reporting on the efforts of newly-returned Maricopa County, AZ County Attorney Rick Romley to cut Sheriff Joe Arpaio off of the taxpayer funded spending spree on outside counsel. This is from JJ Hensley and Yvonne Wingett's article:
"A pair of attorneys tending to high-profile issues for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office won't get paid any more for their services until county officials get a better handle on spending in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's agency.
The Sheriff's Office's contract with Kris Kobach, an attorney from Kansas who helped write Arizona's controversial new immigration law, was terminated last month when a representative for interim County Attorney Rick Romley sent a letter announcing the change.
Another attorney representing Arpaio in the U.S. Justice Department's civil- rights investigation into racial-profiling allegations has received more than $150,000 for his work so far. But Maricopa County officials said Thursday they were surprised to learn of Robert Driscoll's compensation, which they believe came from an outside account holding anti-racketeering RICO funds.
'It is, I think, further evidence of potential problems with spending of public monies by the Sheriff's Office,' said county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick. 'We can't imagine it's an appropriate use of funds.'
Kobach has become a national figure in the immigration debate since Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law in April. Even before then, he had already influenced policies at the Sheriff's Office.
Kobach was hired in November to advise then-County Attorney Andrew Thomas' office and the Sheriff's Office on matters related to immigration and law enforcement. He produced a two-hour training video for deputies that included advice on factors that constitute reasonable suspicion that someone is in the country illegally. Kobach's contract was with Ogletree Deakins, an outside firm Thomas' office hired, and called for Kobach to receive a $300 hourly rate or a $1,500 monthly retainer. Neither the Sheriff's or County Attorney's offices could say Thursday how much Kobach made in his six months under contract.
Driscoll began working for the Sheriff's Office last summer after Arpaio's agency became the subject of a federal civil-rights investigation. With a background in the U.S. Attorney General's Office, Driscoll was thought to have the pedigree to lead the Sheriff's Office through a battle with federal investigators. One month after he was brought in, Driscoll announced that the Sheriff's Office would no longer cooperate with the Justice Department, accusing federal investigators of misleading Arpaio's representatives.
But Driscoll has continued to do work on Arpaio's behalf, to the surprise of Maricopa County administrators. Alston & Bird, Driscoll's firm, invoiced the Sheriff's Office on March 24, March 29 and again April 12, county officials said. Based on documents, the officials believe the firm was paid about $155,000, county spokeswoman Gerchick said.[. . . ]
'It's clear that the Sheriff has a right to representation by council (sic) of his choice. He has a right not to be represented by a County Attorney's office that is hostile to his interests,' Driscoll wrote. [Huh?!!!! Are you kidding the taxpayers?]
County officials first learned of the payments earlier this week after they showed up on spreadsheets sent to the Department of Finance, the county's central finance agency. The payments were included in a spreadsheet created by the Sheriff's Office and used to track and support payments to outside counsel firms. It is unclear why the expenses were included in the spreadsheets, officials said, because RICO purchases typically are not reported to county finance officials. Amid concerns of questionable spending, the county Board of Supervisors last month decided to freeze Arpaio's access to RICO funds[.]"
Sheriff Arpaio likes to spend the peoples' money like the proverbial sailor on "shore leave." And Arpaio hates to be accountable to the County for the money he spends, having recently filed another lawsuit to stop the County from obtaining finanicial records of Sheriff's department expenditures this on top of the flurry of frivolous lawsuits and prosecutions pursued against county officials including the presiding Judge, now all dismissed. This silliness will continue until the taxpayers of Maricopa County get around to saying "enough."