Two Pinal County Sheriff's deputies were recently sued over the arrest and detention of an immigrant woman, and Sheriff Paul Babeu is using the lawsuit in a bid to raise money for his re-election.
"Get this! I'm being sued by the ACLU in federal court for enforcing the law," an e-mail from Babeu's re-election committee states. "[A]ll while 70% of illegals are NOT showing up to court for their hearings -- as we predicted."
Two paragraphs later, there's a plea for the recipient to "chip in" $50, $100, or $250, even though he's not even up for re-election for another two years.
The lawsuit the e-mail references, filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleges that two of Babeu's deputies unconstitutionally arrested and detained an immigrant woman who lives in Eloy.
According to the lawsuit, the deputies arrested Maria Cortes for civil traffic violations, then transported her to federal immigration authorities, who detained her for five days. The ACLU alleges Cortes' Fourth Amendment rights were violated since there was no criminal activity leading to the arrest. This is the first lawsuit over an arrest believed to have been caused by SB 1070.
The embattled sheriff and/or his campaign team apparently see this as an opportunity to raise some money. See the entire fundraising e-mail below:
The fundraising e-mail seems to be the product of Dallas-based Beast Digital, which does work for Republican politicians, as well as businesses and non-political organizations.
Babeu campaign consultant Mike Noble told New Times that the company does fundraising e-mails for Babeu, but declined to answer more questions.
Beast CEO Ryan Cassin tells us, "We're proud to count Sheriff Babeu as a client, but don't discuss details of the work we do for our clients."
Sean McCaffrey, the former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, goes under the title of executive vice president of business development at Beast Digital. For what it's worth, McCaffrey says he has nothing to do with Babeu's fundraising e-mails.
All of that said, this isn't the first Babeu fundraising e-mail that's a little bizarre.
"Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Democrats in Washington have been using me for target practice lately," says one e-mail. "They should be securing the border, protecting American jobs and stopping the drug cartels, but instead they're attacking me for trying to enforce the law."
What's he talking about? We couldn't tell you.
"A donation of $250, $100, $50, or more can help us share the facts with concerned citizens who want to know what's really happening -- without the liberal spin and rhetoric," says another e-mail. "The President and his allies in Congress would have you believe that ISIS, and our nation's enemies across the world have no interest in entering our country. They're lying to us, and to themselves."
Another one includes a photo of President Obama, and says, "Expose his lies!"
The stuff apparently works -- Babeu's latest campaign-finance report shows he landed more than $22,000 in individual contributions from June to mid-August.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.