 2007 criminal investigation report, Investigator Beverly Owens wrote in the opening narrative that "there are concerns related to the source and expenditure of funds related to several independent expenditure campaigns and other types of political committees."

The "concerns" to which Owens makes reference were expressed in numerous articles about the matter prior to the November 2006 election, (click here for an example.) Besides the very brief narrative by Owens, the rest of the 500-plus-page report on the probe consists of copies of campaign finance statements and other materials that investigators pulled off the Internet.

No further research was conducted, apparently, and the case went fallow.

This would have been nice to know two months ago, when Luth's statement about "allegations against Munsil" were released publicly in the Munnell Memo report and repeated in this blog.

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