Arizona taxpayers will have to foot the bill for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's quest for President Barack Obama's birth certificate.
The controversial sheriff's office spent more than $9,600 -- including more than $3,500 in overtime -- to investigate Obama's birth certificate, but the county won't accept a private donation to offset some of the cost.
The county Board of Supervisors on Wednesday rejected $5,000 to cover some of the costs of the so-called Cold Case Posse. The vote was 2-2, with one member abstaining.
Opponents of Arpaio argued against the donation, saying that the sheriff needed to be held accountable for using taxpayer money. "So, what, someone else goes in, say they give him $10,000, they can go investigate their own personal agenda? This is about holding public officials accountable with our taxpayer dollars," said Randy Parraz, an anti-Arpaio activist leading Citizens for a Better Arizona.
A publicly-funded deputy from Arpaio's office went with a volunteer in May to the Hawaii Department of Health to request verification of Obama's birth certificate. A Hawaii deputy attorney general gave them the legal requirements to obtain the document, which are viewable online, and they left the office, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Arpaio claimed he needed the deputy to go on the trip for "security issues."
The White House released the "long-form" version of the president's birth certificate online in April 2011. During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Obama campaign made public a "certification of live birth." Both documents state that Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Arpaio still faces a Justice Department lawsuit for discriminating against Latinos and disregarding their basic constitutional rights.
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