You might have thought that with the Feds knocking on his door over what they say are numerous violations of civil rights, Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio would be busy planning his defense.
Instead, the controversial sheriff is taking the fight to them. Arpaio announced that he was ready to release the findings of his investigation into the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
As we’ve reported, claims that Obama is not really an American have been repeatedly knocked down. President Obama tried to lay the issue to rest last year by releasing his long-form birth certificate.
That, of course, didn’t satisfy Arpaio, whose tough treatment of inmates and immigrants have garnered him national attention. The sheriff attended the last Republican debate and he was acknowledged by the candidates.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum met privately with Arpaio and said he should be allowed to continue his policing policies without federal intervention.
As we reported in December, the Justice Department accused Arpaio’s department of a “a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law.” And besides dealing with Justice, Arpaio has also come under fire because his office allegedly botched and failed to adequately investigate sex crimes.
Arpaio took on the birth certificate investigation after a group of people affiliated with the Tea Party asked for one last summer. The AP reports that Arpaio didn’t give any hints as to what his investigation found but he has scheduled a press conference at 3 p.m. ET. The investigation was conducted by members of a volunteer force called the “Cold Case Posse.”
“‘I’m not going after Obama,’ said Arpaio, who has criticized the president’s administration for cutting off his federal immigration powers and conducting a civil rights investigation of his office. ‘I’m just doing my job.’
Some critics suggest Arpaio’s aim is to divert attention from his own legal troubles while raising his political profile as he seeks a sixth term this year. The sheriff vehemently denies such strategies are in play.
“‘You say I need this to get elected? Are you kidding me? I’ve been elected five times. I don’t need this,’ he said in a recent interview.”
The conservative Western Center For Journalism will live stream the press conference. We’ll listen in and update this post with the news.