Sheriff Arpaio's Office Wants E-mails and Other Public Records From 36 County Officials -- UPDATED

Yvonne Wingett, who writes the Political Insider column for the Arizona Republic, reports this afternoon that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is requesting e-mails and other public records from all five county supervisors and 31 county employees under the state's public records law.

The meaning of the records request isn't clear, but the tactic has been used several times by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's over the past year or so  -- with no success. Lisa Allen, Arpaio's spokeswoman, told Wingett the request stems from a criminal investigation. If you'll recall, the sheriff's office said the request of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's e-mails was for an internal investigation, and we're not sure if a legitimate reason has ever been offered for the request for documents from Superior Court members.

UPDATE: We obtained the MCSO records request from the county, which asks for e-mails, calendars and phone records.
Click here to read it. Below, see the names of the officials who the Sheriff's Office is targeting.

Arpaio's use of the state's public records law to seek archived e-mails from government officials is heavy with hypocrisy, as we pointed out in a Tuesday blog post. Neither Arpaio nor his top aide, Dave Hendershott, even use e-mail. You can imagine why.

In 2007, the office refused to turn over e-mails from public information officer Doug Matteson, claiming the e-mails the deputy receives and the ones he sends are deleted "permanently" as soon as he acts on them. And, as has been well-documented, the sheriff's office has a poor history of responding promptly to requests for public records.

Maybe the sheriff's office is turning over a new leaf, and will soon begin satisfying public records requests as quickly and thoroughly as it expects others to do the same. We'll let our readers know how that works out.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.