A hidden computer database recently discovered in the course of a racial profiling investigation shows Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio misspent up to $80 million in funds intended for jail operations, according to Maricopa County supervisors and budget officials.
The hidden database contained payroll logs that detailed staff assignments and payments which were different than the staff assignments and payments reported in the official county-run database, they said.
“They’ve developed a system that basically tracks where they are working versus where they are being paid, and they did not update the official database, which led to the potential problems,” Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson told The Arizona Republic. “I think they deliberately hid this info from us.”
A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office denied any intention of hiding information from the county and blamed the duplicate payrolls on a lack of compatible technology between the Sheriff’s Office and county agencies.
In September, Maricopa County officials reported that Arpaio’s office misspent up to $80 million in funds over five years to pay his employees working in patrol, human-smuggling operations and investigative units. The voter-approved money was restricted by law to detention operations such as food, detention officers’ salaries, and equipment.
“It appears that [the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office] violated the intent and explicit language of the voter approved jail tax when they used that money to fund activities not related to jail operations,” a press release said. “Maricopa County will have to pay back the restricted funds to the detention fund. This is a misuse of public funds.”
The latest report by the Maricopa County Office of Management and Budget has “identified at least $34 million in misspending” but has not yet been able to “address some of the more complicated staffing issues.”
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has served subpoenas to thirteen of Arpaio’s employees and has asked Arpaio to turn over financial documents, software, and 12 years worth of timesheets.
Arpaio has been sheriff of Arizona’s largest county since 1992 and proclaims himself as the “toughest sheriff in the nation.”
The United States Department of Justice has been investigating Arpaio since 2009 for accusations of discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and having English-only policies in his jails.
Arpaio has refused to cooperate with the investigation and in September the Justice Department sued him for refusing to hand over documents related to the investigation.
“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division. “It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities.”
In October, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s appeal of District Court Judge Neil Wake’s 2008 ruling that mandated Maricopa County fix the unconstitutional conditions of its jails.
In the 2008 trial, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleged that the Sheriff’s Office fed pre-trial detainees moldy bread, rotten fruit, and other contaminated food and held them in prison cells hot enough to endanger their health.
As a press release by the ACLU explains, Judge Wake’s ruling required Sheriff Arpaio to “end severe overcrowding and ensure all detainees receive necessary medical and mental health care, be given uninterrupted access to all medications prescribed by correctional medical staff, be given access to exercise and to sinks, toilets, toilet paper and soap and be served food that meets or exceeds the US Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines.”
‘Tempting fate and asking for trouble’: Dr. Fauci rips Ozark pool partiers for blowing off pandemic safety
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, slammed the large crowds that gathered for a now-infamous pool party in Missouri over the weekend for blowing off social distancing guidelines.
During an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto, Fauci was asked what he made of the people who were captured on video partying without keeping any distance or wearing any face masks.
"When you have situations in which you see that type of crowding, with no masks and people interacting, that's not prudent and that's inviting a situation that could get out of control," Fauci said. "So I keep -- when I get an opportunity to plead with people, understanding you do want to gradually do this, but don't start leapfrogging over the recommendations and guidelines because that's tempting fate and asking for trouble."
Your election angst is real: Trump’s gonna cheat and it could be total hell
Even though it was a comedy sketch, that line has been thrown in Democrats' faces ever since as an example of their arrogant elitism and failure to understand Real America. Don't you know that the average voter wants a president they can have a beer with, not some egghead know-it-all?
Trump preparing to question legitimacy of results if he loses 2020 election: Michigan lieutenant governor
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, D-Mich., has accused President Donald Trump of sowing doubt about November's election months before voting even begins in an attempt to question the "legitimacy of an election that he is looking to lose."
Gilchrist criticized Trump for pushing debunked conspiracy theories about voting by mail after the state sent absentee ballot applications to every registered voter amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think that the president wants to set us up so that there can be a conversation about the legitimacy of an election that he is looking to lose," Gilchrist told MSNBC over the weekend. "That is a really unfortunate thing. That's not how we do democracy here in the United States, and we need to be ready to respond to that forcefully."