I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Money that Selects the Sheriff

Checks indicate cash aimed for Arpaio
by Yvonne Wingett and JJ Hensley - Aug. 11, 2009
The Arizona Republic

Copies of checks written to the political-action committee SCA indicate that donors knew the money would support the re-election campaign of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The checks could bring an end to a mystery that's lingered since last year's general election about who financed the committee.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, citing a conflict, assigned the case to Phoenix attorney Jeffrey Messing, who said he needed to review the checks before resolving the matter.

The copies were submitted Monday to the county's Elections Department by Sheriff's Capt. Joel Fox as part of a settlement agreement, and posted online.

Under the agreement, Fox had to reveal donor names and provide the county with records.

SCA collected more than $100,000 and donated the cash to the Arizona Republican Party before the November election. The party transferred money to a second group, which paid for ads against Arpaio's Democratic challenger, Dan Saban, and Thomas' Democratic challenger, Tim Nelson.

The checks were made out to the "Command Officer's Association" and "C.O.A." between April 15, 2007, and Feb. 18, 2008. One check writer wrote "Vote for Sheriff Joe Arpaio" on the check.

A $10,000 wire transfer from Nicholas William Fergis dated January 2008 also was included in Monday's records; his name was absent from the list that Fox originally provided the county.

Last month, Fox revealed the names of SCA contributors. Until then, he was the only person publicly linked to the group, widely reported to stand for Sheriff's Command Association.

Contributions to SCA totaled $112,150 from six civilians, including a $25,000 donation from local developer Steven Ellman, chief operating officer of the Ellman Companies; and $10,000 from B.M. Rankin, a board member of Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.

A sheriff's spokesman last month said Ellman is the captain of Arpaio's advisory posse.

Seven of Arpaio's top employees donated $12,150 to SCA through direct deposits from their checks: Fox, Deputy Chief David Hendershott, Patrol Chief Frank Munnell, Deputy Director Brian Sands, Deputy Director Scott Freeman, Director of Special Operations Lawrence Black and Communications Division Manager Jesse Locksa.
Sheriff's officials consistently have denied any knowledge of Fox's campaign activities.

Attorneys who represent the civilian donors and sheriff's employees have said their clients "had no knowledge of how the money was being spent" and had no dealings with the Republican Party concerning the matter.

State GOP officials have maintained that SCA money wasn't given to the group to finance the ads, and the party returned the money to SCA.

Messing issued a compliance order in December that carried a $315,000 fine; Fox appealed and an administrative judge ruled Fox could reveal the names and forgo most of the fine.

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