Based on public statements, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that anyone outside of Maricopa County plans to intervene in its ongoing chaos – at least not anytime soon.
While a whole host of agencies and higher officials have the power to intervene, none are exactly champing at the bit to do it. Here, now, is a list of those who have the power to get involved and why they probably won’t:
- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer could direct state investigators to step in and take over any cases involving Maricopa County officials. But Brewer told the Associated Press she’s just too busy with the state’s own troubles to worry about Maricopa County’s. “I’ve got my hands full,” she said.
- The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona could launch a federal investigation of Maricopa County, including into allegations of abuse of power and corruption at all levels. But while newly minted U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke told the Phoenix New Times the ongoing chaos is “a problem,” he also told the newspaper, “You’re not going to solve it with my quote.”
- Burke’s counterparts at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. have been investigating Sheriff Joe Arpaio since the Bush Administration. But almost a year into Barack Obama’s first term, no one from the DOJ has made a peep – a point the sheriff likes to mock at nearly any chance he gets.
- Likewise, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard’s Office has opened an criminal investigation focusing on Arpaio’s 2008 reelection campaign. A journalist and Arpaio’s opponent are among those who have been questioned. But again, nothing has emerged from the inquiry. Additionally, some have wondered whether Goddard would even act since it may be a conflict for him. Arpaio launched his own supposed investigation into the attorney general in early 2007 and has never closed it.
Meanwhile, Arpaio and county Attorney Andrew Thomas continue to investigate nearly everyone else in power in Maricopa County. They have accused judges, appointed officials and the entire Board of Supervisors of widespread corruption, though most of the targets also have one thing in common: They publicly criticized Arpaio and Thomas before any of this began.
The effect of all of this? As the Arizona Republic pointed out on Sunday, at the very least, the public has probably lost its trust in the leadership of Maricopa County.