Sheriff Joe Arpaio drew a protest Monday at his office in Maricopa County, Ariz., just a day before his "Cold Case Posse" of birthers promised to release proof that President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate is a forgery.
A group of activists from Citizens for a Better Arizona donned Hawaiian shirts and leis in objection to Arpaio's decision to send a deputy to Hawaii on a taxpayer-funded investigation into Obama's birth certificate. Reports place the price of the nine-day stay at around $10,000, money that Arpaio was forced to charge to the state after a panel denied his request to use a private donation to foot the bill.
"This is about a sheriff's betrayal of taxpayers," Randy Parraz, president of Citizens for a Better Arizona, said at the press conference. "So we're waiting for him to retract that statement ... that no public money was used for this investigation."
The Phoenix New Times reports that Parraz is also pressuring state officials to provide concrete answers by the end of the week regarding where they stand on Arpaio's birther effort:
The group has sent a short survey to elected and appointed officials such as Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, state Senate President Steve Pierce, Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, to name a few.
The survey asks officeholders if they approve of Arpaio's soliciting private donations for the investigation, as well as the sheriff's use of public money for the probe. The questionnaire also asks public officials if they believe this kind of investigation is within Arpaio's jurisdiction.
Citizens for a Better Arizona's move comes as Arpaio's "Cold Case Posse" prepares to go ahead with its plans to hold a Tuesday press conference to reveal the evidence it says it collected concerning the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate, which the White House released last year.
Mike Zullo, lead investigator of the group, promised WorldNetDaily that the findings would provide “indisputable proof” that the document had been altered.
Arpaio has served as a national lightning rod for controversy, both with his coddling of birther activists and his attempts to maintain his self-bestowed "America's toughest sheriff" title by enacting controversial policies against undocumented immigrants.
While these missions have likely helped him emerge as a magnet for campaign contributions, particularly from out-of-state donors, they have also drawn the attention of the Obama administration.
The Justice Department has sued Arpaio for alleged civil rights violations, which it claims were institutionalized in his harsh immigration enforcement program. The trial is set to begin this Thursday.