Even in the face of federal lawsuit from the Justice Department (or perhaps because of it), Sheriff Joe is raking in the dough.
Joe Arpaio, the controversial law enforcement official in Maricopa County, Ariz., reported more than $1 million in campaign contributions so far this year, according to his latest campaign finance report. Arpaio, who is seeking re-election for a sixth term in the conservative county, maintains a lopsided financial lead over his challengers, with a total of $6.8 million in contributions to his name.
In comparison, Democratic opponent Paul Penzone has raised $148,000 and independent opponent Mike Stauffer has raised about $38,000, according to an Associated Press report.
A large number of Arpaio’s contributors come from outside Arizona, according to Thursday’s finance report.
The self-described “toughest sheriff” in the country, Arpaio was sued by the Justice Department in May to enforce reforms within his office, which the department says has shown a pattern of discrimination against Latinos. It was the latest flare-up in what has become a four-year battle between Arpaio and the Justice Department.
Arpaio, a border hawk, rejects the allegations that his office discriminates based on race, saying the government’s charges are merely an election year ruse to help President Barack Obama win in November. Leaders in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division have accused Arpaio of wasting time in its attempt to rectify the office’s “culture of disregard of Latinos.”