Even as Sheriff Joe Arpaio faces the most intense scrutiny of his career from federal investigators, local authorities and his own men, records released Thursday show his 2012 re-election campaign is raising money at a faster pace than ever.
The Maricopa County sheriff hauled in more than $650,000 in less than six weeks, bringing his total grab to about $3.6 million since winning a fifth term in 2008, according to financial disclosures filed with the county elections department.
That pace, more than $100,000 a week, far exceeds what he brought in earlier this year, when he was raising money at about $50,000 a week, and shatters his 2009 rate of about $20,000 a week.
The cash grab took place between Aug. 5 and Sept. 13, a time when he was running television commercials in the Phoenix area that said his policies were coming “under attack” from some of his fellow Republicans.
But despite his heavy local ad buys, the records show much of his fund raising is coming from out of state, with donations arriving from as far away as New York and Washington.
Arpaio also recently hired the Virginia-based firm Eberle Associates to help raise money. The firm calls itself “America’s trusted conservative fund raiser” and boasts of clients including Americans for Tax Reform and the Linda Tripp Defense Fund.
Still, most of the fund raising to date has been handled by Arpaio’s campaign manager, Chad Willems of the Summit Consulting Group in Phoenix, who was paid almost $190,000 during the same six-week period for his efforts. Willems did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.
All of this comes at a time when Arpaio has come under the most intense scrutiny of his career. He and his office have been under federal criminal investigation since 2008, with a federal grand jury meeting in recent months to determine whether to charge him or his associates with abuse of power.
The financial disclosure was also filed in the same week as revelations that one of the sheriff’s own men has come forward, claiming corruption and law breaking within the highest levels of the agency.
Arpaio’s next election isn’t until 2012, but he already has opponents lining up to challenge him. Republican Mike Stauffer has been campaigning since January and Democrat Dan Saban announced earlier this week he will run for his party’s nomination.
Stauffer’s last financial disclosure on Aug. 12 showed he had raised $445. Saban has yet to file any fund raising reports.