Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is ratcheting up his investigation into Barack Obama’s birth certificate. This time he is using taxpayer dollars.
Arpaio used his cold-case posse of volunteers to investigate the birth certificate earlier this year. The cost to Arizona taxpayers should have been minimal. However, Arpaio now appears to have attached at least one of his deputies to the investigation’s follow-up.
The head of the posse investigation, Michael Zullo, traveled to Hawaii to request the birth certificate. Accompanying Zullo was Brian Mackiewcz, an investigator with the Threats Management Unit in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.
Threat management involves matters such as stalking, computer hacking and violence by gangs or violence in schools and the workplace. Apparently, birth certificates now fall into the same category.
The two appeared at the department of health with badges and identified themselves. A representative with the health department provided information on the legal requirements for them to obtain the document. Because of stringent privacy laws in Hawaii over documents like these, it is highly unlikely that they will meet the requirements.
Arpaio could easily have foreseen this response from Hawaii as the privacy law and requirements are widely known. Maybe Zullo and Mackiewcz needed a vacation to Hawaii anyway, at taxpayer expense.
This continues the birther circus that seems determined to continue as long as Obama is president.
In an unrelated matter, it has come out that Secretary of State Ken Bennett is Mitt Romney’s campaign co-chair for Arizona. Bennett has threatened to prevent Barack Obama from getting on the ballot if Hawaii does not respond to his requests for the birth certification validation.
In 2010, Bennett stated that it was “not appropriate” for a secretary of state to become aligned with a partisan issue or candidate. Bennett had a good idea then. No secretary of state of any state should be making endorsements. The office should not even be partisan. It should be a non-partisan election. A department running elections and ensuring their fairness requires special circumstances. Absolute impartiality is foremost to that. Bennett has now had a change of heart.
It is these reasons that make Bennett’s threat to keep Obama off the ballot while working to elect his opponent particularly disturbing.
Bennett said that he spoke to Hawaiian officials in response to a May 19 email from them. Bennett said that he provided assurances that he has legal authority to request the birth certificate verification.
There is no word that Hawaiian officials are convinced. On the contrary, AP claims to have spoken to Hawaii’s attorney general who remains unconvinced of Bennett’s legal justification.
The Hawaiian Department of Health is tired of constant requests for Obama’s birth certificate when the last two directors, a Republican and Democratic appointee, have publicly announced they have seen the original certificate. The department also announced a press release that the long-form birth certificate was provided to Obama. Afterwards, birthers criticized it as a fake. One has to feel for the Hawaiian officials. Watching the same circus act over and over gets tireing after a while.
Bennett states that he is not seeking a certified copy of the birth certificate. That makes it all the more strange since in emails from the Hawaiian health department directed Bennett to a link from the former Republican-appointed head of the health department verifying what he is seeking.
Arpaio and Bennett are not stupid, even though they are turning Arizona into the birther capitol of the world. Every contention of consequence by the birthers has been proven wrong. If a sheriff and secretary of state are truly having difficulty sorting this out, they are only emphasizing their own incompetence. Increasingly, the real reason these two continue to play the birther issue is politics. Arpaio is under investigation by the feds on civil rights issues. This gives him a chance to fight back. Bennett is heading Romney’s campaign in Arizona. Negative publicity for Obama helps Romney.
These antics are a disgrace. It helps keep more thoughtful Americans confused about the birther sideshow and fuels the little cottage industry of birtherism lead by people like Orly Taitz and Jerome Corsi. This is an embarrassment to the American political system.
Update: Hawaii has provided verification to Bennett that Obama was born in Hawaii.