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Sheriff Arpaio sends "Threats Unit" deputy to Hawaii continue birther probe

Sheriff Arpaio sends "Threats Unit" deputy to Hawaii continue birther probe

CREATED May 22, 2012

Reporter: Claire Doan

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV/AP) – The state of Hawaii has verified President Barack Obama’s birth records to Arizona’s elections chief after a nearly three-month back and forth that Arizona officials said could have ended without the incumbent’s name on its November ballot.

Joshua Wisch, a special assistant to Hawaii Attorney General David Louie, told The Associated Press late Tuesday that the matter is resolved after Hawaii gave Arizona the verification it was looking for. It is not immediately clear whether the information will satisfy Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

The verification follows Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s escalation of his probe, sending a deputy from his “Threats Unit” and a volunteer posse member to Hawaii to verify what’s on file.

State Representative Vic Williams (R-Tucson) told KGUN9 News the inquiry is giving the GOP a black eye.

“I want to say that I believe Barack Obama was born in the United States. And the politicians bringing up this birther issue are distracting from the real issues that we should be working on, like making Obama a one-term president, implementing SB 1070 and overturning Obama Care.”

Arpaio said $40,000 of his posse money has been spent on this investigation, and more of those donationed funds will also later reimburse taxpayers for the deputy’s expenses.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva told 9 On Your Side that the Sheriff is only trying to distract from his own troubles, including a lawsuit by the federal government for violation of civil rights and botched investigations of sex-crime cases, many involved children.

“The silliness continues. And Arizona continues to make a name for itself, the absurd the weird and the politically unbelievable,” Grijalva said. “If [Arpaio] wants to send a posse, if he wants to send a deputy, send them up to the area where there have been 400 sex crimes that have not been investigated.”

But Adam Kwasman, a GOP candidate for state representative, said Arpaio will “find the President was born in Soviet Russia, because that’s where his policies come from.”

Secretary of State Ken Bennett made a public apology on KTAR radio, after he received much heat for following up on what he calls constituent concerns.

“If I embarrassed the state, I apologize, but that certainly wasn’t my intention. I don’t think there’s anything embarrassing about doing my job,” Bennett said.

One group is telling Bennett to keep doing his job: An online petition with more than 16,000 signatures asking Bennett to investigate whether Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is a unicorn.

But in the end, what’s the harm in asking someone to double-check and triple-check?

“All you have to do is go on the President’s website. You just need to go to all the information that’s been produced,” Grijalva responded. “Enough is enough. This is embarrassing. We’re the only state pretending he’s not our President.”