Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ed Martin's Favorite Sheriff Sends Threatening Letters

A week ago, Republican Congressional Candidate Ed Martin bragged about being endorsed by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Given Arpaio's track record of abuse of power, posing for pictures with white supremacists, and keeping prisoners in deplorable conditions, Martin was harshly criticized in a number of blogs for touting this endorsement, including FiredUp Missouri and Show Me Progress.

Congressman Russ Carnahan's campaign manager Angela Barranco had especially biting criticism of Martin's decision:
“Ed Martin and Joe Arpaio have lots of things in common — like costing taxpayers millions in lawsuits for misconduct on the job or trying hide public records,” Carnahan campaign manager Angela Barranco said. “No wonder Ed Martin had to go all the way to Arizona to find someone who would endorse him.”
Arpaio seems to be living up to this description. The Arizona Republic reported today that the Sheriff sent out threatening letters to attorneys in the Maricopa County Attorney's office warning them to, "watch their words if they speak to investigators looking into possible unethical conduct by former County Attorney Andrew Thomas."

The text from Arpaio:
“This letter is intended to advise you that I do not consent to you revealing any information provided to you by my office, regardless of any personal incentive to breach the attorney-client privilege… Be advised that should you disclose any information that could harm any pending criminal investigations, I will consider charging you with violations of applicable statutes.”

To which one of the attorney's responded:
“This threat is not only inappropriate but is a clear abuse of your authority as sheriff of Maricopa County. Thereby, I shall be forwarding your letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
In line with Barranco's comment, this does seem somewhat similar to the Scott Eckersley scandal Ed Martin engineered. Eckersley raised concerns about the Governor's office's failure to comply with state Sunshine laws. In response, Ed Martin and Matt Blunt had Eckersley fired and attempted to smear him in the media. This resulted in the State of Missouri spending $2.4 million dollars in eventually losing a lawsuit to Eckersley over the wrongful termination.

With endorsers like these, who needs detractors?

h/t to Mother Mags' Recommended Diary at Daily Kos.

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